Category Archives: Music

Music For “Breaking Strain Redeux”

Last night I waxed poetic about a favorite Kipling poem.

I realized after I posted that I’ve never pointed out that it’s been done very well as a song as well, by the legendary Leslie Fish.

And having implored you to “stand up and build anew,” how could I not also pass on this treasure from Stan Rogers?

Because the second most important lesson to be learned is that it’s not just one time that we have to get up, pull ourselves together, put our failures and defeats behind us, and try again.

While we can hope it’s not EVERY day, in times like these it might be a whole lot of days.

Do it anyway, if for no other reason than to piss off those evil bastards.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deep Thoughts, Music


A couple of possibly-not-so-disparate thoughts merge:

First, I’ve mentioned many times the healing ability of the right music at the right time. When it’s been yet another shit day in a long string of shit days and there’s no realistic possibility of an escape to a pillow fort, there’s a lot to be said for the right music to take you out of the doldrums, exhaustion, and self-loathing.

But how do you find the “right” music when you’re so down in the dumps that even your “favorites” playlist just sounds like the same garbage that you always listen to and that’s not going to cut it?

Secondly, I’ve mentioned before the scene in “The Princess Bride” when Inigo Montoya prays to his dead father for guidance after the trail has gone cold in his search for the six-fingered man. Inigo closes his eyes, raises his sword, and staggers around like he’s dousing for water, only to impale the sword in a tree. As he collapses in defeat he hits the hidden switch on the tree that opens the secret door that leads to the stairway that goes down to the dungeon which leads him…

Sometimes you just have to have some faith. It may be the subconscious, it might be fate, it might be a freakin’ guardian angel for all I care.

(On a tangential side note, it suddenly occurs to me that if I’ve actually, really, honest to god **GOT** a guardian angel [for the record, I’m a card carrying atheist for the past 50+ years, or a “recovering Catholic” if you will after doing the whole Catholic school, altar boy thing] he/she must really be getting a workout. I might almost feel sorry for them – if they existed. Which they don’t. So I don’t.)

Anyway… (Sorry, I’m in the final stages of fighting a cold for the past five or six days and between that and the office and the hangar and *LIFE* I’m sort of scattered.)

Music. We were talking about music. And faith.

I went on a search through my monstrously huge digital music collection. I might have prayed to Inigo Montoya.

And I landed on two albums from 1972 by Yes – “Close to the Edge” and “Fragile.”


And apparently somewhere along the line I got a CD of “Close to the Edge” that has extra tracks – which I don’t remember ever actually listening to. There’s a version of Paul Simon’s “America” in there which is just amazing. That’s a favorite song to begin with, but this version is so different and yet still has the soul of the favorite. (Wikipedia tells me that it was released as a single by Yes – why didn’t anyone tell me??!!)

“Close to the Edge”

“Siberian Khatru”


“South Side of the Sky”

Oh, my god, “Heart of the Sunrise!!!!!”

All those things that had me pissed off and down? *NONE* of them went away. There all still there. I’ve been working on a few of them all night. They’re not all going to get resolved tonight, this week, this month, or this year. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

You know that bumper-sticker wisdom about how you can’t change things but you can change the way you react to them?

Yeah, this is that.


Filed under Music, Paul


Tonight we returned to the room where it happened – to see a different play.

The Pantages Theater in Los Angeles was, as always, spectacular.

It’s a 1920’s design so the bathrooms sort of suck, but you learn to live with that.

Can you say, “Ro – co – co?”

Sure. I knew you could.

The play, “Waitress,” had a cast with great voices, some great staging and choreography, and one part in particular that was way, Way, WAYYY over the top and hilarious.

Hollywood Boulevard on a Sunday afternoon with all of the tourists and buskers and hustlers and people in costume – it’s our little version of Times Square. Complete with that certain smell (stale urine) which out here is cut with that other (now legal) certain smell (pot).

I love LA!

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment, Los Angeles, Music, Photography

That Feeling When – May 19th

That feeling when all you want to do is get some sleep, a lot of sleep, get caught up on sleep without being woken up by stress dreams or fever dreams or a full bladder or leg cramps (most of all by leg cramps!) and when you wake up you want it to all be better so that tomorrow (as being defined as “what happens when I wake up”) is missing all of the really shitty things from today but keeps all of the really good ones.

Not sure you can get there from here.

The only way out is through. Sleep deprived or not.

Leave a comment

Filed under Deep Thoughts, Music, Paul

News, Via Paul Simon

It appears that we will not be:

Instead, we’ll be sort of:

It’s good news on the home front.

While the rest of the world might be starting to burn. As I thought it might.

Perhaps tomorrow will be more even keeled.

Leave a comment

Filed under Castle Willett, Music

That Feeling When – May 07th

That feeling when it seems you’ve been beaten heavily about the head and shoulders for weeks and except for being in ICU or prison or the morgue it’s not clear what else can go wrong or add more stress and you’re about to give in and go with “barely good enough” because it’s all that’s available and even that’s iffy but it’s all you’ve got left and “Plan D” is a HUGE freakin’ leap that’s sort of a last resort but at least you have that option when all of a sudden with no warning there’s an opportunity that’s like a bolt of lightning and while you really don’t dare to hope because you’ve gotten your spirits crushed repeatedly you want to hope and you need to hope and when things actually fall into place and this huge weight is being lifted you’re horrified to find that almost all you can think of is a nightmare “what if” scenario where all of this good stuff is just a trap that will temporarily put you on a pedestal so that the upcoming fall will be that much harder and you want to tell your brain to STFU but you can’t quite get past that as fast as things got better for no damn good reason other than blind luck they can get horrible again just as fast.

“Adulting” is sucking it up and going ahead full speed with the good things, despite knowing that those bad things might still be lurking.

Did you see “Arrival” a couple years ago? The big reveal at the end left me a weeping puddle. This is why.

We go on, despite our fears. Maybe some day we’ll even be able to let go of some of the fear.

1 Comment

Filed under Deep Thoughts, Music, Paul

That Feeling When – April 30th

That feeling when it’s dark but not too late yet and you’ve been busting your ass all weekend and you’re really tired and sweaty and from a couple of blocks away you can hear some music and you’re thinking about how different sounds and frequencies carry better than others because what you hear clear as a bell (if faintly) is a trumpet line from some music and you’re thinking that must be why trumpets were used in battle and so on, because the sound carries further, and you’re thinking it must be a quinceañera or something with a mariachi band when suddenly all of the pieces snap into place and you realize it’s the background trumpet music from the choruses of The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer” and you wonder if you’ll ever be able to listen to mariachi music the same way again.

1 Comment

Filed under Deep Thoughts, Music, Paul