January Shuffle 2.0


I did this a couple of weeks ago and I enjoyed it so much I thought I would do it again.  So here we go!

“Dear God”, Midge Ure: In January of 1989, I was in the middle of my year off after high school.  I was working at a shoe store and I heard this song on the radio.  I went out during my lunch break and bought the album, “Answers To Nothing”.  I recognized the voice but couldn’t place it.  I soon found out Midge Ure was the lead singer of Ultravox, a New Age band from the early part of the decade.  He was also one of the lead organizers of Band Aid and Live Aid, the charity events to support the famine in Ethiopia.  This song has remained one of my favorites over the 28 years since.  These are questions I ask about the world all the time.  And what I wish for humanity.  When I see injustice in the world, I want to scream.  But I always try to ask God why first.  With everything we have, why do so many live in poverty?  Why are there children who die of hunger?  Why do children live in the streets while small families live in mansions?  Why do the few have so much while the many have so little?

“Against The Wind”, Bob Seger: Even though the song came out over a decade before, it reminds me the most of Forrest Gump.  This movie has its share of detractors, but I always felt it was one of the most brilliant movies ever made.  One of my favorite parts is when Forrest decides to run across the country.  And he kept going.  The scenes where he is alone, facing his pain and trying to come to terms with it is something we can all relate to.  “I began to find myself searchin’, searchin’ for shelter again and again.”  Pain is not a stranger to any human being.  We can face it, run from it, suppress it, or hide from it, but it will always bubble up to the surface.  It’s what we do with it that matters the most.

“Together Or Not Together”, Michael Giacchino: One of many of the pieces from the tv show “Lost” that I love.  In this one, some of the characters have to do something as a team.  If they don’t, what they are trying to accomplish won’t happen.  There is so much in life that you can only do as a team, whether it is as two people or more.  Not all things can be done alone.  This was the central theme of the show and one that resonates more than ever.  But in doing so you must work together.

“This Is Your Life”, Switchfoot: I didn’t hear this song until 2009.  I loved it when I first heard it.  “This is your life.  And today is all you got now.  And today is all you’ll ever have.”  We don’t know what will happen in our life.  “This is your life, are you who you want to be?”  Are you doing everything to be the best possible person you can be?  Those were questions I had seven years ago and they are questions I still have.  I think when you stop asking the questions you stop changing and evolving.  Stagnancy is not a good thing.

“Coffey On The Mile”, Thomas Newman: When I lived in Sweden, after a few months I ached for anything American.  In August of 1996, I found the first two parts of Stephen King’s “The Green Mile”.  He put out the book in a serial format, six parts.  I bought the first two.  Within the next month and a half I had read all six parts.  It was one of the most beautiful and haunting stories I ever read.  Far too many have been falsely accused of doing something we haven’t done.  It is a humiliating experience, one that makes you want to lash out.  It is the cause of far too many problems in society.  I’ve been on both ends.  You have to experience it to understand it.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Coffey is explaining to Paul how it all works.  He feels the pain of people and sometimes it is overwhelming to him.  “It’s like pieces of glass in my head, all the time.”  I have felt that way a few times while writing this blog.  People reach out to me, a lot.  Parents, teachers, and others.  Sometimes what I hear is so egregious, such a violation, that it is too much sometimes.  I can’t write about it most of the time.  When I do, it is only with someone’s permission but I may tweak it to get out the message.  That hasn’t happened lately as I haven’t been writing as much, but it does happen.  I know that’s where my passion for this comes from, in being a voice for those who do not.  For my own son and countless other children in this state.  I question all the time, It isn’t ego.  It isn’t fame.  It just is.

“Heaven Sent”, INXS: September of 1992 was a crazy time.  After I finished at Bucks County Community College the spring before, I transferred to Cabrini College in Radnor, PA.  It was the first time I lived away from home and I immediately found myself thrust into a world of very late nights and crazy times.  It was the best of times for that age.  New friends, new experiences, new places.

“Goodbye Stranger”, Supertramp: In the late 70’s/early 80’s, Supertramp was there.  They were never a huge band, but a consistent one.  This one is about packing up the things that tie us to our youth and growing up, at least in my viewpoint.

“Get ‘Em Outta Here”, Sprung Monkey: As I wrote in my last post with this shuffle thing, I moved to California in October of 2000.  The music I heard on 91x was new.  This was a local San Diego band who had moderate success, but this was one of those songs that was a symbol of southern California.  Crazy, unpredictable, yet serene and calm in an odd kind of way.  If you have never lived there, it is hard to understand.

“The Sound of Silence”, Simon and Garfunkel: This is one of those songs that has spread through my life and had multiple meanings at different times.  But I’ll write about the first.  It was 6th grade in 1981.  I was sitting in my family room as the snow gently covered the backyard.  I used to love watching snow fall.  It was quiet and calm.  I learned to appreciate God’s beauty in this world at a very young age.  There have been times in my life when it was all I had.  It is in those times when I find I have to reach for God if I want things to get better.  It is a matter of faith and belief.

“Fortunes”, Metric: In the fall of 2015, I was well into my blog.  For a long time there, I didn’t listen to music as much as I had before Exceptional Delaware.  Metric came out with a new album and this song brought me back to music for a time.

“Lights”, Styx: Wow, I haven’t heard this song in a long time!  One of my faves back in 1979/1980.  “Slow down you’re moving too fast, you seem afraid it won’t last.”  I don’t know why but that lyric always resonated with me.  We are in such a hurry in our lives.  We don’t stop to appreciate what we have.

“Bravado”, Rush: 1991. Fall.  Change.  New faces, new friends.  Beginning to let go of something.  A new job.  New goals.  Beginnings.  Endings.  If you were in my life at that time, you know exactly what I am talking about here.  I made mistakes and I made corrections.  “All the hope and glory, all the sacrifice in vain.  And if love remains, though everything is lost, we will pay the price, but we will not count the cost.”  Change is brave, but if you step in the wrong direction, it is foolish.

“One Heart Beating”, Better Than Ezra: This song came out in September of 2014.  It reminds me of my son going to a new school and his struggles those first few months.  I wanted to shield him from as much as I possibly could but I couldn’t be in all places at once.  It was tough for me, but it was tougher for him.  We all have moments in our lives where we wish we could have stopped certain things.  That entire fall was like that for me.

“Bigmouth Strikes Again”, The Smiths: In July of 1986, I opened up my big mouth at the worst possible time and I paid the price.  I betrayed a confidence that was also about me.  I was mad and angry and it affected my life in a big way for the next three years.  Not in a way that was transparent to many people, but an inside anguish.

“Run Like Hell”, Pink Floyd: Believe it or not, I did not get really into Pink Floyd until 2008.  I felt they were overrated and all that nonsense.  It wasn’t until I really listened to them that I understood.  This song, from “The Wall”, always makes me feel like I have tons of energy.  No matter what mood I’m in, I can feel my adrenaline pumping when I hear it.

“On Top of the World”, Imagine Dragons: The first year of Firefly.  I felt great that day.  I hadn’t been to any concert in many years.  The free-flow of peace and love was all over the place.  At one point, I felt as though I must be stoned.  I didn’t smoke anything at all but it was in the air all over the place.  And if you were in a crowd and wanted to breathe, you were inhaling it.  I guess they call that a contact high.  I took a nap in “Hammock Hideout”.  I remember sitting there, everything moving around me.  If I closed my eyes, my body would spin.  If I opened them, everything else spun.  Eventually I fell asleep for about half an hour.  When I woke up I was just sitting there laughing.  By myself.  It was weird, but fun.  I am not condoning this moment.  It was accidental.

“Remember The Titans (Album Suite)”, Trevor Rabin: In my eyes, nothing speaks about race relations in the south better than this movie.  It wasn’t overt in your face racism, but the everyday kind that permeated through the lives of black and white people.  But how they overcome those feelings of difference between them was the highlight of this movie.  The friendship between the white and black teenagers formed as a result of being a team, not as individuals.  It carried many of them throughout their lives.  I wish we could all do this.  We seem so divided on so much these days.  I can feel the tension building in a way I have never seen before in my life.  I think we all need to Remember The Titans right about now.

“Moving On”, Michael Giacchino: Out of the entire six seasons of “Lost” and the seven scores that came out and the hundreds of masterpieces created by Giacchino, this is by far my favorite.  It was from the last fifteen minutes of the final episode.  The pivotal moment of the whole series, where we finally found out what it was all about.  It wasn’t about the mythology, it wasn’t even about the island.  It was about the people.  It was about life and death and what it means.  It was about saying goodbye to the old world and hello to the next.  I spent six years of my life trying to figure this show out but in the end it was in front of me the whole time.  The key words from a character to another in those final scenes was this: “This is a place that you all made together so you could find one another.  The most important part of your life was the time you spent with these people.  That’s why all of you are here, nobody does it alone Jack.  You needed all of them, and they needed you.” “For what?” “To remember, and to let go.”  “Kate, she said we were leaving.”  “No, not leaving, moving on.”  Flash forward, three years later.  My mom passed away very early in the morning, before the sun even rose.  I woke up soon after as the phone rang.  As the sun began to come up, I went out to get some coffee.  This was the first song I put on in my car.  I knew, even two years before, I would do this.  I planned it far in advance.  I drove to WaWa and got some coffee and drove back to my parent’s house.  At the beginning of their development, there was a pond.  I parked my car and walked to the railing on the side of the road.  I just watched.  Saw the birds flying by.  Saw the spring flowers fully in bloom.  Everything was green and lush.  I felt my mom so strongly at that moment, inside me and all around me.  I have never shared this moment until now.  I knew the tears I would be crying over her loss were not for her, but for me and those who would not be able to move on yet.  She was finally at peace, in a way I couldn’t understand or fathom.  But I hope, when my time comes one day, long from now, that it is like the end of Lost.  Surrounded by the most important people in my life, deciding to be together, and moving on together.


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