Random feedback to Nanzan University students

November 9, 1998 copy/pasted without explanation, other than I saved this and many other documents.

Student name: Norie
This has happened to me so many times. I dream that I am trying to wake up, but I can’t do it. So I try harder. Finally, I succeed in my dream, and then I really wake up, too! It’s quite amazing.

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I have tried green tea ice cream and I don’t like it. The combination doesn’t suit me. I guess this is just a typical matter of not growing up with the taste and not able to fully appreciate it.

I wonder if this is the age. When I was a university student, I saw a lot of concerts. I was lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, so all the very biggest bands came to town to play, and I had a large choice of concerts. However, in every case, I always felt the same way as you felt at your concert. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

If you are interested in understanding your dreams, I suggest you read a little bit of Carl Jung, the psychologist, and, I suppose, Sigmund Freud, too. Jung said that our subconscious was trying to communicate with us through dreams. He wrote a lot of interesting books on the subject, and I’ve peeked at one or two of them.

Norie, Nice job here. Please keep up your pace. You are moving along very nicely at this rate.
Your grade for this check: A

Student name: Maho
Sukiyaki – It’s so interesting that you should study the history of this strange song. I grew up with it, and later became embarrassed to know the title expresses the complete ignorance of Japan by the American people. It is still the only Japanese pop song that has ever been popular in the U.S. Seiko Matsuda is well known in the U.S. for her failures to break into the market there. It certainly is a strange musical relationship between our two countries.
I think that men, in general, never really grow up past a child’s age (myself included…YES). We are stuck as mental children. Women, on the other hand, are more rational and have the emotional strength that you say you lack. I would bet that you DO have that strength, but that you are being modest.

It sounds like drinking this drink will simply spoil your appetite, in which case, it is most likely a very effective drink. Just reading about it made me lose my appetite. HA HA!
It is interesting that most things in life need some kind of license or certificate, like driving, or getting a job with a good company. But parenting: well, no one needs anything special to have a kid, and I’ve seen too many bad parents out there. I think, though, that since you express concern here, that you’ll grow into being a very good mom, so I would say, don’t worry about it so much.

Maho, You’ve done a nice job of writing to a variety of topics. I hope to see you go more in depth with some of the topics you have written about. It would not hurt to pursue one line of thought over several days writing. I would also suggest you re-read some of your work after a few days, and then do some re-writing, again, going more in-depth. Good luck.
Your grade for this check: A

Student name: Yoko
Drinking? Smoking? Well, it’s not a surprise. I think people are doing things at a younger and younger age. My question for you is, what will you do when your son/daughter starts drinking/smoking at, say, age 15 or so? How will you react to that??

I admit that I do not vote in American elections. I voted only once, back in 1980, when I had just turned 19. Now, I’m just very cynical about politics. I don’t see any good coming from any of it. Japan’s corruption is no worse that many many other countries.

Thank you for being honest here. I hope that you’ll keep your habit, though…that is…the habit of writing often. It is definitely a tough habit to keep, but I think it’s very worth your time and energy, as you’ll have a wonderful record of your student life and times that you can look back at.

Perhaps this is where you feel you are now. Yeah…hesitant to be an adult, not wanting to give up on youth…

I am jealous of you. My mother has expressed great regret that she did not give ALL her children piano lessons. Our daughter will get lessons, and we hope that she won’t quit at an early age. I understand your wanting to quit, though. Just like any habit, it is hard to maintain for a long time.

Yoko, Great job here. You’ve written a lot, and you certainly covered a wide variety of topics to some depth. I hope that you’ll work over the span of a few weeks going in depth with some of these topics, perhaps even using some of the material for one of your essays? It’s up to you.
Your grade for this check: A

Student name: Masako
My commute to Nanzan is very flexible. These days, I’m trying to bicycle as often as possible. If I can’t bicycle, like when it rains, then I do the subway to Motoyama and bus up past Nagoya University. Did you know that in the B3 of the building with my office there is a very large parking lot? It can hold at least 50 cars, but it is always empty. WHY? I have no idea.

Isn’t it sad to see the great crafts of Japan dying out to modern times? They become more expensive to make, and so sell fewer, and so the craftspeople don’t pass down their knowledge. This is happening all over the world, I’m afraid, but there is really nothing we can do about this.

If you visit me in my office, I’ll tell you some stories of when I lived in Kenya. I would spend HOURS looking at the heavens. It was one of the most incredible experiences I can ever remember. There are very few places on Earth left where you can do this without light pollution. This is one thing I really dislike about living in Nagoya. The light pollution here is the worst of anywhere I know and I’m sad for my daughter, who cannot imagine what the beautiful night looks like.

Actually, I think the most ideal form of exchange is where you can speak Japanese, and I can understand you and respond in English and you can understand and respond in Japanese and so forth.

Masako, You’ve done a good job here. I have a sense you are getting LESS prolific as you write. I hope to see the trend go the other way, where you become MORE prolific.
Your grade for this check: A

Student name: Masao
Welcome to the American dream, Masao. These ‘infomercials’ as they are called, are made for those popcorn eating, coke drinking, low-self esteem folks who stay up very late at night with nothing better to do than watch the things. They sell a lot of junk in the U.S. like this these days. It’s a bit sad, really, isn’t it?

I find this hard to believe. When you respect someone, it gives you a purpose in life. You want to emulate, to some extent, that person you respect. I don’t know, maybe I am too much of a dreamer with this belief, but I believe it nonetheless.

I had a talk with my sister recently. She turned 40 not too long ago, has been married about 15 years, and has two kids and a pretty good job as a legal secretary in San Francisco. “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up,” she said to me. Go figure.
Ha ha! Such great wisdom! But you know what? This isn’t true only for kids. It’s true for adults, too. It just never stops. Well, anyway, this is another thing that keeps us going and gives us purpose in our lives.

Masao, I’m a bit surprised. I guess I expect you to be a prolific and thoughtful writer, but I feel as if you are not making the efforts to at least try. You are merely going through the motions. I wonder if you might try to pursue a single topic for two or three weeks, letting your thoughts simmer for awhile before continuing on. I have this hunch that deep down, you can do it.
Your grade for this check: B

Student name: Shoko
So, which order were you hoping to have the children, or is that not important. I wonder why you think about this at such an early age. Do you talk to your friends about these topics, too? Is everyone worried about the type of parents they will become?

Oh, I don’t know if you told me this before…that you were from Hakodate. My wife is also from there. We visited there in July/August. What a great town, I really liked it and would like a chance to live there. Well, I doubt I’ll be able to anyway. Actually, I hate winter and I understand it has already snowed there. My wife wants to know which Primary, Junior High and High Schools you went to. Please email me if you get the time.
I worked for my grandfather’s construction company. It was similar to your factory job. Hard work, long hours, kind of boring at times, but I was very happy to get money at the end. I guess it built up my character too.

I’m always surprised that Japanese university students don’t share apartment rooms, like we do in the U.S. It’s so common there and so very rare here. In fact, I don’t know anyone here who does that. Why not? Can you explain this to me?

Shoko, Thanks for taking the time to keep your journal entries. You’ve covered a lot of ground here and I look forward to future installments.
Your grade for this check: A

Student name: Daisuke
Well, you aren’t wasting time. If you think that, then EVERYTHING is a waste of time. I don’t think this is a healthy attitude. Why? Because I felt the same way at one point in life. Then I realized that it was ME who was wasting the time, not the things other people did, including teachers and their assignments. It took me awhile, but I understood that I had plenty of opportunities in life, and that I had control of where I was going. This was an important understanding that really turned around my life. I hope you get this understanding too, someday soon!

It sounds like the swimmer was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The old woman perhaps had been struggling out on the water for a few days when he passed by, and then held onto him for life, with dire consequences for both. Hmmmm.

Daisuke, I think I’ve mentioned that you can go into depth with some things. I hope to see more of this next time.
Your grade for this check: B

Student name: Takuya
Luck! HA HA! I think you are right. No matter how much you know, there is still so much that you don’t know, so that betting on horses is never a sure thing. I went to the track in Hakodate this summer, and I was lucky enough to win about 10,000 yen. I was happy that I didn’t lose anything more than that I won something.
Gambling. I love it, but I try to avoid doing it whenever I can. I even went to Las Vegas once, but with a good friend who got me away from the city very quickly. I started putting money in the slot machines. Ooh!

UGH! This class is the most difficult for me. I’m always behind on reading marking. There are too many students and I can’t do as good a job as I would like. In addition to all my other classes. I never worked this hard as a student. NEVER.

Better to buy a lot of happy. Happy, however, comes in different forms for different people, but I think it’s actually very tough to buy.

Takuya, if you’d like me to teach you how to bet at poker, ask. I learned from a professional when I was 14 years old. Now THAT was real gambling. Anyway, it’s a pleasure to read about your gambling (and other) experiences and I look forward to more next time.
Your grade for this check: A

Student name: Michiko
40 days? It will go by very fast. You’ll miss Japanese food first, and you’ll miss your family, but you will adjust and have a great time. 40 days is very short. It will seem like a week when it’s over. It will also be an unforgettable experience.

Well, think about what you like to do. Think about what you spend most of your time doing and pursue that as a profession.

Michiko, you have got to try to discipline yourself more to write more. There is so little here I can comment on.
Your grade for this check: C

Student name: Kyoko
I have mixed feelings about this. The fact is: most cultures are dying out as we move toward one mass culture. At the same time, no culture can be completely dead if even one of it’s people is alive. Well, anyway, it is sad that this is happening. I’ve seen a lot of it in the world. At the same time, dead cultures and languages can and have been revived, so there is hope yet.

When will we grow out of prejudices like these you report? I don’t know if it is possible. But then again, today I read in the newspaper about the South African truth commission. Here is a country that is healing the wounds of a terrible war and a terrible century of division and hatred. The article also gave me hope that we can grow out of prejudices, but that it’s not an easy road.

Men must be beasts? Of course we are. Does this surprise you? HA HA!

Don’t EVER lose your friends. For me, they are more important than family. They give me perspective on my life; they give me support through hard times; they give me encouragement and love…I have a lot of very special friends that I am so thankful for.
Sure. All the time. I don’t think there is any other job quite like teaching. I just wish it paid more. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. (Typical American Joke).

Well, it’s a nice sentiment anyway, but unfortunately, there is still a lot of inequality in the world. What will you, as a Japanese woman, do to fight your lower status in this society? Or do you believe that you don’t have lower status?

Kyoko, What can I say? You are a consistent writer, you are thoughtful and your ideas are well-developed. I look forward to more of the same.
Your grade for this check: A+

Student name: Kaori
I’m glad to see that you have learned about Billie Holiday. Her life was tragic. I really love her music and her voice. In fact, these days, I don’t listen to Rock as much as Jazz. My musical tastes have changed and the music has become more important than the words.
I am familiar with her, though I admit that I have not read her work. I have studied the French poets of the late 19th century, called the Symbolists, but Sagan came well after them.

It sounds like in either case, you have an open relationship with your mother and that is important. You are lucky that you can discuss such issues in a rational way, and also that you try to see each others’ point of view. Might I suggest that you also try to see additional points of view, for example, a boyfriend’s view of the situation. Friends of your boyfriend, friends of yours, friends of your mother. Considering many different points of view is definitely advantageous.

It’s difficult to give advice for this. LL is made to be very difficult, and it’s a very high pressure test. It helps if you can learn to eliminate some of the test answers, reading ahead in the test if you can, and not second guessing your hunches.

My last grandparent died when I was in Kenya, so I didn’t see her. The last time I saw her, her mind was going. I kind of regret not being able to say the sentiment you express here. Yes, we are lucky to have grandparents that love us and spoil us. I look forward to being a spoiling grandparent myself!

Yes, teaching is something that exhausts me, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. I think it’s a great profession, that is very difficult to do well. I still have so much to learn about how to do better. Any suggestions for me?

Kaori, You’ve done a great job here and I’m very happy with your work to date. Keep up the good work!
Your grade for this check: A+

Student name: Saeko
I had the experience of having to slaughter a chicken to eat. I had to cross its legs and wings, and take a knife to kill it, by cutting off its head. I can’t forget the experience. I felt sick and of course, couldn’t eat the chicken. I think if we all had to do this, there would be far more vegetarians on the earth. Of course, I still eat meat and chicken now. Hmmm. I agree however, with you, that experiences like these, though unpleasant, are necessary for us to appreciate life.

Prejudice. This is a very hard topic to tackle. It exists everywhere at all times. I feel it a lot in Japan, but I mostly ignore it if I can, and try to understand what causes the behavior. I’m even teaching a course here about it.

It’s interesting because the type of drama which you describe is very common in the world. Families torn apart by war, spending their lives living in different worlds and even some speaking different languages. What a tradegy. I can’t give you advice here. I wouldn’t know what I would do in the same situation.

I’ll have to disagree with your attitude. Of course you can’t do anything by yourself, so that is why you have to join together with others in order to promote change in your OWN society first. So, in Japan, what societies can you join that will actively address this problem and offer solutions?

Well, now, here is a difficult topic, too. I have read stories of sacrifice and selfishness. I’ve read very wonderful things and very terrible things. It’s all case-by-case.

So, I guess you might argue with those who call Japan a ‘safe’ country, as you’ve had an experience to prove otherwise. Anyway, it certainly is very frightening to have an experience like this. I’m sorry to read about your terrible experience.

Here is another myth about Japan: that all Japanese are the same. I’ve discovered an incredible variety of food, language (dialect), accent, manners and behavior in my travels around Japan. Cultural differences are very clear even inside Japan. YES!

Perhaps you’d like to become a hardened woman? I recently found a very interesting website. It’s made for American women who have no guilt about how strong they want to be. Even the title of the website ‘Heartless Bitches’ is a strong name. Take a look at http://www.heartless-bitches.com. I laughed at a lot of their stories, especially about men who bother them so much.

Saeko, You are a very serious writer, and you write a lot. More than most others. I’m happy about this of course, as I believe those who write a lot will more than likely be better writers. SO…
Your grade for this check: A+

Time Capsule: April 25, 2016

Oh, I found this is my ‘blog drafts’. Never published it, so here it is.

——–

Don’t know if an extended reflection posted on Facebook means anything, but it’s my #1 broadcast network where I can shove my opinions in people’s faces. At any rate, outside of posting on my blog, which sees an entry once in a purple moon, FB is the medium of choice.

OK, the niceties are out of the way. Seems to be a good time to put Prince’s death in perspective. since I’ve personally reached the acceptance stage of grief.

My generation grew up in the shadow of the 60s, a time in the US of great social upheaval, uncertainty, and horrible political assassinations from the Kennedys to King and Malcolm X. I ended up in the early 80s at UCLA, Los Angeles, which at the time was arguably the most important culturally alive place in the country, and at the dawn of the Reagan Era (that’s as political this posting will get – PROMISE!). I’m especially talking about the Punk Rock / New Wave / Ska scene, my circle of friends, and the stuff we did for fun. I feel ridiculously lucky to have been there at that time. I found and lost love. I found a solid set of friends. I found some cultural and artistic anchors in music connected in many ways to Punk.

At this moment, I actually have the longest head of hair (excepting the little bald spot on top, and the grey of course) I’ve ever had, but the second longest head of hair ended up in Jonathan Hodges’ 1970s Cadillac, the two of us driving down Santa Monica boulevard in that hideously large vomit green boat, with an 8 track of Prince’s first album blasting loudly “I wanna be your lover”. We were more than likely headed to downtown for some night drinks or eclectic food. Downtown LA was starting to develop an alternative night life scene, so naturally we were drawn to it. A lot of you remember the days at 850 Milwood (The apex of “The Toxins” era), or more especially 417 Pacific (and the days of the immortal “Sports/Leisure Den” where we all watched the Bears crush the Patriots in SuperBowl XX). That, and a host of other events in that house shaped many our lives, and again cemented some lifelong friendships. The music that drove us was led by Prince, Bowie, Roxy Music, Talking Heads, X, Dead Kennedys, the Minutemen (still in the denial stage for d boon btw)…and a ton of other bands (of course I’m listing my favs…sorry folks). In short, we came of age. We passed into this nuthouse called adulthood with great expectations, anticipation, and the thrill of independence and setting our paths. The art we took with us was seeded deep into our collective souls. What connected this art was knowing that our awkwardness was actually perfectly normal…that we weren’t really different or apart from the herd we thought we wanted to be in. I don’t know if this is too cliche or not, but these musicians were reassuring in that the points-of-view we were developing about the world…well, they saw it too. So, our musicians had affirmed what we were seeing, and could articulate it in ways unexpected and heretofore unimaginable. Damn it was exciting to experience. We could actually be OURSELVES!

So, on we trotted with life, assured that we were never going to die, and we’d take all this wisdom with us into forever. I read somewhere in the past week that the reason so many famous people are dying this year is because there are simply many more famous people in the world now, especially with how much more we are connected. So there’s that. But Bowie and Prince? Within four months of each other? While I can’t empathise with people who lose family members very close to each other (though my dad and his only brother died within three months of each other), the shock we’ve been through (or should I speak for myself) is just another reminder of fixing our values away from the material, and more toward our ridiculously humble relationship with each other, those who we know and love, and the universe itself, and this teeny tiny blue ball that 7 billion of us and counting call our home. I guess the best metaphor is that two walls protecting us from our own mortality have been breached this year, and we realize that, well, ok, we ARE mortal after all, so there’s that. It’s a thing. That thing is here and now, and is happening not just to the artists we love, but our parents, sometimes our siblings, sometimes our old school mates. We hate the fuck out of cancer, rightfully so.

But with each passing – celebrity or closer, life becomes surprisingly sweeter and more precious. We’ve hit the age where we understand it’s about doing what we love despite the circumstances, and realizing the power of the positive. Being thankful, being grateful, dancing when there’s no music, and looking at the world each day with intense awe, because, you know, it’s fucking awesome! “Because the world is round, it turns me on.” is still a good 1960s sentiment that has transcended generations. Facebook is addictive because, for our generation at least, it’s a huge daily reunion and celebration of who we are, and where we’ve decided to be on this roundly round Earth. We develop an even deeper appreciation of the art that informed us, and formed us, and we come to cherish all the moments we pass through.

It’s been a year of grief so far, music-wise, but also a year for us to recall what got us through those tough young high school and college times and made us who we are today. So, screw grief. Bowie and Prince and George Martin and Maurice White…and and and and…haven’t stopped us from being who we are. They’ll continue to assure us that we are damn near perfect who we are right now right up until it’s our turn to move on and rejoin the universe.

“And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
MY GOD!...WHAT HAVE I DONE?” 
- David Byrne (note: David’s not dead yet)
“U’re so good
Baby there ain't nobody better (Ain't nobody better)
So u should
Never, ever go by the letter (Never ever)
U're so cool (Cool)
Everything u do is success
Make the rules (Rules)
Then break them all cuz u are the best” 
- Prince (Rest in Peace / Purple / Power / Partylikeits1999)

Two quotes from my 1996 website along with a good old irritating animated gif!

“Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth’s atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.”
–Marshal McLuhan, Understanding Media (1965)

“The English language has been the linear tongue of colonial discoveries, racial cruelties, invented names, simulated tribal cultures, and the unheard literature of dominance in tribal cultures; at the same time, this mother tongue of paracolonialism has been a language of liberation for many tribal people.” — Gerald Vizenor

A flashing gif that says Caution: Independent thought
Look! It flashes!

My Master’s Thesis artifact

Dug up this old doc. You can click on the links to the right, but you might have to scroll a little up or down for it to make sense. Good luck. This is the HTML version of the Independent Professional Project


Last Update: December 17, 1996
Things that will be added when I get around to it:
  • Simple digitized graphix from the original shoot.
  • Background Music
  • The ability to add nodes to the story so that others can write parts that they want to change
    Your name is Trixie and you decide to go to the Brattleboro Latchis Theater to see “Lost Memories,” the latest film by your favorite star, Rex Darling. You have also heard that he will be there LIVE and IN PERSON!! You don’t know exactly how to get to the movie theater though, because it has been a long time since Rex was in town. You jump into your car and drive off, hoping to find the theater. You remember that the theater is in
    the Northeast part of Brattleboro town. At a stop light, you notice a street sign:

    Left, to the shopping mall.

    Straight Ahead.

    Right, to city hall.


    [ About Lost Memories] [Return to IPP ]

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    Lost Memories
    by Lawrence B. Davies
    Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997

    Return to the Title Page


    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You turn left and come to a sign:

    You go another few blocks and see another sign: What now?



    Take a left.

    Straight ahead.

    Take a right.


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You continue straight ahead. Soon you see another sign:

    It’s a very nice sign. As you drive past, you enjoy the warm air. You come to another sign:
    ——>

    Which way do you turn?

    Turn around, to Brattleboro.

    Right, to highway 9.


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You go to the City Hall. You reach a large public area. There are many people around. There is a Jazz band playing in the center of the park. You look around. There is a fat man in sunglasses, reading a magazine and standing on a corner. You also see a woman sitting near a sign that says “TRAVEL INFORMATION.” You want to get to the movie
    theater fast.

    What do you do?




    Go to the man in the sunglasses.

    Listen to the jazz band.

    Go to the woman under the sign.


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You go in the direction of the bank, you are lost. You see a friendly young man on the corner, you pull your car over and walk up to him.

    What do you say?





    Hi, how are you?

    Excuse me…

    Where is the theater?


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You turn to the shopping mall. You drive a few more blocks and then see another sign:

    What do you do?





    Turn left, to the bank.

    Go straight, to the shopping mall.

    Turn around, to city hall.


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    After awhile, you look around and notice a sign:

    Which way do you go?





    Turn left.

    Straight ahead.

    Make a right.


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You turn right. Soon you are on a highway. The wind blows through your hair. The sun warms your skin. You turn on the radio. You’re going 120 kilometers per hour. Great! What a beautiful day! Then, you hear a loud sound and look in your mirror. It’s a police car, and a voice is saying “Pull over NOW!!” You have to go to jail for driving too fast! And you will miss Rex! Oh well.

    Try again at the beginning.

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You go to the fat man. He looks at you. “Excuse me,” you say to him. He doesn’t answer. He looks at you. You say hello again. He says nothing. “Excuse me,” you say, shaking his shoulder. He holds his chest, falls to the ground and rolls on his back. His
    tongue hangs from his mouth. His eyes bulge out of his face. omewhere a woman screams.
    The Jazz band stops playing. People run to where you and the man are. Someone yells, “What happened, what happened?”

    This is bad…

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You get out of your car and listen to the band. Ahh! Isn’t that Jazz wonderful? Can you feel the music? Do you remember what you were doing before you started to
    listen to the Jazz?

    Please start again at the beginning.

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You go to the woman under the sign. “May I help you?” she asks.

    What do you do?



    Ask her for directions.

    Say “Where are you from?”


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    “Hi, how are you?” you say to the young man. “Fine.” he says, and he waves as he walks around the corner.

    You are very confused, perhaps you said the wrong thing to try to get his attention.

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    “Excuse me,” you say. The young man looks at you. He puts his hand up to his ear and cups it. “Eh?” he answers. He looks confused. You think for a moment and say:



    Excuse me.

    Hi, How are you?


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    “Where’s the movie theater?” you ask. The young man looks at you. “Lady!” he says, and laughs, “It’s not faaaar!…not at all…Just go that way for two blocks…twoooo blocks…and you’ll find the City hall…ya got that miss?…yeah, the City Hall!” He looks a bit tired. “Then…” he continues, “When you get to the City hall… yeah… just look for a sign that says highway 5. Then look around…look around…look for a fat man…a fat man who is holding a magazine about cigars… HAHAH…, he wipes his wet mouth, sniffs loudly, pulls a handkerchief out of his pocket and blows his nose.

    He disappears around a corner mumbling “City Hall!”

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You drive down the road toward the shopping mall. Soon, many men on motorcycles are following you. They all have smiles on their faces. When you stop at a red light, they surround your car. One man, a very large and ugly looking fellow, comes up to your window yelling “What do you want?”

    What do you do now?



    Ask him for directions.

    Drive through the red light.


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    A large crowd of people is coming together. You can hear some people saying “Murderer!” A large policewoman comes from the middle of the crowd. “What have you done?” she asks. You decide you have two choices:



    Run for your car. Perhaps no one will see you.

    Explain what happened. The man had a heart attack.


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You ask for directions. The woman says, “drive three blocks east and turn left at West 4th Street. Then, go two blocks north to South Street.
    Turn left on East 6th Street, because north South Street is one way going west. You’ll be on mid South Street, which is just before south North Street, which is where the movie
    theater is, between the south branch of the Western Corporation and the east branch of Northeast Industries.”

    “Have a nice day.”

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    “Where are you from?” you ask the woman. She looks at you, but says nothing. Again you ask, “Where are you from?” Again she is silent and looks confused.

    You don’t know what to do so you get back in your car and drive away.

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    “Excuse me,” you say again and ask for directions. The man looks at you, then says, “Sure. Go down this road for three blocks, and turn right. Then after two more blocks, it’s on your left.

    You thank him and…

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You drive for three blocks. Finally, the movie theater is a left turn and you’re there. REX! You begin to
    dream of the two of you dancing under the stars. Champagne, fine food, and the ocean. You begin to turn left, but then think that maybe you should turn right. Or maybe it’s
    another block straight ahead. Now you’re confused again, but you…

    Turn right!!

    No, no! It’s to the left?


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You roll down your window. “Excuse me…” you say, “I’m lost. Can you tell me how to get to the movie theater?” The very very large and ugly man puts his mouth to your
    ear. “SAY THAT AGAIN,” he screams.

    What do you do now?



    Ask him for directions.

    Run through the red light.


    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You drive around turning left, right and going straight, but you forgot the
    directions.

    You might miss Rex…

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You run, but you don’t get very far. The policewoman jumps on you from behind. Later, in court, your testimony is thrown out. You are charged with murder and
    sentenced to life in prison.

    You really have to be careful around these parts.

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You explain what has just happened. The fat man stands up. “JUST JOKING!!” he says and the crowd goes away. You don’t think it’s very funny. You get in your car.
    Where is that movie theater?

    You stop at a stop sign.

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You turn right and go two blocks. THERE IT IS ON YOUR LEFT! THERE’S
    REX. ISN’T HE HANDSOME! WOW! WHAT FUN, WHAT EXCITEMENT, WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO SPEND THE DAY, REX SEES YOU AND YOU EVEN TALK TO HIM! CONGRATULATIONS!

    YOU DID IT!

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    You go through the red light. The men follow you. You go through different parts of town. The men are getting closer. Look! On your left! It’s the THEATER!! THERE’S REX!! But, you can’t stop. The motorcycles are right behind you. You continue to drive. The gang catches you and breaks your windows. You drive into a lamp post. You miss Rex and spend a long time in the hospital recovering from your bad experience. Better luck next time.

    Try again at the start.

    Title Page

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .


    Thanks for playing. Send comments to lbd@gol.com

    Return to first card

    Title Page
  • MINNESOTA

    Mongolia’s calling!
    Is Nepal far behind?
    Norway is glowing!
    (the) Netherlands teach sublime!
    Ethiopia is growing!
    South Africa‘s kept to the time.
    Oh Uruguay stop your stalling!
    The United States still in its prime.
    Australia and New Zealand dance away the night.


    Written July, 1996. Forest Grove, Oregon. For my Guardian Angel.

    euLoGy

    The first girl I danced with…
    It was awkward. I
    Remember her laugh – young, fearful, hopeful –
    A great exploration about to begin.
    So much human jungle ahead.
    A 12-year-old’s giggle, a gold prospector’s shovel,
    Brush, pan to dip to let the water sieve through, in nugget anticipation.

    We touched, always tentative, my arm around her waist.
    There was music. There were other stumbling dancing couples.
    Our dance was short. Then we were on our way.

    I remember her name. Not the music.
    Not what happened next.

    She’s long passed. Cancer got her.
    Pretty sure she married in those 40 years – had kid-nuggets– found her way
    Through the jungle. I honestly don’t know.

    Our story was barely a pan-dip.
    The laugh. Her waist.
    Her waste.

    My cloud

    Released 25 September 1965 and becoming a number one hit, Get Off of My Cloud was a smash hit for the Rolling Stones.

    I was somewhere in Skokie Illinois, at some beauty parlor on the south side of Dempster, just a couple blocks west of McCormick Blvd, in some mini / micro mall of some kind. It was definitely a beauty parlor, because I was with my mom, who was probably getting her hair dyed red.

    I remember seeing this 45 rpm record disc with this blue cascading label design going round and round some measly turntable set up somewhere in that shop. My mom was 34ish, and I was about to turn 4ish. I guess I remember the music, too. I guess.

    I remember this image so well, mainly because, whatever day it was, and it seemed like a cool brisk late fall day, it was the very first day of my life where I became self-aware. It’s my first memory of anything. Watching this spinning label go around and around a turntable, it was somewhat hypnotic—that and the pulsing drums that are so prevalent throughout the song. Those pulsing, pulsing drums. The vortex created by the label as it spun. And of course, Mick’s vocals.

    I live on an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor of my block
    And I sit at home looking out the window
    Imagining the world has stopped
    Then in flies a guy who’s all dressed up just like a Union Jack
    And says, “I’ve won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack”

    I said, “Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
    On my cloud, baby”

    The telephone is ringing
    I say, “Hi, it’s me, who is it there on the line?”
    A voice says, “Hi, hello, how are you?”
    “Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine”
    He says, “It’s three A.M., there’s too much noise
    Don’t you people ever wanna go to bed?
    Because you feel so good
    Do you have to drive me out of my head?”

    I said, “Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
    On my cloud, baby”

    I was sick and tired, fed up with this
    And decided to take a drive downtown
    It was so very quiet and peaceful
    There was nobody, not a soul around
    I laid myself out, I was so tired
    And I started to dream
    In the morning the parking tickets were just like flags
    Stuck on my windscreen

    I said, “Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
    On my cloud”

    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Hey, you, get off of my cloud
    Don’t hang around baby two’s a crowd
    On my cloud

    Hey, you

    It’s a song of blight, troubled sleeplessness, crass commercialism, and the outside world shoving itself down our throats, with the response that two’s a fucking crowd.

    It’s an introvert’s song; It’s MY fucking cloud—MINE!

    The early 60s, well, all of the 60s, a huge cultural shift was taking place in the Western world. Rock and Roll was bred from gospel and the blues—hell, it was stolen from the African-American experiences and it reflected a loss of innocence, disillusionment, and a way to ease the suffering so common in human existence. Song lyrics became reality-based…and love-based. Years earlier Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit pioneered this approach. In the 60s, Civil Rights were in the ascendancy. American involvement in Vietnam was increasing. It was a confusing fucking time…for anyone over 4ish.

    This morning, I listened to the song as I drove to work, and noticed something interesting. The first four bars are only drums–Charlie Watts’ drums. Charlie was 24 when they recorded the song in early September 1965. So, I realized that it was Charlie Watts’ drums that signaled to me the beginning of my self-awareness. My sentient brain was shaken awake by Charlie Watts, who passed away yesterday at age 80.

    Do I owe him a debt of gratitude for those first four bars? Do I owe the designer of the London Records 45 disk label that honor for its mesmerising look as it spun around and around that turntable inside that cheap beauty salon on Dempster?

    I’m gonna go with Charlie, because his work brought me into the world that day. The song foreshadowed so many things present today, over 55 years after its first release—a world where I’m 60ish, there’s climactic blight, sleeplessness induced by social media notifications, Bill Hick’s long ago but still relevant insistence of stopping rampant commercialism of everything, and, again, social media’s maddening negative impact on our privacy and sanity.

    Rest in Beat, Charlie. The world you brought me into is a tough one, but the reality is, my cloud is still my cloud and I work daily to keep my introverted ass inside of it.

    Time capsule January 2020

    OK, I’ve updated my stock response now to MAGA-teen-fascist-gate, let me know what you think, FB fans (edits have been made! Several times lolol.)

    “The following is not my original metaphor or analogy, but they are my words … the fucking media is framing this whole thing as if we are talking about the weather (who was guilty, the MAGAteen or the Native American Elder?) and nothing is said about the climate (MAGA hats in DC – incendiary from the start; who sent them to DC to petition the government to subjugate a woman’s control over her body?; Where were the chaperones?; Why was the Elder there anyway?; Why should we care about the history of the Native American?; What part did the MAGAphalanx(patent pending) (30+ others) play in the face to face stare down?; Who were the four “Black Hebrew Israelites” and do they matter?; Does the MAGAphalanx making ape sounds and mimicking apes at the “Black Hebrew Israelites” mean anything?; Why did MAGAteen’s mother call them “Black Muslims”; Why did MAGAteen suddenly have GOP/McConnell tied PR firm writing the boy’s “I’m the victim” letter?; So many climate-based questions, etc etc thus far and where’s the media? They are fucking focused on the Rashomonian “event” to find out “what really happened”).

    You know, the media needs a fucking horserace, or a boxing match or whatever. I mean, they HAVE to sell soap and boner pills and to pander to your inadequacies, because you know, it’s a living.

    Then there’s this video from before the “MAGteen vs Native American Elder” videos. 



    Get a clue. It DOES take a village to raise a child, and the Covington High School “village”, located in a Kentucky suburb of Cincinnati, raises racists and rapists. There’s a LONG history of video and photo evidence (although Covington HS is doing a bang up job of closing down their sites and removing those videos and photos). Note: I’m too lazy to curate all the links, do your own research. 



    So, like Climate Change, in which our proudly ignorant president, who tweeted that it would be great to “have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now” in a January arctic blast that’s deep freezing much of the US, and who also tweeted in support of MAGAteen (while misspelling his name), it’s not about the weather today, it’s a bigger and much more complex picture that requires a bit of focus and some higher order thinking skills. I fear there are still a large enough number of people who possess no thinking skills whatsoever, because you know, it’s hard work and all that.

    …and the media, well, again, they just won’t do their job properly.



    In short: Forget the WEATHER and look at the CLIMATE.”

    I use these three tags regularly for posts…

    #MAGACONJOB – because you know, we have a master snake oil salesman sitting in the Oval Office with his finger over the nuclear button. He’s also doing a fabulous job of sucking the air out of every room and keeping our attention completely on him, so that little fuckers like the MAGA teen can be poster children for privilege of all kinds.

    #kentuckyfriedturtle – Because Mitch McConnell has been the biggest enemy of the US Constitution for how many years now? He’s also involved in this incident through his crony network. He’s really where we need to focus, but #MAGACONJOB just keeps doing things so incredibly moronic we just can’t look away. He is also the sole current owner of the government shutdown. Trump got it rolling, but McConnell is the one feeding it with his inaction.

    #dominionistveep – I don’t want Trump going anywhere unless this creepy creepy CREEPY fucker goes with him. Pence’s world view is the scariest of them all.

    Everything ruined, wasted!!

    April 24, 2005, Jimmy Johnson drew this Sunday panel.

    It’s a reminder to be patient. It’s a reminder to be observant. It’s a reminder to appreciate the glory of life, the cycle of death, the power of nature.

    It’s a reminder to look to see what works best, what to do differently, how to surprise yourself.

    It’s a reminder to do things with purpose, with meaning, with full engagement.

    I’ve had this panel printed on my door, on my computer desktop, and figured this is as good a place as any. It reminds me so much of this, perhaps the best C&H of all time, given it’s Watterson’s goodbye to the bullshit. Lucky Watterson. He could afford to go out on top, with integrity.

    Time capsule NYE 2016, part 1: Facebook is a dark joke.

    FB blasted me my 2015 writing for the NYE 2016, so I’m copy/pasting and updating this in 2020 for NYE 2021. Let’s see how it goes. I’ll just add the updated version (in parentheses), so.

    2020 was the worst god-awful shit-storm dumpster-fire and I really don’t see an improved 2021 ahead because reasons

    PSA – Reflection 2015 (2020)

    Well, the year is done. I’ve been 54 (59) orbits around the sun, which in itself is a shocker. So, what went on in 2015 (2020)?

    – Lived in Chicago from January through March, waiting for work visa. (2020 – Lived in Abu Dhabi UAE the entire year. Didn’t leave it to go anywhere).

    – April, moved across the world, YET AGAIN, this time back to the Middle East and a job in the United Arab Emirates, neighbor to Saudi Arabia, but very different culturally and technologically. (2020 – Renewed my apartment rent. Expensive, but nice building with a view of the Gulf and downtown AD – worth it)

    – Resigned (2020 – reassured) myself to the fact that I probably (2020 – definitely) won’t live and work in the US again, for reasons too numerous to put into this little FB posting. (Even more new and improved reasons in 2020)

    – Found myself separated from my immediate family for quite possibly a very long time. The repercussions from this are also too numerous, but suffice to say, it takes a very VERY strong mind to reconcile and accept this fact. Since I am a “go with the FLOW” kind of person, this is how it has to be, and I am going with it. My family knows me, and accepts this. None of it is easy ever. At all. (2020 – Unchanged and accurate)

    – The opportunity I have here in Abu Dhabi is unique in many ways, and the same as anywhere else I could be. I am buckled in for quite possibly several years here, given my age and current situation. (2020 – Unchanged and accurate, though I thought I’d have advanced my position, but I know now that won’t ever happen)

    – I am politically removed from the US now, and I don’t like the direction the country is headed. It’s obvious through my many political postings where I stand, and being a “pragmatic progressive” I have also accepted that oligarchy has taken over the country I grew up in. I am thinking a lot about this, and thinking of the many people I know, family and friends, who I’ve left behind to live in the US, which, if you look at the facts, is declining in wealth and influence around the world. (2020 – Unchanged – except for it being far worse, and accurate prediction)

    …there’s a bright spot. Except for the usual old bastard things, I’m relatively healthier than in 2015

    – Overall, my physical health is not the best, but that’s all from my horrible personal habits. I am human, and proud to be who I am, and have grown a bit more into the “jeez, it’s one life, might as well enjoy what I can of it” state of mind. I’ll be around for several more years, so no worries there. (From January 2020 to now, I’ve dropped close to 15kg, so there’s a bright spot. Except for the usual old bastard things, I’m relatively healthier than in 2015)

    – I am the most conflicted about my life’s work. I’ve been an educator since age 24. It’s really all I know and love. As much as I’ve seen in the many countries I’ve lived and worked, I try to stay positive, given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary about what it means to be in higher education. I’m still doing it, and really adore every minute I put into writing about it, thinking about it, and putting it into practice. More amazeballs things are around the corner for me in my current job. (2020 – Coaching is a new endeavor – and there’s already a lot of potential that surprised me – especially how it seems a natural next step)

    – Basically, I am extremely happy and fortunate for the experiences I’ve had – even with the crusty “angriest guy in the world” postings that I just can’t help posting on FB. I know what I’ve seen and done is something extremely rare in this world. I’ve experienced things extremely unique for one travelling the earth. I am more than a tourist to many regions of the world. This experience has been priceless, so very very priceless, and it’s absolutely impossible to express in words. I’m not gloating about this. I really feel so very fortunate for what I’ve carved out in my life. (2020 – in 2016 I hit five continents within one month of travelling. That was pretty cool. Returned to Okinawa twice – or three times – already too old to remember).

    – Facebook, more than anything, has helped me connect and reconnect to a LOT of people from my past. This is such a unique moment in our collective experience to be able to do this. I have re-friended a lot of people, made closer friends with a lot of my acquaintances, and seen that there’s no way ever we will all see eye to eye on things that are important to us. Folks, we can and must agree to disagree, but we must realize how temporary we are here, and do our best to leave a legacy to our progeny. (2020 – Yeah, FB is a dark joke. At least I started using Duck-Duck-Go instead of Google for my web searches. All large social media are evil – FULL STOP and that won’t change.)

    – Above all else, I want everyone reading this to remember two very important things about our all-too-short life. 1) Breathe in. 2) Breathe out. Laugh if you want, but these are the two basic truths that we must remember in order to continue another time around the sun. (2020 – Unchanged and accurate; so very very accurate)

    – Go watch a sunrise, and watch a sunset on the same day. It’s a very sober reminder of the amazing beauty that surrounds us, but that we can very easily forget when we get caught up in the day-to-day goings on. (2020 – Unchanged and accurate)

    Love (2020 – most of) you all, and with the very best wishes for a safe, sound, prosperous, content, and very very Happy New Year (2020 – stay. the. fuck. inside. wear. a. fucking. mask. get. a. fucking. vaccination. then. wear. your. fucking. mask. stay. safe. stay. sane. wash. your. hands.)

    In short: 2015 was AMAZEBALLS (2020 was the worst god-awful shit-storm dumpster-fire and I really don’t see an improved 2021 ahead because reasons).

    Kwaheri 2020.

    First impressions being a coach

    Three reflective questions

    Deep listening is tough

    I’ve done about 11 hours worth of coaching now, and this stands out the most. I think one of the main jobs of a coach is to listen to how people frame their challenges. As a long time language teacher, I’ve known of the challenges, especially in English, which is idiomatic as hell. We frame a lot of what we say in idiomatic terms without a second thought. So, listening to my clients talk about things reminds me of UN simultaneous translators. They have to listen in one language, and translate into another. I think a coach is doing the same thing…listening to someone’s challenges while at the same time translating what they are really saying into some other language of explication.

    We frame a lot of what we say in idiomatic terms without a second thought.

    Deep listening is tough

    The example I can think of is one client mentioned how far they felt from their goal. I stopped the conversation, and asked: are you far from the goal or are you close to the goal, because in fact, my perception was the client was very close to the goal they set. This simple reframing, I think, changed my client’s mindset to some extent.

    One conversation at a time

    This is one of the fundamental tenets of the job of coach, to help clients focus on one aspect of their challenges. All four of the people I’m working with have myriad ideas, tasks, priorities, things to organize. One client mentioned that the product was very important, and so was the marketing aspect. This client also felt that there were so many things going on in their mind that it was almost impossible to know where to start. So, I brought up the phrase “one conversation at a time” and said well, you’ve talked about the products and the marketing, so perhaps pick one and go down that road. This was enough to get them to, yes, go down that road. The client was able to do some deep exploring from that point on, and did not fret about all those other things fighting for their attention. I felt I’d said the right thing at the right time.

    …you’ve talked about the products and the marketing, so perhaps pick one and go down that road.

    One conversation at a time

    Self-regulation is a vital skill to learn early on

    In my full-time job, I have designed a professional development session on feedback. One aspect of feedback is to help learners to become self-sufficient through what is called self-regulation. This basically consists of employing three important questions as they learn something.

    1. What is my goal for what I am learning?
    2. Where am I now in relation to that goal?
    3. What do I need to do next in order to get from where I am to where I want to go?

    So, sure, these three are vital skills, but there’s more! Long ago, when I was doing teacher training for prospective English language teachers, I would end my sessions with three questions for reflection:

    1. What worked best in today’s session? I now like to call this the Positive Psychology question. Appreciative Inquiry, another concept which I’ve developed a PD session for posits that you must look at things from an asset-based framework…in other words, what do we already have now that is working best for us? This is opposed to what is called deficit-focused, where people tend to ask: if I had this thing, which I don’t, wouldn’t it help me to achieve this? The issue with being deficit-focused is that the thing desired is usually something that isn’t coming any time soon. It’s akin to a useless exercise to dream about something that’s not coming, and much more useful to see what you have, and what you can do with what you have.
    2. What would you do differently? I now call this the critical and creative thinking question. Doing something differently doesn’t necessarily mean the thing you are always doing is something that didn’t work and so needs to be changed. Instead, I am finding that I will remind people that even if something works, there is opportunity to innovate and improvise the successes, so that you have multiple avenues of success.
    3. What surprised you? Of course, the Emotional Intelligence question. When I say surprise, I define it as something that happens that you don’t expect to happen. Again, this could be a good thing, though perhaps most people feel that a surprise is usually a bad or unfortunate thing.

    I realized just today, that these three questions are part of the first two self-regulation questions, so I’m developing deeper questions for all three of the self-regulation questions. I have a lot to think about for this.

    Three reflective questions

    Collaborative suggestions

    Early on, I was concerned about offering advice. The job is not about advice, it’s about reframing what people are saying so they can hear what they are saying, and answer their own questions.

    What I’m noticing about myself is that toward the end of sessions I will speak a lot more than during the session when I’m working on questions to help me understand more deeply what the client is striving for.

    When I get into this talking mode, it’s sounded to me like I’m giving advice. Maybe I am. I am working to distinguish this. However, i’ve started to tell myself that I’m merely summarizing what the client has been saying, and making inferences about what they mean in terms of their options for moving forward. In other words, I am offering them collaborative suggestions. In telling them what they might consider doing, I remind myself that this is also a collaborative relationship, and so this telling is part of the collaboration. What I need to do at times is to try to listen more to what I say, to make sure I’m not imposing my judgement on things, nor am I leading the client down a path they might not want to go. I shouldn’t be leading them at all, so the balance of reframing and leading is, I think something I’ll need to work on.

    The job is not about advice, it’s about reframing what people are saying so they can hear what they are saying, and answer their own questions.

    On Collaborative Suggestions

    Conclusions

    These are obviously preliminary thoughts, worth writing down here, and I know I’ll work through some issues I have and make sure I am subscribing to what a coach is supposed to be. Here are some other things to write about in more detail shortly.

    1. Why a laser focus on SMARTER goals is essential
    2. The best way to end a session
    3. Why I think framing language that reveals mindsets is a very deep deep venture
    4. Creating optional activities based on the conversations within a session

    Production values of YouTube Channels

    I’ve started on my new adventure in coaching. A couple people I am working with are wanting to find ways of creating interesting video-based content, so I wrote them an email about some shows I watch kind of regularly on YouTube, NOT for the content, but for the production themselves, as my clients are small-shop operators, and these productions below look to be small and medium-small shops that have had a pretty large degree of Youtube success. After writing the email, I realized I should also pop the info here into my blog, so here it is.


    Various titles by Not another cooking show.

    This guy used to own a food truck in NYC, but looks like he started his YouTube channel a couple years back. He basic technique is:

    1. Talk directly to the camera in close-up.

    2. Tell an opening story.

    3. Show the food being made in very quick steps.

    4. Show the final product.

    5. Then slow going through the recipe and technique through a series of jump cuts. His talking is a series of jump cuts, as are his cutting techniques, etc. He has no qualms about the jump cuts. Why should he? It works.

    6. Take a photo of the final project in a very careful presentation of the food with the video title superimposed over the shot of the final product.

    7. End with him eating the food and final comments.

    8. Jamming his knife on the cutting board to show that he’s done.

    There’s good use of music in the background, and lots of close-ups of the preparation, frying, baking, etc. It’s edited so that it moves along quickly, but coherently.

    Most of his videos are between 6 to 15 minutes long, and he produces maybe three to four videos a month.

    Film theory: various titles by The Film Theorists

    I absolutely love two things about these productions.

    1. The animation of the narrator is just so unique. He uses a lot of still shots, but animates over them, and moves them around  in great synch with what he says.

    2. He’s a natural narrator, too. This guy uses his voice in a deeply interesting and engaging way. He also ends every show with his tag line ‘BUT THAT’S JUST A THEORY, A FILM THEORY’ and his exaggerated way of saying this is, for me at least, very memorable.

    This is obviously a YouTube channel with a highly skilled animation editor, but they still manage to put out a lot of content very quickly.

    Most of his videos are a maximum of 20 minutes, and he produces something maybe very other day! He’s got a crew working for him!


    Various titles Pitch Meeting by Film Rant

    Every “pitch meeting’ video is pretty much exactly the same in structure. It’s the same guy dressed in two different outfits, one of him wears glasses (the writer making the pitch), and the other, the producer with the money, doesn’t.

    He shoots on green screen and the backgrounds he uses are only different depending on the year the film that is being pitched was made. This means the device behind the screen writer is either an old typewriter, a newer typewriter, an old computer, or a newer computer. What makes me laugh is the quick edits in the conversation between the two characters. Also, the writer has a tag line “Super easy, barely an inconvenience”. The back and forth style with quick edits as they look at the stories behind the movies are pretty interesting observations, but this is definitely for adult viewers.

    Almost every pitch meeting is between 6 to 9 minutes long. He seems to be his own production crew, but he has produced a lot of content in addition to the Pitch meeting series.


    Geography Now: Country in focus by Geography Now.
    This guy set out in the beginning to make a video about every country on Earth. If you dig through his archive and watch earlier productions then watch the Pakistan production, which is only about a year old, you’ll see a marked increase in production quality, and he expanded his ‘staff’ in later productions to help out. There’s a ton of interesting information, and he really innovated in telling some of the stories of the country, and highlighting a lot of different things that are unique about every country. He clearly loves what he’s doing in this series, and recently stopped because of covid, with a promise to return to finish what he started.

    Most of his videos are a bit longer, so look for 18 to 30 minutes episodes. With his expanding staff, he’s up to about the letter “T” on the list of 190 or so countries around the globe.

    Various geography themed content by ibx2cat
    There’s one feature about this guy’s videos that I haven’t researched and that is how he’s able to have himself in the corner live as he works his way through various websites, including a LOT of use of Google Earth to zoom in and out of various countries as he talks about details of that country. He records everything in one cut, so, there’s no editing at all, and kind of rambles at times, but I like his fast talking style, in fact, it’s very fast at some points, and he’s clearly in love with talking about his topics. 

    His videos are anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes, but I can still sit through a 45 minute ramble because obviously I’m a big geography buff. He seems to put out videos two to three times a week, and obviously he’s a one-man show.

    Plus ça change

    I’m just cleaning up my desktop on a lazy Friday morning (my Saturday, because UAE is a Muslim country with Friday/Saturday as the weekend), and I found this, so this seems the best place for it. From an MS Word doc dated 15 OCT 2017.

    PSA – very, very long posting ahead…SPOILER ALERT…no spoilers.

    Part I: Life is a Ride

    “The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

    I would shorten this as indicated – an excerpt – and provide the link at the end.

    ― Bill Hicks (1961-1994), greatest comedian (until Dave Chapelle came along).

    Part II: Question Reality

    An open letter to self, regarding that graphic you posted just over a year ago…

    Remember that challenge on FB, during the election season of 2016, to post about what three fictional characters best summarize your personality…well, time to reveal to yourself why you chose these three…

    First, the soundtrack for this letter is – The Harder They Come.*

    Let’s start with the woodcutter from Rashomon in the little box in the upper left corner of the graphic. Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa’s 1950s masterpiece. Film buffs know this film, because, like Citizen Kane, it broke a ton of cinematic rules in its day and was a sensation because of it….but Rashomon is a tale where one must conclude that it’s imperative to question reality on a daily basis. Is this real? Or just a ride? The storyline, four different views of a crime committed, left you baffled as to what actually happened.

    Because that’s how reality works.

    In the light of the crimes I and hundreds others in my high school alum community have just become aware of…we can’t piece together what actually happened in every instance… 40 YEARS OF INSTANCE …and we are stuck trying to see the facts as they were. From a LOT of different points of view. Knowing that each view will be a little different. But we know bad things happened, and there was a pattern to it all that’s about to emerge. Like the woodcutter, you are about to see the forest from the trees.

    Maybe during those quiet times, when that man of in a position of power abused a boy (sorry to keep you all nameless, but there are names a plenty) to satisfy some primal desire without regard to the human beings he was using as sex toys … it reminds you a little of the arrogant Tajômaru, the thief/rapist in Rashomon proudly boasting of his heroic rape, and the noble fight the victim’s husband put up to defend her honor, and which he, the Great Tajômaru won.

    The woodcutter’s tale of the fight is very different… Tajômaru was not a man of courage or a hero of any kind after all, but a small-minded imbecile who got a lucky break in the swordfight after he raped a woman …but then [SPOILER ALERT …] you learned the woodcutter himself also lied about a certain missing dagger. Woodcutter 2.0. The dagger mentioned in the wife’s testimony and in the late husband’s testimony to the police. So even the woodcutter’s story can’t be taken as the total truth.

    You are like that woodcutter – both facets – and to be honest, everyone is like the woodcutter on Facebook to some extent. You put up your nice veneer, awesome times, good times, check this out… but there are holes in your stories and skeletons in the your closet, some which might not ever see the light of day. You are human after all, and the woodcutter bears this out. Even in times of honesty, there lurks some darkness below the surface.

    No justice, no peace. Fear, not love. Just a ride.

    This week, you are going to learn that lesson about justice again, when the stories get exchanged, everyone shrugs, and moves on, possibly with an unwitting embrace of the fear that bombards us daily. The woodcutter didn’t tell his story to a lawyer after all… and left out a little detail when he told the police Tajômaru’s story in a different light.

    Most days, you are the woodcutter, wandering deep in a forest, hoping you won’t stumble upon the Tajômarus of the world. But they are everywhere.

    “One of these days
    When you hear a voice say come
    Who you gonna run to?
    You gonna run to the rock for rescue
    There will be no rock.”

           – The Slickers, Johnny Too Bad

    Part III: The Catcher in the Rye

    Then, in the middle of the graphic you posted, front and center and larger than life, is good old Willy Wonka, the Gene Wilder movie version (not the Johnny Depp movie version nor the Roald Dahl book version). Willy…what can you say about this brilliant guy? The Augustus Gloop scene sums this up well.

    At first, Willy is pretty upset as he tries to keep Augustus from drinking from his chocolate river, he runs to try to save him, alas his attitude changes completely once the boy falls in. This is the concerned Larry, wanting to keep people from harm. Fear. Not succeeding. Woodcutter 2.0.

    The mom screams “DO SOMETHING”, and then, out you come, the Jaded Brechtian Ennui(TM) Larry, in all your glory: “Help. Police. Murder.” spoken knowing the damage is already done, and what’s the point. Just a ride. It’s like watching a 20 year old age into a 55 year old in a matter of seconds. There are seriously no more fucks to give at this age.

    It’s just a ride.

    20 kids dead in a mass shooting? Just a ride. Guy plans to kill hundreds if he can with a bunch of guns but only mows down 60 and only injures 500. Puerto Rico. Trump blah blah blah FEAR…or just a ride. Help. Congress. Murder.

    Then later, the part that scared the living shit out of me when I first saw it, Augustus gets stuck in the pipe. Willy matter-of-factly states, in the best Dr. Professor Larry voice: “Well the pressure will get him out. Terrific pressure is building up behind the blockage.”

    Then old Punk Rock Larry (RIP D. Boon – miss you DAILY!) kicks in with glee in his voice and a kick in his step, while popping popcorn in his mouth: “The suspense is terrible! I hope it’ll last!” Yes, it’s a dark satire indeed, and you’d be a woodcutter 2.0 if you said you didn’t have that in you…that part emerges as a kind of last ditch effort to maintain sanity given the horror of the situation.

    Multiple personalities trying to make sense of a world gone mad. You post politics all the time, but everything’s already in that chocolate river. What can you do but say: Help. Mr. President. Murder.

    In the end, you give the factory to Charlie. The boy with a heart more valuable than a golden ticket. “The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.”

    You are SO VERY MUCH Willy Wonka on a daily basis.

    “Dema loot, dema shoot, dema wail” – Desmond Dekker, 007 (Shanty Town)

    Part IV: Fake News

    Hobbes.

    There are two Hobbes. This is the reality Hobbes. The stuffed, motionless tiger. The Willy Wonka Jaded Brechtian Ennui(TM) Hobbes, perched on Willy’s shoulder. The woodcutter Hobbes, telling the real story while still craving a hearty can of tuna fish. Is he a figment of Calvin’s imagination, or is he a magical autonomous entity? Am you real, or is this just a ride? How many political comics have you seen drawing Calvin and Trump in the same light.. and me, that imaginary foil to Trump, rolling your eyes, losing faith in all that is human. Do your exist in Trump’s reality? You are mostly the stuffed Hobbes to over 65 million Americans, and face it, close to seven billion other people.

    Hobbes is a shapeshifter, that’s for sure, but only for Calvin. Me, only for American politics, it seems. Maybe for some people some of the time. That stuffed form resonates with you, doesn’t it? You’ve felt like stuffed Hobbes most of the time when dealing with politics…with people, and why you cling to your introversion and am perfectly content to have yourself as company. Yet on social media you go doing this type of live active Hobbes doing dances with Calvin and getting all up in his grill.

    One time, Calvin took Hobbes out on a safari, and for whatever circumstance, left him behind. He got all angry and frantic at the same time. Calvin’s panic was palpable. When he found Hobbes, boy was he mad at Hobbes for getting lost. Calvin lost the stuffed tiger, and the living tiger ran away dancing in the forest with the woodcutter 2.0.

    There are actually too many Calvin/Hobbes stories to tell, but there isn’t a moment when you don’t feel like Hobbes rolled round in earth’s diurnal course with rocks and stones and trees (apologies to WW).

    It’s tough being Hobbes to the world of Calvins out there, many of whom are real, actual friends or acquaintances of yours (you reading this know if I’m giving you that living Hobbes stare at your RIGHT NOW).

    Anyway, back to stuffed Hobbes, who explored a lot of the world with Calvin whether he wanted to or not. Remember the last strip, the fallen white snow, the world of possibilities to explore. Such delight on Hobbes face. Off they went to explore “space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

    Thanks for the explanation, Larry.

    * Soundtrack to the 1973 film classic about the hard life Jamaican’s had back in the day, and you know the US CITIZEN Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders are having the same hard time right now…

    “Many rivers to cross
    And it’s only my will
    that keeps me alive.”

            – Jimmy Cliff

    “Well, they tell me of a pie up in the sky
    Waiting for me when i die
    But between the day you’re born and when you die
    They never seem to hear even no cry
    So as sure as the sun will shine
    I’m gonna get my share of what’s mine
    And then the harder they come
    The harder they fall
    One and all.
    The harder they come
    The harder they fall
    One and all!”

           – Jimmy Cliff

    Epilogue:

    Anyway, back to stuffed Hobbes, who explored a lot of the world with Calvin whether he wanted to or not. Remember the last strip, the fallen white snow, the world of possibilities to explore. Such delight on Hobbes face. Off they went to explore “space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.” Um, you just woodcutter 2.0’d didn’t you? You are really living Hobbes. Yeah, thought so. Thanks for the explanation, Larry.

    Top 10 Music – goes to 11 (2018)

    Suggested listening while you read this: 

    My apologies to Prince. I tend to like Diamonds and Pearls, though I know other efforts of his are better. Anyway, RIP to yet another great gone too soon. Also some minor typos fixed below…also some essential verses from some songs.

    I’d recommend you revisit this post from time to time, because there just isn’t enough information that can be packed into something in one sitting. I just thought of a whole bunch of other things I want to put into this one, so there are a ton of edits from the original post. Enjoy, but also note people have commented on earlier versions of this one. Also, as you know, I like swear words, so scroll by if you get offended by that stuff.

    =====

    Hi Facebook. Several of my friends are posting their top 10 albums of all time on their feeds, and doing it without explanation. So, just to help you to get the Russians and others to market to me properly and reach into my already depleted wallet based on what I post, here’s my list, posted all at once, and WITH explanations, because our privacy is dead and you already know everything already so the more details I give you the more I screw with your fucked up algorithms. Go on parse out all this shit.

    This is not a top 10 though…#1 is not #1 of all time…these are all pretty much equal in their impact and I spit them out without thinking too hard, because I think that’s the point. Also there are 11, because everything needs to go to 11 after Spinal Tap told us so.

    11. Best of Bent – Bent. This is a British duo album and is a very late entry, but for the past 10 years or so, I’ve grown to really love downtempo European duos who make the best “this is the soundtrack to my life” type music. The song Private Road tops several great offerings from this group, although Magic Love is a close contender (and a hilarious video on YouTube) and they lead me to a slew of other newer music that I listen to regularly now. Listening to related artists for Bent led me to such incredible individual artists and groups such as Ulrich Schnauss, Goldfrapp (Ooh La La was on Black Mirror!), Zero 7 (Pia did a few tracks with them very early in her storied career), Bonobo, Daft Punk, Lemon Jelly, Air, Nightmares on Wax, Kid Loco, Chemical Brothers, Boards of Canada, Röyksopp, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Télépopmusik and many others.

    Bach is Dead.

    10. Blue Break Beats, Volume 1 – Various Artists. The first five seconds of the first track, by Richard “Groove” Holmes solidified my love of Acid Jazz and all the funky variations, although that first track is still my favorite, and Groove has a fab version of Misty that you MUST find NOW and listen to. There are four volumes to this series, and every track makes you want to say “God Bless America” because Jazz is one of the greatest contributions to American culture I know, and the early 60s and 70s that these tracks come from are certainly some of the best. Honestly, if you have not heard Richard “Groove” Holmes, Grant Green, Lou Donaldson, Donald Byrd, Eddie Henderson and the slew of other folks in this series, you haven’t been paying attention.

    9. Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables – Dead Kennedys. You all know I was an LA Punk, like a lot of you, my friends. There are a couple other selections on this list that re-affirm that. But you know, “You’ll work harder with a gun in your back for a bowl of rice a day” wasn’t just how things were then…it’s how things still are now, only of course on a much more metaphorical level. Jello rules. Also, to get a flavour of the time and place, you’d need to listen to the Minutemen (see below), X, Fear, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, Germs, Wall of Voodoo, Suburban Lawns, and then of course expand out to Gang of Four, Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxie and the Banshees, Ramones…oh the list can go on and on…

    8. Remain in Light – Talking Heads. Really, these guys are still my favs, and David Byrne’s career has been on the come back trail yet again. Really, all of the Talking Heads albums are eligible, but “This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around.” pretty much sums up adulthood as we know it. I always think of the B52s and their first and second albums as the fabulous frilly foil to the heady Heads. Oh yeah, Devo lol. Devo dovetails in nicely with these two groups.

    Bach is Dead.

    7. Revolver – The Beatles. Hard to choose one Beatles album, but this one ends with John Lennon singing “play the game existence to the end, of the beginning“…and really this was the end of the beginning of an amazing musical career, everything after this was pure collaborative genius and this, along with Rubber Soul, were the bridge albums. Every 60s group is related to this, so I’m not adding in any related music. I mean if you twist my arm, then Janis, Jimi, and Jim (glad Mick didn’t join THAT club) have to be at the top of the list. Oh, and to my high school friends who insisted that Eric Clapton is God…well, ok, ok. I think it’s also good, historically, to put Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Mahalia Jackson here as related influences on 1960s rock. While Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye were going down a fabulously parallel R&B path with the Beatles, so, you know my arm is twisted and I could have listed ANY Motown song here, but Motown wasn’t an album so, PAH.

    6. Sandinista – The Clash. Come ON. There are a brazillion tracks here that are awesome, but still my favorite lyric here is from Magnificient 7 “Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi/ Went to the park to check on the game/ But they was murdered by the other team/ Who went on to win 50-nil”. So it goes. Joe Strummer died at age 50, murdered by the Cancer team, so yeah, some irony there. I’m putting Michael Jackson here because he also died ridiculously young (murdered by the prescription drug addiction team), and had a much more poppy influence on me at the time. Billie Jean made me think of…

    5. Lady in Satin – Billie Holiday. If you don’t know the history of this album, shame on you. Just take a moment. Stop reading. Now hang your head in utter shame for 30 seconds before you start reading again. I can wait…

    Done? Welcome back. This was a recording of a 44-year old woman, addicted to Heroin, the most talented voice of her time, and still considered so today, and she was treated like less than a dog, being black in the 1920s to 1950s and knew she was about to die, and still belted out every single word in every single track to make sure people knew what had happened in her life. If you aren’t weeping on the floor after listening to this album, you have no soul. Also, sure, Strange Fruit is still her signature song, and rightfully so and it’s not part of this album…but again, knowing the context of this album, listening to her broken voice, but not broken spirit…this was quite a good bye love letter. But what else can you do at the end of a love affair? The story reminds me of Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay (although he didn’t know his death was imminent), and David Bowie’s Blackstar (damn, David, you can’t give everything awayyyyyy, but I bet you thought of Billie Holiday at some point in recording YOUR final album knowing your time was limited).

    “Do they know, do they care
    That it’s only ‘cuz I’m lonely, and low as can be
    And the smile on my face
    Isn’t really a smile at all?”

    Bach is Dead.

    4. The Harder they Come – Jimmy Cliff and Various Artists. An obscure 1972 Jamaican film about a country boy gone gangster in the capital, Kingston, this compilation is the grandfather of all Reggae albums, a close cousin to New Wave / Punk genres and the uncle of all Ska music to boot (although OK, Ska was around before this, their blood relationship is obvious). I still can’t pick a favorite track on this one, although my current favorite is 007-Shanty Town. I still play this whole album constantly and tear up when singing, and yes, dancing, along. You sentimental old fool, you. Just picture old fatty me dancing in my living room looking out at the Abu Dhabi skyline singing out “Dem a loot / dem a shoot / dem a wail (a shanty town!)”, then doing some ad lib in the bridge between the vocal sections at the beginning and end. Ok, now that you’ve washed your eyes out and after that image is gone, you can follow up listening with everything Bob Marley and UB40, then go check out 1980s British Ska: English Beat, Selector, the Specials, Madness, Fun Boy Three…then go back to the beginning of Ska with the Skalites aka Ska Kings of the First Wave and you’ll find a ton of obscure but danceable related tracks from dozens of artists (dem-a rude boys ya bum up de town!).

    3. Duck Stab – The Residents. Never heard of the Residents? Well, forget it, then. Those who have heard of them know that I’m coming soon to Constantinople. There is no group out there (well maybe Frank Zappa, but I really honestly don’t know enough Zappa to make a qualified judgement) quite like the Residents.

    2. Double Nickels on the Dime – The Minutemen. I am still in mourning. RIP D.Boon 1958-1985. #1 Love Song is just that. History Lesson Part II sums it all up nicely and everyone who I was with in my formative years at UCLA remembers the over 40 tracks on this gem. See the DKs above for related music, but The Minutemen still are my favorite from back in the day.

    On the back of a winged horse
    Through the sky pearly grey
    Love is leaf-like...
    You and me, baby
    Twinkle, twinkle
    Blah, blah, blah
    E! T! C!

    Lyrics to #1 Love Song

    1. Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys. Good Vibrations is a great song, but this is what a great album is, and Good Vibrations isn’t on it. To all my friends and family: God Only Knows what I’d be without you.

    OK, I guess I kind of lied. It IS in order and #1 is #1 for a reason.

    Walking women want to see the Southern Cross at night
    And so they set aside a sock and tie their laces tight
    Yes, mournful is the melody that echoes in their heads
    Without a beat, they march along believing Bach is dead
    
    Bach is Dead.