June 2018 Shuffle

There is plenty of stuff I could write about education today.  But I don’t want to.  I’m in one of those “need to purge” moods.  I haven’t done one of these in almost a year.  Right now, I’m sitting in my kitchen typing away.  Aside from the music playing, it is quiet.  As always, these tend to be personal but every once in a while I may sneak in an Easter egg here or there.  This time is no exception.

Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way, U2: The latest U2 single is, in my opinion, the best song on their latest album, “Songs of Experience”.  “The door is open to go through, If I could I would come, too.  But the path is made by you.  As you’re walking start singing and stop talking“.  This song makes me think of my son.  He is too young to realize this yet.  I can’t wait until the day he does.  At this moment, he is a teenager with disabilities.  He is going through a lot.  I look at him and I see love and so much untapped potential.  I’m recognizing that I am at a point where all the love, words, and guidance I can give him aren’t as important as him seeing those same things in himself.  He is growing into a young man who has no limits.  But as most teenagers tend to do, they feel alone.  It makes my heart break.  I will always be there for him but I can’t make him believe in himself.

Runaway, Ramin Djawadi: Imagine a world where you control nothing.  Every decision is made and you have no choice in the matter.  Welcome to Westworld.  The fascinating HBO series is about a theme park where the “hosts” are artificial intelligence that look like humans created by man.  Humans come to the park to live out fantasies.  The hosts are programmed in such a way that they can never harm the human guests.  But what happens when the hosts begin to realize what they are?  I know, it sounds ludicrous.  This could never happen, right?  Don’t be too sure.  Easily one of my favorite series going on now.

You Got Lucky, Tom Petty: 1983.  7th grade.  I remember stealing a few of my Mom’s cigarettes one day and trying them.  I hated them.  Not sure why I think of that memory when I hear this song.  But that isn’t the only one.  After school, I would tell my parents I was staying after for “extra help”.  The reality existed across from my school at The Little Dipper and Pizza Pete’s at the Cross River Shopping Center.  The Little Dipper was an ice cream shop with arcade games.  I remember going there to try to spend time with my #1 crush.  But usually I wasted my money on Asteroids or Pac-Man.  Once in a blue moon I would wander over to Pizza Pete’s for a slice or two.  Sometimes I would even sit at the bar.  Not that I ever got any drinks, but it felt cool.  Petty died last fall and we were all in shock.  This is my favorite Petty song.

Wild West, Lissie: I mentioned in some shuffles last year I would be getting a divorce at some point.  Last September I moved out of the home I’d lived in for 13 years.  In January, my divorce was finalized.  I’m renting a townhouse that is the perfect size for a dad and his son who is here half the time.  In many ways, this is my wild west.  A new beginning in many ways.  “I’ve been living my life on the edge, slip and fall if I take one more step.  There’s safety in numbers I guess, but I’m going rogue in the wild, wild west.”  I remember driving down to Dewey Beach as the sun was setting last September.  Beautiful drive.  I played this song a few times on the way down, thinking of hope and promise for a better future.  “I’ve been dancing in the moonlight, I’ve been laughing with this firelight, living, I’ve been giving, I’ve been living with the firelight, I’ll be fine, fine, I’ll be fine, fine…”

Rise Up, Imagine Dragons: When you emerge from the darkness and begin to see the light, it can be just as important as the plunge.  I have always been intrigued by characters in literature who fell to the depths and began to rise up again.  If you let it, it can be a metamorphosis like no other.  Many of us will hit these moments in our lives, when we don’t think anything will ever be good again.  It won’t until you let it.

Dig, Incubus: This is one of my classic songs that always puts me in an introspective mood.  “We all have someone that digs at us.”  I have a few of these people in my life.  Those who aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m wrong.  I appreciate them very much.  To me, that is a mark of a true friend.  Someone who will tell you when you are being a horse’s ass and when you are doing the right thing.

Quarter Past Midnight, Bastille: Dan Smith has one of the most distinctive voices ever.  He retains enough of his British accent.  Many British singers lose their accent when they sing.  The band released this single recently and it is catchy.

Subplots, Jack Johnson: Nothing calms my nerves more than a little Jack Johnson.  Ever since I first heard him back in 2001 I’ve been a big fan.  I picture myself sitting on some tropical island with palm trees, a gentle breeze blowing, waves crashing on the shore, and the sun warming me.  Maybe I have a Margarita in one hand, depends on the mood I’m in.

All That Money Wants, Psychedelic Furs: You think you are so slick.  But you don’t care about people.  You care about the games.  How much you can get away with.  I know all about your plan to build your DAF empire.  You aren’t as coy as you seem to think.  People are absolutely disgusted by you.  They see you as the liar you are.  I sincerely hope your games blow up in your face.  It is just a matter of time.

Another One Bites The Dust, Queen: This 37 year old song wandered back on my playlist after the trailer for “Bohemian Rhapsody” came out last month.  This brings me back to the wonder days of 5th grade.  They weren’t exactly wondrous but anything before May 1981 I consider to be part of the “golden age” of my youth.  The portion of the song between the 1:59 to 2:16 minutes is still blast worthy when I hear it.  For kids growing up now it probably seems like this is amateur hour in music but in 1980 this was pioneering work!

The Man, The Killers: You can have it all and still have nothing.  If you are so caught up in the material trappings of this world you will never be satisfied.  As I sit here listening to music on my laptop in the comfort of my home drinking a glass of Cranraspberry juice.  In any event, this is an awesome driving song.

Tehran 1979, Debbie Harry and Shirley Manson: This song that sounds like a late 1970s disco tune is actually from the “American Gods” soundtrack.  I still remember very vividly when the 52 American Embassy workers were taken hostage in Iran.  For 444 days we waited for some news, any news.  It didn’t come until after Ronald Reagan’s Inaguration in January, 1981.  We celebrated as they were flown to Germany on that day.  We were upset when the April, 1980 rescue attempt failed.  It brought down a President.

Latchkey Kids, Family of the Year: From their latest album, I love this song!  I can’t recall what this song reminds me of.  You ever hear those songs that remind you of older songs?  This is one of them.  But I can’t stop listening to this song.  It will be on my playlist all summer long!

Dreams, Beck: Leave it to Beck to come out with his best album more than two decades after he began.  “Dreams” is one of those songs that sounds like the awesome 80s music I grew up with!  But then it segues into some trippy 90s guitar solos.  If you have ever been a Beck fan, you must check this out!

Celebrate, Dirty Heads featuring The Unlikely Candidates: Another one of my list for the summer playlist.  Not a lot of the “ska” bands get a lot of playtime these days.  Sublime mastered the genre back in the 1990s.  Dirty Heads have been cranking out great stuff since 2010.  Probably before then but that was when I got into them.  It even has some rap inserted into this song thanks to The Unlikely Candidates.  I’ve never seen Dirty Heads in concert but I can imagine lighters waving in the air when they play this masterpiece!

All Out Of Love, Air Supply: Leave it to the Deadpool 2 trailer to catapult this song back onto my playlist shuffle!  I loved this song when it came out back in 1980 (that year again)!  But the best part is when my son says “Dad, put on that Deadpool 2 song.”  I will sing it and we both laugh.  To him, I’m doing the Deadpool 2 thing and it’s funny.  To me, I’m a 10 year old boy playing the song on my tape recorder because I recorded it from American Top 40 one Sunday night.  It’s all a matter of perspective!

Broken, lovelytheband: We are all broken in some way.  I prefer dealing with broken people.  People who aren’t afraid to display their flaws and fears.  If you put on an air that you have nothing wrong with you I can see right through it.  No one is perfect so don’t even pretend you are.  Be real.  Show your true self.  Dealing with folks in education, they often have to put on their “public face”.  I’m not impressed with that.

Unchained Melody, Van Morrison: Nothing soothes my soul like a little Van Morrison!  The guy has come out with a gazillion albums in his very long career.  This track, from an album called “Versatile” he came out with last year, has the Irish crooner delivering an incredible version of this song.  I can almost picture him playing this song on the piano in a bar at 10pm with his band in the background.  The lights are shining on him as he sings the lyrics.  I’m sitting there, mesmerized, as he sings the song I’ve loved ever since “Ghost” came out in 1990.

Just When I Needed You Most, Randy VanWermer: This one-hit wonder from 1979 has special meaning for me.  It was August of 1979.  My grandparents invited me up to their house in Mattapoisett, Mass.  My dad had some business in the area so he drove me up there.  We were driving on Route 81 in Southwest Virginia.  I lived in Roanoke, VA at the time.  These kind of ballads were typical for those days.  But it was the first time my dad and I went on a road trip like that.  I was glad to have the time with him.  As the youngest of four boys, I was always vying for attention.  But I didn’t need to during this journey.  It was just the two of us.  I love you Dad!

The Green Mile, Randy Newman: Last weekend I watched “The Green Mile” again.  Based on the 1996 book, it is definitely in my top five of all time books.  When I found out Tom Hanks was playing the role of Paul Edgecomb for the 1999 movie I knew it would be a classic.  The guy who played John Coffey was an enigma to me.  When I read the book, the face I imagined for John Coffey was very similar to the actor who played him, Michael Clarke Duncan.  When he delivered the key part of the story, I remember crying when I first saw it.  And I did so again last weekend.  “I’m tired, boss. Tired of bein’ on the road, lonely as a sparrow in the rain. I’m tired of never having me a buddy to be with, to tell me where we’s going to or coming from, or why. Mostly, I’m tired of people being ugly to each other. I’m tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There’s too much of it – it’s like pieces of glass in my head, all the time. Can you understand?”  I understand John.  I think a lot of us feel that way these days.  We are a divided country in so many ways.  I feel like John Coffey at times.  I see and hear things that continue to baffle me.  How we can be so damn cruel to each other.  For what?

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