Monday, March 26, 2012

Home From L.A.

I've got to tell you, when I opened the letter with the words Occidental College written upon it, I was a little concerned. After all these years, had they finally traced those days of indiscretion and acts of vandalism (we called it art!) to me? I opened the letter and found inside an invitation to attend an unveiling ceremony (from my old friend and veteran professor of art history and the visual arts, Linda Lyke), "Destructive Beauty," at South Pasadena's LouWe Gallery. The mural, is composed of 26 one-foot-square glazed ceramic tiles and features, among other things, old photos and excerpts of poems, letters, and musical scores by Occidental alumni and faculty past and present. Anyway, to make a long story short* I went, I saw, I had the time of my life and was regaled by many at the event as "One of those crazy hippies over at the old Quonset hut, back in the '70's!"
*the rest of the story will be the subject of this coming year's Christmas letter.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Snows of Kilimanjaro

You kept from thinking and it was all marvelous. You were equipped with good insides so that you did not go to pieces that way, the way most of them had, and you made an attitude that you cared nothing for the work you used to do, now that you could no longer do it. But, in yourself, you said that you would write about these people; about the very rich; that you were really not of them but a spy in their country; that you would leave it and write of it and for once it would be written by some one who knew what he was writing of. But he would never do it, because each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did no work at all. The people he knew now were all much more comfortable when he did not work. Africa was where he had been happiest in the good time of his life, so he had come out here to start again. They had made this safari with the minimum of comfort. There was no hardship; but there was no luxury and he had thought that he could get back into training that way. That in some way he could work the fat off his soul the way a fighter went into the mountains to work and train in order to burn it out of his body.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Of Goose And Man

"Where in the world is Carmen?" Sandy Diego asked, as she slowly crept inch by inch closer to the edge of the cliff, threatening to undo all of her father's hard work. Oh I was born under a wanderers scarf, it is true, but lately, the way things been going, they're gonna crown o' thorn me anyway, so what else can a poor boy do, but to sing in a rock and roll band. When you were young and your heat was a drunken crook, you used to say live and let fry, you know you did, you know you did, you, no you DID NOT! And I'll be the first to hang my asre out there on the line fer ye Pops! Does anyone know where the love of God goes, when the gales of November come early?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Looking Out My Backyard

Joel has no control over when the movies start, because—as the original theme song stated -- "he used those special parts to make his robot friends." (Those "robot friends" being Cambot, Gypsy, Crow, and Tom Servo. The opening theme-song lyrics were changed repeatedly in later seasons to accommodate plot changes, like when Mike Nelson replaced Joel Robinson.) He must enter the theater when "Movie Sign" flashes, because Dr. Clayton Forrester (and in later seasons, his evil would-be tyrant mother Pearl) has numerous ways to punish Joel/Mike for non-compliance, including shutting off the oxygen supply to the rest of the ship, and electric shocks. As the movies play, the silhouettes of Joel/Mike, Tom, and Crow are visible at the bottom of the screen, wisecracking and mocking the movie (a practice they often referred to as "riffing") in order to prevent themselves from being driven mad.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Long And Winding Road

McCartney originally wrote the song at his farm in Scotland, and was inspired by the growing tension among the Beatles. McCartney said later "I just sat down at my piano in Scotland, started playing and came up with that song, imagining it was going to be done by someone like Ray Charles. I have always found inspiration in the calm beauty of Scotland and again it proved the place where I found inspiration."
McCartney recorded a demo version of the song, with Beatles' engineer Alan Brown assisting, in September 1968, during the recording sessions for The Beatles.
The song takes the form of a piano-based ballad, with conventional chord changes. The song's home key is E-flat major but it also uses C minor. Lyrically, it is a sad and melancholic song, with an evocation of an as-yet unrequited, though apparently inevitable, love.
The "long and winding road" of the song was claimed to have been inspired by the B842, a thirty-one mile (50 km) winding road in Scotland, running along the east coast of Kintyre into Campbeltown, and part of the eighty-two mile (133 km) drive from Lochgilphead. In an interview in 1994, McCartney described the lyric more obliquely "It's rather a sad song. I like writing sad songs, it's a good bag to get into because you can actually acknowledge some deeper feelings of your own and put them in it. It's a good vehicle, it saves having to go to a psychiatrist."
The opening theme is repeated throughout, the song lacks a traditional chorus, and the melody and lyrics are ambiguous about the opening stanza's position in the song; it is unclear whether the song has just begun, is in the verse, or is in the bridge.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

8 Days To Williams

"The Ultimate Route" would be to come up Hwy 101 all the way to Longvale and take 162 over to Covelo, to County Road 306, which is N.W. of Willows. But that's Banjo-land out there, if you catch my drift! No, better to come over Hwy 20 where you can catch Leesville Road North, to Lodoga Stonyford Road, North to County Road 306, to Elk Creek, Chrome (population 8!) to Newville (Black Butte Res. to I-5 option) or, continue N.W. on Newville Rd./County Road 58 to Paskenta (now we're in my boyhood stompin' grounds!) Options to then head East to I-5 or continue North on Lowery Road, to Red Bank Road, Ridge Road, to Hesse Rd. Johnson Road at which point you will probably want to head East to Reeds Creek and in to Red Bluff, although I know a good way to connect over to Hwy 36, and from there you would head West out to Platina and from there take A16 all the way in to Redding. But I digress! North out of Red Bluff is the lovely Jellys Ferry Road which will bring you to Gover Rd. etc. etc. !!! P.S. One could also take Old 99, North out of Williams, to Willows where one could jump on to Hwy 162 N.W. and head out in to da hinterlands and the afore mentioned bird's nest of rural moonscapes!
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