For What It’s Worth

Though posting has been a little irregular here, I haven't just been playing my new computer game. In fact, I might have been reading and thinking even more than normal, thanks, in part, to a long period of rain.

Mostly, though, it's due to recent changes in our country's political tone. Though I've learned to tune most of the political rhetoric out since my first outrage after Bush's attack on Iraq, Tea Partyers and Obama's increasing turn to the right, apparently in an attempt to gain the middle ground has left me steaming more than usual.

My mood wasn't improved when I attended a "Town Hall Meeting" with our local representatives, all liberals. Basically, the meeting was an attempt to decide what services to cut because State tax collections have fallen radically in our state and, due to a recent initiative, it's impossible to raise taxes or fees without 60% approval, nearly impossible to achieve at the moment.

Although the accompanying video isn't particularly relevant at the moment, unless you, like I, consider the money fighting these endless wars immoral, this could well be the theme song of this generation:

Dion Tends to Wander

I’ve long ranted against advertising’s influence on society. In fact, one of my favorite sections in a Mass Media class I taught in high school many years ago was a section on advertising that was inspired by Neil Postman’s The Art of Crap Detection as advocated in his book Teaching as a Subversive Activity. We took commercials and looked at them critically, and once you did so their fallacy immediately became obvious, even to students who had absolutely no interest in being inspired by literature.

Though advertising is relatively easy to see through, I suspect that forms of media that reinforce societal stereotypes are harder to see through. As part of my nostalgia kick inspired by my 50 year high school reunion I bought some of my favorite songs from that era.

Dion was a favorite, particularly,




perhaps because it was my senior year in high school and I was in the process of breaking up with my girlfriend, though not because she was running around with someone else, as far as I knew, at least. The widespread use of this theme in the Blues and Country Western Music suggests that broken hearts are not that uncommon among menfolk. And obviously women must be to blame for that.

Strangely, though, I also bought Dion’s followup hit:


and it wasn’t until recently that I realized the irony in that. Strange that someone who’s so upset with a girl who “runs around with other guys” should take such pride in being the “wanderer.” Not sure how the Wanderer who spouts, “I kiss’em and I love’em ’cause to me they’re all the same” is any different than Runaround Sue.

Even less sure of why I didn’t see this in 1961.

I Take My Chances

I’ve been reading Madeline Defrees’ Spectral Waves since finishing Linda Bierds’ book, but the truth is that this poor old brain is no longer up to non-stop reading of poetry, perhaps a good thing because it’s probably a mistake to rush through a book of poetry — if it’s worth reading, it’s worth savoring.

My days in the summer are blissfully fragmented, split up between long walks with Skye, hours working in the garden and shop, hours browsing the web and playing Scrabble on Facebook, and listening to music.

More often than not I’ll play New Age music at low volume while playing Big Bang Brain Games like “Reaction” or “Sudoku,” but it’s not unusual to get side-tracked with something a little more lively. Lately, Mike has gotten me hooked on John Prine and I’ve played John Prine Live over 20 times since buying it about a month ago.

It’s not unusual, though, to end up listening to iTunes “My Top Rated” and rediscover songs I love. I’m always a little surprised when I come back to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s album Come On Come On because it sounds way too country for my taste, but the lyrics often strike a sympathetic chord and the beat is infectious.

Here’s a favorite with a nice set of images accompanying the music:

I got to tell you, uTube has got be the coolest thing Google ever bought.