Jim, Zoey the Cool Cat, and I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
I currently have 1,565 hours, 48 minutes, and 17 seconds of digital music in my non-classical music collection. I started piano lessons at the age of 2, violin lessons at 6, voice lessons at 10, and music collecting lessons at 11. Actually, though, I’m self-taught with music collecting.
When I left College Station, Texas, in the dead of night on April 15, 1993, I had 5,000+ vinyl albums, 500+ vinyl 45s, and about 400 CDs. I took 100 CDs with me and left everything else behind; I just needed enough music to get me to where I was going on a one-way trip. I never got there, instead winding up in San Diego where I would choose to live and start my music collecting all over. Those 100 CDs gave me a good basic collection to start with since I had a complete collection of Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Black Sabbath.
I actually didn’t start my music collecting again until eight years later, mainly because, although I lived in San Diego, I was a consultant in the wireless telecommunications industry, so I was working in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Tampa, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, Boston, and 17 other cities. I was only home in San Diego two weekends a month for several years.
Fast forward to 2007. I had a room full of CDs, several thousand of them. I had a complete collection of all the #1 singles and #1 albums from 1955 to 2007. Since I was born in 1955 and the rock ‘n’ roll generation started in 1955, it was just something unique for me to do. I finally quit when I couldn’t take all the rap and hip-hop with cussing worse than my grandfather…. still collect music, though, always looking for something to add to my collection that makes me move.
Long-time readers here know that I have a method to everything in my life, and my method here is simply to go line by line through Joel Whitburn’s book “Top Pop Singles,” currently in its 15th edition, subtitled “1955-2015.” Checking out the pop singles sometimes leads me to an album that I like, which sometimes leads me to a new group that I like.
Currently I’m in the B’s. Following are two songs I recently discovered that are now in my collection, and, so far, each artist also now has at least one album in my collection. Might be more as I continue to listen to their albums.
On The Rebound by Russ Ballard (1980)
Peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100
One Way Love Bandit (1979)
Peaked at #77 on the Billboard Hot 100
Perhaps the thing I like best about blogging is getting to know so many people—without having to drive to an airport, park the car, stand in line to go through security, go through security, stand in line to check baggage, stand in line to get on the plane. I dislike standing in lines. Dislike them immensely.—and getting to know what bothers them, what interests them, their families and friends, and even what ails them,
So here’s a story about what ails me and how I found satisfaction from someone who recently followed me. I don’t remember who, sadly, but I’m sure I’ll run into them again.
I was born and raised in Deep South Texas. It’s pretty sunny down there. I always have enjoyed the sun, to the extent that some of my friends call me a Sun Bunny. When people asked me what makes me happy, I used to say, “Keep me south of Interstate 10 and I’m pretty happy.” Interstate 10 runs cross-country from Los Angeles CA to Jacksonville FL. 2,460.34 miles. Lots of sunshine south of Interstate 10.
Since I’m a guy, we’re allowed to summarily run around without shirts, and that was my preferred attire for running around. Now, at the age of 61, I am paying for all that beautiful sunshine. Well, as my wise old grandmother used to say, “You can pay now or you can pay later.” I chose to pay later, and later has come.
I am one great big collection of keratoses, both seborrheic keratosis and actinic keratosis. These things itch. I scratch them. I scratch until I bleed. Sometimes they bleed spontaneously, especially from actinic keratoses on my scalp. Getting a haircut can be bloody, traumatic, and embarrassing, so I don’t get a haircut anymore. I cut my own hair while standing in front of a mirror. Hey, it does save money!
I had been using apple cider vinegar with “The Mother” to control them. It does that, but I’m pretty sure you know that vinegar stinks, which encourages one not to use the stuff.
When I was visiting blogs the other day, a new blog I visited was talking about apple cider vinegar and suggested an alternate. The alternate is Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. I checked at the health store and it’s $21 or so for 16 ounces. I found it at Walmart for $13.88, still three times as expensive as apple cider vinegar. I splurged. I’m pretty much willing to do almost anything to get away from vinegar.
The instructions say that a little goes a long way, and it does. Like Brylcream, a little dab will do ya. It does smell like coconut but it’s not overpowering, probably because it hasn’t been processed to smell like coconut; it’s extra virgin.
It goes on much better than skin lotions like St. Yves. It is not greasy even though it’s an oil. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and silky. No itching, no scratching, no bloodletting. I’m sold
But wait! There’s more!
Zoey the Cool Cat has what the vet termed “dry skin.” At certain times of the year, like right now, she scratches. She will scratch herself bloody, especially around her eyes and ears. She scratches so hard that she will scratch all of her eye and cheek whiskers out if I don’t do something. The vet advised me to give her a bath twice a year, which would be now and in May or so. But let me tell you about the first time I gave her a bath after that vet visit.
My doors and windows are open except when I’m not here. With Zoey the Cool Cat’s first bath, she howled like there was no tomorrow. She likes to scratch, too, as she is howling. It took 20 minutes to give her a bath. About 5 minutes after I had finished and dried her off, the front doorbell rang. Two police officers were at the door. There had been a report of screaming coming from my condo. I couldn’t help but chuckle, which did not please the officers. I explained that I had been giving my cat a bath, why I was giving the cat a bath, and produced a wet Zoey the Cool Cat as Exhibit One. One of the officers chuckled himself, saying kind of under his breath, “Been there. Done that.” Ever since then, if Zoey the Cool Cat is going to get a bath, the doors and windows get closed, the blinds and curtains get drawn, and the music gets played a little louder.
Fast forward several years to yesterday. Zoey the Cool Cat is scratching herself bloody. It’s time for a bath. But wait! I wonder if Extra Virgin Coconut Oil would make her feel as good as I do. What the heck. It’s a natural oil so I thought I would try it on her little eyebrows. I put a little dab on each eyebrow yesterday at 2:00 p.m. and rubbed it in.
Did it work?
Yes! Resoundingly! Zoey the Cool Cat was the most peaceful kitty ever yesterday. She didn’t wash the coconut oil off, and she never scratched yesterday, not once!
So, Zoey the Cool Cat and I are sold on Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, what I call EVCO for short.
If you have any sort of skin condition, or you’re simply tired of those man-made skin lotions full of man-made chemicals, try Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Let us know your results. And if you’re the blogger who blogged about apple cider vinegar and EVCO, well, I owe you a margarita!
As long-time readers know, I have a lot of digital music, split about evenly in two collections, classical music and non-classical music. I listen to an average of 10 hours each and every day. Common questions I get about music include:
My favorite group by far is The Beatles. One might think, then, that my favorite song and favorite album might also be by The Beatles. I’m not sure, but The Beatles do have several songs and albums in my Top 20.
I listen to my non-classical music in chronological order, and each time I start over, I decided to determine my favorite song and my favorite album. By the time I finish the Sixties, I have given up.
I am in 1975 right now, and I think I did determine what is my favorite year. It’s 1971. I have jumped ahead and looked at the upcoming years, but once we get out of the Seventies, the amount of music in each year starts decreasing significantly.
Here is a list of albums in my 1971 collection:
That’s 29 hours, 48 minutes, and 23 seconds of music. Takes me three days to listen to it.
If I did the A/B, A/C, A/D, A/E test, I’m pretty sure Led Zeppelin IV would come out on top for 1971. After that, #2 probably would be between Paranoid – Black Sabbath, Ram – Paul & Linda McCartney, L.A. Woman – Doors, Who’s Next? – The Who, and Killer – Alice Cooper. I can’t decide. See? That’s why I give up.
As far as favorite songs for 1971, do I give it to Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, Imagine by John Lennon, or Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who? What about How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? by the Bee Gees? Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull? Without You by Nilsson? Day After Day by Badfinger? I give up, again.
In light of what happened in the presidential election last Tuesday, perhaps a couple of songs and song titles have a message: Imagine, Stairway to Heaven, and Won’t Get Fooled Again. Here they are:
Imagine by John Lennon
Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who
Tomorrow is voting in the States of America. Not sure I can call them United at this point.
Back around 2001 or so I was sitting in the yard with my wise old grandmother, her youngest two sons and their families, and my not-yet-husband-because-gays-couldn’t-get-married-he’s-now-my-husband, Jim.
We were in Riviera, Texas, about 12 miles south of Kingsville. Kingsville, my home town, is the halfway stopping point between Corpus Christi and Brownsville. It’s also the yay-we-made-it-across-the-border-with-our-cargo stopping point for drugs entering Texas from the south at Brownsville.
As our conversation turned to politics, Rodney, the oldest of the two sons, started condemning everyone who wasn’t white Anglo-Saxon Catholic. He used every curse word in the books as descriptive adjectives modifying every racial and ethnic epithet in the book. It was the last time I ever visited Kingsville or any of my family in Texas, including my wise old grandmother since she died in 2003. The younger son died in 2005 and Rodney died in 2007.
This person who goes by the proper name of Donald Trump (I have other names for him) could be Rodney re-incarnated. That’s why what comes out of Trump’s mouth only surprises me because he is the defacto leader right now of the Republican Party. He has given people like Rodney permission to come out of their yards and into the public, inciting hatred and violence and saying it’s okay. It’s so sad to see this in one of our (so-called) leaders, especially one who wants to be the leader of the free world.
Music is one way that I get through all days but especially the difficult days. Unfortunately, with this election season the difficult days are numerous.
Let’s explore then, some of the music that has been created over the decades about elections and voting. First up is my favorite,
“Vote for me!” by Joe Walsh.
“Elected” by Alice Cooper
“Campaigner” by Neil Young
“Rise Up” by Sheryl Crow
“Point of Light” by Randy Travis
There’s a point when you cannot walk away
There’s a darkness that everyone must face
There are heroes whose names we never hear
When you have to stand up straight and tall and mean the words you say
It wants to take what’s good and fair and lay it all to waste
A dedicated army of quiet volunteers
There’s a point you must decide just to do it ’cause it’s right
And that darkness covers everything in sight
Reaching out to feed the hungry reaching out to save the land
That’s when you become a point of light
Until it meets a single point of light
Reaching out to their fellow men.
All it takes is a point of light a ray of hope in the darkest night.
If you see what’s wrong and you try to make it right you will be a point of light.
There are dreamers who are making dreams come true
Taking time to teach the children there’s nothing they can’t do.
Giving shelter to the homeless giving hope to those without.
Isn’t that what this land’s all about.
One by one form the mountains to the sea points of light
Are calling out to you and me
All it takes is a point of light a ray of hope in the darkest night.
If you see what’s wrong and you try to make it right
You will be a point of light
When I was but a juvenile delinquent of the age of 8 living in Brigham City, Utah, I skipped second grade one day and went with a friend to see Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds.” I already had developed a fascination with birds and couldn’t understand why my mom and (step)dad wouldn’t let me go see the movie. This, of course, was prior to films being rated, so it was up to parents to decide what their children could watch. Even though I still was young, impressionable, and brainwashable, the movie did not dampen my love of birds.
I am fortunate to live in San Diego because of the San Diego Zoo and the Zoo’s Safari Park. I have seen birds that I never would have had the opportunity to see if I relied on seeing them in the wild, birds like flamingos, shoebills, and various species of eagles, owls, condors, and vultures.
Necking flamingos at San Diego Zoo
Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Milky eagle owl at the San Diego Zoo
I also am fortunate to live in a coastal area like San Diego because there are over 500 species of birds that can be seen here on a regular basis, some of those stopping by while migrating on the Pacific Flyway.
Possibly my five favorite birds that can be seen on a daily basis roaming around the outdoors are pelicans, great egrets, snowy egrets, great blue herons, and black-crowned night herons.
Snowy egrets at play at Santee Lakes
Brown pelicans enjoying the view in La Jolla
Great blue heron with morning meal at Mission Bay Park
One-legged black-crowned night heron hanging out at SeaWorld where food is plentiful.
When I first saw that black-crowned night heron I thought it was just standing on one leg, but herons don’t typically do that; they are not flamingos. That’s when I noticed that it really did only have one leg. Sadly, birds with just one foot or one leg are common here in San Diego because of all the fishing. They get a foot or leg tangled up in the fishing line which cuts off the circulation and eventually the bird loses that foot or leg. Here is a brown pelican with a missing foot probably due to fishing line entanglement:
If you’re a fisherperson, please dispose of your fishing line properly. All docks have disposal bins with lids on them so that our precious wildlife can’t get tangled up.
These are a few of my favorite signs (sung to “These are a few of my favorite things”). These are actual signs I have come across on my photographic expeditions throughout San Diego County:
Imagine seeing a 100-ton diesel locomotive coming at you with no engineer.
I would be extremely cautious if I saw someone
crossing the sidewalk instead of walking on the sidewalk!
With such a beautiful sign,
I’m thinking this is not the first time they have had a bee swarm in that area.
Well, at least I wasn’t smoking,
drinking alcohol out of glass bottles, and burning pallets.
Burning pallets? Who does that?
Just doing my civic duty to get people the help they need.
Hey, it didn’t say I couldn’t take pictures!
And THAT’s why they have a fence!
At least we can tweet about it!
Best real estate disclosure ever.
Best. Advice. Ever.
You’re not in the city anymore.
Lest the dog take a bite out of crime.
Does this work for asphalt, too?
Someone is going to be dancing alone.
But my wise old grandmother always told me,