Politics as it touches your life…
I have recently been reading posts about cures for cancer. I’m not certain there is any validity to the claims but people are saying there are cures out there that never see the light of day because “there is no money in it”. Nay-sayers tell us we are “paranoid schizophrenics” and that “all is well” and “that could never happen”. I say, “follow the money”. It is not because of their great desire to help the cause that Large Pharma is one of the larger donors to “The American (and Canadian) Cancer Society”… and that, because of this status, they get to have people on the Board of Directors. Are there no Ombudsmen of Charitable Organizations that can look into the OPERATIONS of these Organizations and tell the public EXACTLY what’s going on? I was also recently told about how Hemp Oil virtually INSTANTLY cures Skin Cancer. I haven’t SEEN it work.. but we don’t even hear the FDA or any other reputable health organization TEST these claims in proper “Double Blind Tests” or put out a “Statement” to put such issues to rest. I am just skeptical enough to believe these cures exist and that big business does NOT want us to know about them… and would put up HUGE protests if the FDA even CONSIDERED testing these claims… much like their fight to overturn GMO labeling laws in every state that is considering putting that into effect is GOING ON RIGHT NOW.
I’d love for everyone to watch “Who Killed the Electric Car”. It’s movie about the early 80’s Oldsmobile Electric Car that GM built and then suddenly recalled the ENTIRE fleet, shredding every last one of them (There is one hollow carcass left in the GM museum). THAT, after California saw their efficiency and almost maintenance free operation and passed a law REQUIRING a certain percentage of all cars sold in California to be electrically powered from that time forward. GM had already put up Fast-Charge stations throughout the state and destroyed them all. SOMEONE somehow convinced California to reverse their Electric Car Law as well. It’s an extremely provocative movie… and it’s all true. They leave you to make your own conclusions. Apparently British Petroleum tried to buy a substantial interest in Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors recently… and THIS TIME it only resulted in him releasing ALL HIS PATENTS relating to his electric Car Development… his way to ensure the electric car will survive and actually take over and dominate world Auto production in years to come. I am so happy this man is walking the face of this earth. I would NOT be one to bet against Mr Musk or one to invest in Oil Stocks because this time we have someone who does what he does because “it’s the right thing to do” and not really that concerned about the money in it. He has made and lost several fortunes in his short lifetime… and I am one of his biggest cheerleaders. I hope he is rewarded handsomely for his clear headed view of what mankind needs to sustain our lives on this planet… and beyond. THAT is the way the system should work… reward those who improve man’s sustainability WHILE improving our standard of living at the same time. He should be one of the heros of our day. I only hope he stays healthy and well and eventually turns his attention to our health care as well. I have also heard that his association with Mr Bill Gates is resulting in some VERY interesting discussions far beyond the programming and manufacturing of his electric cars. It’s going to be interesting to watch the world change over the next ten years with people like him in our midst. Rock on Elon Musk…. Rock On!!
My Lesson in Song writing…
Voltaire is often quoted as having said it, but he never did.
Beaumarchais was working on the second scene in the first act of The Barber of Seville, when it hit him, “Aujourd’hui ce qui ne vaut pas la peine d’être dit, on le chante.”
“Anything too stupid to be spoken is sung.” Aaarghhh!
Life is made UP of songs… they make up “The Sound Track of Our Lives” however stupid, or perhaps poignant, or even SMART! In song writing we never really have to say it all. We don’t have to tell the whole story. The best songs leave some of the writing up to the listener… the interpretation and the extrapolation.
Isn’t it funny how the mind makes assumptions based on fragments of information? Your mind fills in the empty spaces. But what if there were no empty spaces? What if the mental bandwidth of your attention was filled with other information? Fill some of that vacancy with music and you’ve got a song.
Crowd the remaining emptiness with images and actions and you’ve got a movie. Make it participatory and you’ve got a video game, but now we’re on an entirely different lesson…
Getting back on track: song lyrics don’t have to make sense because words that are wrapped in music aren’t held to the same level of scrutiny as words that must stand on their own.
“Every language is made of obstruent and sonorant phonemes with the vowels of the language supplying the musical tones. The letters of the alphabet are not phonemes. The sounds represented by those letters – and certain combinations of letters such as sh, th, ch, ng, – the sounds are the phonemes.” (I’m not making this stuff up. It is a studied and known science. I can dig up explanations if you like…)
“Humans are uniquely gifted to attach complex meanings to sound. Some of these sound-messages are the combinations of phonemes we call words, but a complex sound-message without phonemes is called music. Mix phonemes with music and you’ve got a song.”
Words wrapped in music are no longer strictly words, but components of a complexly woven auditory tapestry with additional messages embedded in the pitch, key, tempo, rhythm, interval and contour of the tune. Song lyrics cannot be easily evaluated until they’ve been separated from the music that has swallowed them.
When the music feels happy, we usually think of the song as being happy, even when the lyrics are tragic. When the music is sad, we feel the song is sad even when the lyrics are joyful. When the music is triumphant, we feel the song is triumphant even though its lyrics may describe rejection and defeat.
On September 12, 2001, the day after 9-11, the most-played song in America was Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. This is a fact. Radio stations across America wanted to lift the mood, remind us of our heritage and defy Osama Bin Laden, so they filled the sky with our favorite anthem to American exceptionalism:
“Born down in a dead man’s town,
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.
You end up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up.
Born in the U.S.A., I was born in the U.S.A….”
Those lyrics get increasingly sad, describing rejection and defeat without redemption, as a returning Viet Nam vet can’t find a job even though he turns to the Veteran’s Administration for assistance. In the end, he winds up working without hope in the shadow of a penitentiary and he blames it all on the fact that he was born in the U.S.A. The End.
Yet we shout the chorus to Born in the USA at the top of our lungs because the triumphant arc of the music and the defiant tone of Springsteen’s voice feel profoundly patriotic and proud, lyrics be damned.
“Music is a language of emotion so powerful that it is capable of contradicting the very words it carries. Control the music and you control the mood of the room. But choose the music for its feel, never for its lyrics.” Stevie Nicks’ music is no different. She manages to evoke a rainbow of feelings we are certain have to do with the clarity of her words. The message to us is clear… but more than likely, it’s the musical arrangement as much as anything.
“Sound is a stunning phenomenon.
Learn how to use it, then choose whom you would like to stun.” …R H Williams
So here’s where I’d like little help. I’m tempted to give you a lot of back ground and what it is I’m trying to say… the entire context of the song…. but I won’t! Nope! You’ll need to come up with your OWN ideas on what this song is all about. It’s better that way. Here are the lines of my song… Only rule is that you have to match the meter…
He’s all Thrift Stores and Junk Food
with reckless abandon,
m’ Heart aches for his touch,
You can’t imagine.
Love’s just a substitute
for mystery and passion…
…and the rest is up to you. Write me back with your ideas. You can do it. I hope by now I have you thinking that it’s not rocket science as much as coming up with the arrangement is. We’ll worry about that with the band. You can tell me what YOUR thoughts on the context of the song is if you like…that’s cool too! Have fun out there. JCM
If our Healthcare System is so great, why this…
March 27, 2012. Today my energy and emotional fortitude is all but drained from my body. My initiative for things creative is in the gutter. My brother’s condition is sapping me of anything I might give to those around me. He’s fallen gravely ill and I’m doing my best to make a quick trip out to Florida to see him while he is yet conscious. The health care system seems to be failing him so very badly. It is explained to me that the tumor on his pancreas is preventing him from making digestive enzymes needed to turn food into energy and he is wasting away. He barely has the energy to walk anymore and I’m afraid he will starve if there is no intervention. They never keep him in the hospital when he’s there for tests and yet he is on death’s door. I’m not medically trained but anyone I talk to says he should be fed intravenously if he cannot absorb nutrition the usual way. He’s been told to get stronger and gain weight to be in shape to survive an operation… but shouldn’t they be helping that to happen?? I feel so hopeless in all of this… …and being in Canada now, for all the talk in the US about how “the Canadian Free Public Healthcare System is so inferior”, I know for a FACT Phillip would be checked into a hospital and everything that could be done for him WOULD be. NOBODY, not even a homeless person gets left to die on the street…
New addition to my original post. April 26, 2012. I’m grieving the loss of my dear brother Phillip. As my sister Dina wrote, “Our hearts are broken into pieces. Our dear brother, son, father, soul mate, uncle and friend, Phillip Myers, passed away this morning at 3:30 a.m. There was no kinder, compassionate, beautiful and talented man. He would help anyone in need, no matter how difficult the task. I had the privilege of holding his hand during his last few hours. Phil, we will miss you more than you will ever know but you will live in our hearts forever. It pains me to have to let his friends know the sad news and I know it is probably a shock to many of you. Phillip was a very private person and didn’t want to burden people with his illness but I know you would all want to know.” He will be greatly missed indeed.
I feel like the healthcare system failed him somehow. I’m not a medical professional so my opinions may not be count. I just know that in the town I call home, there’s a man going about his business who hasn’t had a working pancreas for years by now. He has to wear a “back-pack” with special “food” in it that is somehow automatically fed into his digestive system through a special port on his side. He functions well and appears totally “normal” in every other way. Apparently this is the only method by which you can survive without the digestive enezimes normally made by your pancreas. Phillip basically died of starvation. A pretty horrible way to go. He was unable to eat anything due to the digestive problems created by his pancreas not working. I’d like to learn more about this problem and would love to see other people going through this better helped. My heart is so very broken right now….
An Experience to Remember…
Okay, debriefing from the Dallas Symphony show has taken me a little longer than I’d hoped. It was an experience of a life time, to be sure! Wow… I just loved the power of the Horn Section during the cries in Rhiannon. A totally different dynamic to a performance like that than even a band that’s really cranked up. Interestingly, the volume is actually somewhat lower on stage but the intensity of the huge number of instruments all SEEM to add up to something bigger than life! I just loved it!!
I’ve been sitting in my Hot Tub here at home a couple of times reflecting on things and I have to say I did find the the demographics at the shows to be a little puzzling. There were some younger people there… as young as 10 years old, but not that many. You WOULD expect there to be a larger proportion of elderly people as they are the major demographic holding season’s tickets…AND, I DO know symphonies book a Rock show like this to help diversify their audience base, and yet, I don’t think they advertised the show to anyone but their seasons ticket holders. Even though the shows were very well attended, it sort of seemed to defeat their desired out come, I should think. Not my problem I suppose… but none the less, puzzling.
There would be a few things I’d do differently, if I ever had an opportunity to do this again. I’d like to address the symphony as a group to jump start a bit of a relationship with them, right up front. Just to get everyone on the same footing. In a group that size, sometimes the feature artist is looked on with a bit of disdain as you are seen to be there to usurp their moment in the spot light. This is very counter-productive to getting a good show together in short order. I’m no diva and I need to be sure it doesn’t take me all weekend to let these people know I am soooo unbelievably honored to be performing with THEM…. with an emphasis on “with” and “them”. In the end, it was all good. The audience was never the question. They loved the show and were very appreciative… For me, it will be a memory to last a life time.
An Experience to Remember…
Okay, debriefing from the Dallas Symphony show has taken me a little longer than I’d hoped. It was an experience of a life time, to be sure! Wow… I just loved the power of the Horn Section during the cries in Rhiannon. A totally different dynamic to a performance like that then even a band that’s really cranked up. Interestingly, the volume is actually somewhat lower on stage but the intensity of the huge number of instruments all SEEM to add up to something bigger than life! I just loved it!!
I’ve been sitting in my Hot Tub here at home a couple of times reflecting on things and I have to say I did find the demographics at the shows to be a little puzzling. There were some younger people there… as young as 10 years old, but not that many. You WOULD expect there to be a larger proportion of elderly people as they are the major demographic holding season’s tickets. I know symphonies book a Rock show like this to help diversify their audience base but I don’t think they advertised the show to anyone but their seasons ticket holders. Even though the shows were very well attended, it sort of seemed to defeat their desired out come I should think. Not my problem I suppose… but none the less, puzzling.
There would be a few things I’d do differently, if I ever had an opportunity to do this again. I’d like to address the symphony as a group to jump start a bit of a relationship with them right up front. Just to get everyone on the same footing. In a group that size, sometimes the feature artist is looked on with a bit of disdain as you are seen to be there to usurp their moment in the spot light. This is very counter-productive to getting a good show together in short order. I’m no diva and I need to be sure it doesn’t take me all weekend to let these people know I am soooo unbelievably honored to be performing with THEM…. with an emphasis on “with” and “them”. In the end, it was all good. The audience was never the question. They loved the show and were very appreciative… For me, it will be a memory to last a life time.
An observation on the human condition..
I should be really excited today but I’ve got to start packing and I seem to be putting it off. I’ve had a little trouble getting used to my “in-ear monitors” at rehearsal lately as I don’t use them regularly and this adds a bit of frustration to learning slightly new “symphony accompanied” versions of the songs I already know so well. I shouldn’t let it get to me but I don’t use them regularly enough and that’s the problem. If you are too lazy to use them during rehearsal then you likely won’t use them during performance it seems. The upcoming show is at the Morton H Myerson Symphony Center in Dallas and I really AM looking forward to it. It may be the biggest audience to date… at least for my Stevie Nicks Tribute. I’m leaving for rehearsal in Vegas Saturday morning… two days from now… and I still have a few Costume modifications to attend to as well! I should be so very motivated! Seems like I go through some kind of swings in my levels of motivation… and many times, the better things are for me the less motivated I am. Any of you have trouble with that? The human condition seems to be such that whenever we are giving something without having to work for it, we don’t value it much. There are groups in our society where governments give out assistance to people and it never seems to give these people a leg up. They remain in their squalor and we think, “man, if I could get that type of assistance I’d do this and that with it… WOW!”. I am recently married and my new husband has found that at his business if he buys new equipment for his employees his success in keeping this new equipment in good condition doing the job it was intended for is a lot less successful than if he buys a well used piece of equipment and then gets his maintenance crew to dig in and refurbish it from top to bottom and repaint it and everything, often spending almost as much money as just buying it new in the first place. The reason is that now he has 4-6 maintenance men, who are proud of what they’ve built, helping to teach the operators how to use it correctly and chastising operators who scratch the new paint etc. It’s a little disheartening to think how natural it is to be ungrateful. I am always thinking about this part of me and I know I am not exempt… so with that bit of self examination, I’m off to go pack and work on my costume changes….
Running a blog has not been one of the things high on my Bucket List but who knows, this may be fun. My managers and agents seem to think it necessary to give people access… and I’m like “FaceBook, ReverbNation, Twitter, and eMails aren’t enough??”. I DO like a good conversation… and I know FaceBook and Twitter aren’t really great in that sense. FaceBook always seems to entice you to just flit from one thing to another with all the zillion posts that come in every day. I’d love to be able to endorse everyone’s posts and let them know I care… but honestly, I can’t even take the time to press the “like” button on a lot of them as it just takes so much time. Time Vampire, is what I’ve heard. Hmmm.. I’m hoping this will be different.
Somewhere on this thing, I think I might tell a little of my life story. Everyone has a story, and I, for one, won’t ever be very likely to write a book… so this may be the place. I’ve done some interesting and crazy things…. not all of which I’m proud of. I like who I am today… and I often wonder, “am supposed to be thankful for some of the dumber or rotten things I’ve encountered?”…. because it is doubtless they helped shape my person in some way or another.