A favorite, inspirational video

So let us cut to the chase and view exactly what is going through my head and inspiring me to write.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, just going through the post-Christmas pre-New Year’s part of the year pondering the next.
Traditionally, we’re still going through the 12 days of Christmas.
Jesus’ birthday seemed even less spiritual this year despite repeated viewings of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and reading the nativity passage from the Gospel of Luke.
The holiday seems over and done with as the decorations come down and the gift wrap gets thrown out.
Trying to find ways to keep entertained, I’ve been watching classic movies I’ve missed such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” on my new Kindle Fire.
Also re-reading “Spellsinger” as noted in my last blog entry. I’m sure I’ll write more about that next year.
A big thank you to my thoughtful roommates for the Kindle Fire gift.
Haven’t figured out how to text or write effectively on the Kindle yet, though.
Any movie suggestions welcome.
Will probably watch “The Hustler” next as it is considered a classic.
I’ll go out with a new video that showed up in my Facebook newsfeed thanks to Zooey Deschanel.

Zooey, I’m free but would need a babysitter for my daughter if you’re thinking about Times Square.


Why Spellsinger Movie?

I saw “Heavy Metal” at the movies three times.                        

That animated feature showed Rock ‘n’ Roll short films that were just plain cool.

Rock remains part of my life that helps me feel good.

Now there’s a move toward making one of my favorite fantasy books featuring Rock into a movie – Spellsinger.

The book poses the question “Can an amateur musician draw the magic from the music before evil forces overcome the worlds he knows?”

Spellsinger as a movie will sell tickets and earn dollars because anything featuring Rock ‘n’ Roll, magic, fighting overwhelming odds, human and anthropomorphic characters with subversive humor and even a patriotic theme will attract both Baby Boomers and rebellious teens.

Think Lord of the Rings – both feature quests into hostile territory – except Spellsinger’s content is a bit lighter and features Rock instead of classical music.


Spellsingers’ characters themselves attract the liberal and conservative, the wise greybeard (a turtle this time out), a young peacenik man pulled from a rite of passage into yet deeper rites of good battling evil, a cowardly thief unsure there may be something in life worth fighting for, a strong woman that would give Scarlett O’Hara a run for her money – if not beat Scarlett senseless for her pettiness and weak dependence on men.

Shrek and other animated movies like it show that subversive sells well – especially when mixed with Rock.

Spellsinger features classic rock, classic themes and classic scenes.

The potential exists to turn it into a successful, money-earning franchise due to the original book’s sequels.

I just want to see it again.

I saw it the first time in my mind when I read the series and am seeing it again as I read back through “Spellsinger.”

Long after the movie’s first run, the film will likely be seen as a showcase for Rock and a turning point in film production.

The technology exists to turn a special book into a special film.

And bring the music-made magic back into the movies.

Spellsinger – Soundtrack Possibilities

Movie soundtracks can make or break those moving pictures.
That’s my belief anyway.
So here we go with another riff on a favorite book.
To understand the possibilities picked during a slow day at work, you must understand the premise behind Alan Dean Foster’s book “Spellsinger.”
This can be found on my last blog entry, but I’m going to Google deeper to see if there’s a synopsis available that I can edit down to prevent giving away too much.

I think I’ll just link to one:


Okay, so that out of the way, we know the book contains references to real songs.
I’m waiting on another copy of the book from Amazon.com because mine has been misplaced through the decades since I’ve read it.
The same mistake will hopefully allow for some of my choices here that are meant to be heavy on guitar and magic.
I know there’s a Johnny Cash song in the book but don’t remember it, but here goes my suggestions for the soundtrack:

Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
Rock of Ages – Def Leppard
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap – AC / DC
Tom Sawyer – Rush
Walking in Space – Quincy Jones (Guitar solo at 7.25 minutes)
Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
Strange Universe – Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush
Be Free – Loggins and Messina
Abracadabra – Steve Miller Band
Daydream – Robin Trower
The Lightning’s Hand – Kansas
The Man on the Silver Mountain – Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Green Grass and High Tides – The Outlaws
Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple
Agora – Phil Keaggy
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed – Allman Brothers Band
Birds of Fire – Mahavishnu Orchestra
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat – Jeff Beck
Season of the Witch – Donovan
Zap – Eric Johnson (1977 version)
I’m Ok – Styx
Rock and Roll Fantasy – Bad Company

But wait, there’s more:

Breaking the Law
Hell Bent for Leather– Judas Priest
Hopelessly Human – Kansas
Flirtin with Disaster – Molly Hatchet
I Will Follow – U2
Rough Boys – Pete Townsend
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – ZZ Top
Girl U Want
Satisfaction – Devo

Feel free to add your selections, correct me and quote songs from the book.

For fun, here’s a rendering of Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”

Pondering the Positive of NPR’s Music Offerings

Where do they get their stuff?

At the moment, I’m going through my backlog of National Public Radio’s “Song of the Day.”

Enjoying Etana’s reggae “People Talk” and thinking of forcing my 9-year-old daughter to listen to it.

Such a lovely, positive, empowering anthem.


There’s a key phrase in the lyrics, “live your life and be free” that sent me meandering over to Loggins and Messina’s “Be Free.”

It has nothing to do with gossip, but everything to do with the omnipresent yearning inside me to get out into the wilderness experienced in Texas and Idaho and away from D.C.

Here’s a version on youtube with photos from the John Muir Woods and Big Basin in California:


But back to NPR and the playlist.

I’d say Eisley offers a bit of positive cynicism in “The Valley” although NPR’s reviewer classifies it differently as seen in the link below.


Marcia Ball’s “Everybody’s Looking for the Same Thing” took me back to my days in Austin where I once saw Lou Ann Barton perform.

Ball brings the boogie woogie on here:


Turning to positive pop, I wondered if one of NPR’s music critics – Ken Tucker from “Entertainment Weekly” wasn’t a bit harsh on Paul Simon’s “So Beautiful, So What?” when he said the whole album doesn’t provide as much spiritual nourishment as the classic “Bridge over Troubled Water” penned during Simon’s pairing with Art Garfunkel.

Tucker’s review may be heard here:


The video to a live performance of Simon’s “Rewrite” off of the “So Beautiful” album can be seen here:


I can identify with the song and enjoy it.

It moves more concrete and with a beat than “Bridge” does to me and is as nourishing in it’s own way when pondering changing life for the better.

And finally, with a positive look at blues that may not exactly uplift yet will definitely unburden, comes the delightful “Threadbare” by Hoots and Hellmouth.

Though it came to me as the NPR “Song of the Day,” I enjoyed listening at the link here:


Music gets me through my day as I frequently put on youtube while answering e-mails where I work.

NPR’s suggestions help me widen my musical knowledge and provide enjoyment as well.

Measuring the Musical Distance Between Us

Distance measured by rock songs of the 1960s and 1970s.

On a normal traffic day, the time it takes to play “Time” off Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album coupled with the running time of “Do You Feel Like We Do?” off the album “Frampton Comes Alive!” equals a total drive time from my children’s home to my own basement abode.

Sitting through a long traffic signal on Northern Virginia’s Harry Byrd Highway will eat up most of The Cars’ “Candy-O.”

Pumping gas, playing “Highway Chile” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience will fill the time unless you go inside the station to pay. In that event, “Give a Little Bit” by Supertramp usually covers that timeframe unless there’s a rush-hour line. That line in turn means “Life’s Been Good” by Joe Walsh should be played.

Should you be listening to news radio and there’s a report on what the president or his cabinet might be doing during these grim economic times, instead switch to the CD player and “Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)” by Randy Newman.

Eulogy for a Father-in-law known only by phone

The telephone rang and the male voice on the other end asked cheerfully “is my daughter Alana there?”

That left little doubt who was calling – her father Alan Keith Cook whose memory and military service we honor today.

There was also little doubt as to the pride and love Mr. Cook felt for his daughter. After more than 30 years they were working to re-knit a relationship unraveled by time, distance and struggles to survive.

On the telephone, you could hear in Mr. Cook’s voice an exuberance that their ties were renewed and his daughter had done well in life despite their separation.

We can only speculate that his life was improving as well with God’s peace and love touching his soul.

What makes great art is its reflection of life.

In that theme, Mr. Cook’s life had parallels with a musical titled “Carousel” where a man named Billy fathers a daughter days before dying. He is sent back to earth 15 years later and the plot unfolds as he helps a daughter struggling with unfair stereotypes and life.

At the musical’s end, Billy, whispers to his daughter, telling her to have confidence in herself as she and others sing the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

I can imagine Mr. Cook, in his way, echoing this song:

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark.

Walk on, through the wind,
Walk on, through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.

(Play Johnny Cash version)

16th Random Thing while Passive-Aggressive blogging

Passive-Aggressive behavior is something I’d like to rid myself of with as much seriousness as I tackle passive verbs.

My behavior is still sucking.

This would be my 16th Random Thing, this passive-aggressive crap that mainly gets directed at my soon-to-be ex-wife when I can’t get her attention.

Speaking of my wife and eHarmony (we took it posing as singles once and looked horribly incompatible), I’ll toss in the 17th thing about me using their discriminatory system (don’t all systems discriminate in some manner?) that keeps evil, not-yet-divorced undesirables like me from matching with someone truly compatible.


Third from the Five-Part Personality Assessment at eHarmony:

3:  Introduction to Emotional Stability

We’re born with the capacity to feel deeply, so it’s as natural as breathing to experience a range of emotions. Fear and joy and sadness, anger and shame and disgust lie somewhere within each of us. Ah, but to what extent do we control these emotions, and to what extent do they control us? How you answer this question of how your emotions play out in your life has a great deal to do with your levels of personal satisfaction and with the character of your relationships with others. Do you manage your emotions well, keeping them in check with your thinking and your willpower, or are you someone who lets emotions have their way, giving in to the wild dance of feelings? The following paragraphs describe your emotional range in terms of being a person who is emotionally steady or someone who is responsive to whatever feelings swell up in you.
On Emotional Stability you are:
Words that describe you:
Able to Cope
A General Description of Your Reactivity
In some ways, you’ve got the best of emotional worlds. When emotions rise up from inside you or are brought forth from a conversation by a friend, you know how to engage them. You deal with sadness, fear, joy, anger – whatever comes up – in ways that are perceptive and flexible. You can adapt to whatever level of emotion is appropriate to the moment. At other times, you are able to cope with your emotions in a more reserved manner. Because you are aware of what does and does not make emotional sense in a particular situation, you will decide when it is an appropriate time to express your emotions and when it would be best to keep them to yourself.

All of this gives you a rich emotional life. You are free to express your passions about certain subjects with appropriate people. But you are also emotionally adaptable; if the conversation needs to be more cerebral, you’ll keep it “in your head” and talk calmly through whatever issue is on the table. This emotional awareness serves you well. You seldom get in over your head, either by opening up to the wrong person or by triggering in someone else’s emotions they may not be able to deal with.
Negative Reactions Others May Have Toward You
When it comes to dealing with emotions we all meet some people with whom we don’t match well. You bring a balanced approach to your emotional life. As such, those who are at the extremes are most likely to have a negative reaction to you. Those who live in their emotions may feel you tend to “live in your head” while those who go through life as an emotional rock may feel that you are a bit too “touchy feely” for their approach.

And of course it is always possible that because you do balance your emotional approach to life you may misread others – we all do at times. So there have undoubtedly been those times when you have misread cues and stayed in your head with someone who hoped for a more open emotional approach or you may have opened up emotionally with someone who keeps their emotions bottled up. But these things happen and since you do have a good balance of being in touch with your emotions and not being overly impacted by emotional swings, you undoubtedly are able to adapt.

Another potential problem is that as people get to know you well, they will discover that you have a great balance between emotional expression and emotional control. If they don’t have this balance they may wind up envying you. They can’t express feelings as well as you, or they are too often out of emotional control and resent you for your ability to cope so well with the very emotions that may trip them up.
Positive Responses Others May Have Toward You
Many people will be grateful to find a friend like you who can stay in control when emotions verge on chaos, but who can also go into the tangle of emotions when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Because of your ability to engage them at whatever level they are comfortable, to adapt to whatever changes in emotion emerge in the conversation, and to cope so well with all of it – well, they’ll be very glad they found a person like you. You may, in fact, wind up as something of an emotional mentor. Your awareness of the emotional temperature of a situation, your ability to adapt to either heat or cold, and your ability to cope with whatever winds up happening in the conversation could be models for them to follow as they come to terms with their own emotional worlds.

And now a song popular when I was 19 (1980) and my wife was 5:

“Emotional Rescue”

-The Rolling Stones

Is there nothing I can say
Nothing I can do
To change your mind
I’m so in love with you
You’re too deep in
You can’t get out
You’re just a poor girl in a rich man’s house
Yeah, baby, I’m crying over you

Don’t you know promises were never made to keep?
Just like the night, dissolve in sleep
I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue

Yeah, the other night, crying
Crying baby, yeah I’m crying
Yeah I’m like a child baby
I’m like a child baby
Child yeah, I’m like a child, like a child
Like a child

You think you’re one of a special breed
You think that you’re his pet pekinese
I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue

I was dreaming last night
Last night I was dreaming
How you’d be mine, but I was crying
Like a child, yeah, I was crying
Crying like a child
You will be mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, all mine
You could be mine, could be mine
Be mine, all mine

I come to you, so silent in the night
So stealthy, so animal quiet
I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue

Yeah, you should be mine, mine, whew
Yes, you could be mine
Tonight and every night
I will be your knight in shining armour
Coming to your emotional rescue
You will be mine, you will be mine, all mine
You will be mine, you will be mine, all mine
I will be your knight in shining armour
Riding across the desert with a fine arab charger