“Rock and Roll”

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I’m not sure what else to post today, and I’ve still got Lou Reed on the brain, so here’s a little “Rock and Roll.”

There’s something about this music. ¬†Not just this particular song; I mean Rock & Roll itself. ¬†It has elements of everything, but isn’t like anything else in the world. ¬†I don’t know what I’d do without this music. ¬†I mean, I like Jazz and Blues and all the rest. ¬†But nothing has ever touched me the same way. ¬†I’ve really never been able to fully articulate it. ¬†It feels like home. ¬†Like peace. ¬†I don’t know what the first “rock” song I heard was. ¬†I don’t know when I started responding to an electric guitar the same way and addict must respond to getting his fix, but I do know that I’m hooked the same way. ¬†My life was saved by Rock & Roll.

I’m pretty sure Lou Reed felt the same way. ¬†Music mattered to him. ¬†He loved it. ¬†But he wasn’t afraid to challenge the thing he loved. ¬†His vision of the world never quite meshed with the way it was supposed to be portrayed in music. ¬†He told the truth as he knew it, wrote about the people he knew and the things he did. ¬†If you didn’t like it, tough. ¬†If you didn’t believe it, your were wrong. ¬†Or worse, you were a liar and a hypocrite. ¬†If you didn’t want to hear what Reed was saying, then you could just get out, because he wasn’t going to shut up. ¬†Whatever. ¬†He had no patience for you anyway.

That’s an attitude I can respect. ¬†That’s Rock & Roll.

Here Kitty, Kitty . . .

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Know what today is (or was, depending on your time zone; it’s about 4:30 PM here)? ¬†Well, if you have a cat, then you’re probably already sorry if you don’t (see here for more information). ¬†It’s National Cat Day!

I don’t think I’ve made my love of cats a secret, but just in case anyone missed it, I love cats. ¬†I’ve had at least one in my life pretty constantly since I was eight. ¬†That’s when we moved into the house I live in now, and my parents got me the kitten they promised me. ¬†(For the record, I honestly don’t remember asking for a kitty, but I’m sure that I probably begged and badgered until they gave in.) ¬†She was a tabby named Sabrina; she is still probably the best, most psychologically sound cat I ever owned. ¬†I stepped on a piece of glass one time, and while I was lying on the floor screaming bloody murder while my father attempted to pull the shard out of the middle of my foot, she came over and grabbed the sleeve of my shirt and tugged. ¬†I flailed her away, but to this day, I’m pretty sure she was trying to rescue me. ¬†When I realized what happened (read: my mother explained it), I knew I was loved by that wonderful little creature.

Cats aren’t the aloof, arrogant beasts many people assume they are. ¬†Okay, they are pretty arrogant, but I’ve never had a cat that didn’t want fairly constant attention from every human within a fifty mile radius. ¬†They’re soft and curl up in your lap (or along your torso if you lay on your side, like one of my girls was just doing a little while ago). ¬†They butt their heads against you when they love you. ¬†(With the top of their heads, mind you; rubbing the sides of their faces is scent-marking to claim ownership.) ¬†They can seem pretty entitled, and they’re generally not too shy about demanding whatever it is they crave at the moment–be it your attention or another can of cat food. ¬†But I can forgive a lot when the minute I touch one and they start purring. ¬†How can anyone not love something that purrs?

I’ve had many beautiful, loving cats in my life. ¬†And I know I haven’t always been the best pet mommy in the world. ¬†So I am continuously grateful for all that they have given me. ¬†If you have a kitty, go give it a hug. ¬†You’ll get thanked with a purr or a head butt.

If you don’t get scratched for disturbing a perfectly good nap, that is.

Sorry, Chris Brown. I’m judging you.

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I don’t like Chris Brown. ¬†He’s got a pretty good voice, and his music doesn’t entirely suck; as an artist, he’s middle of the road. ¬†He is, however, a complete failure as a human being.

Yesterday, Lou Reed’s death was being relegated to the second half of the local news; that’s the portion they usually reserve for news of product recalls and heartwarming stories about puppies. ¬†But Chris Brown’s most recent arrest made the headlines, even before the story of NSA electronically eavesdropping on most of Europe’s leaders. ¬†This time it was for punching a guy who tried to horn in on a picture he was taking with another fan. ¬†I know that Lou Reed hadn’t even made a public appearance recently, and Brown is all over the charts, but c’mon. ¬†There’s gonna be plenty of chances to report Chris Brown getting arrested because he punched somebody. ¬†Again.

This guy has issues. ¬†He beat his girlfriend (the equally mediocre Rhianna, who got back together with him for a little while). ¬†He pitched a fit in his dressing room on a national morning show when the interviewer asked him about it. ¬†He had a couple of recent confrontations with other popular artists, (much better) singer Frank Ocean and (so-so) rapper Drake. ¬†He’s been in numerous scuff ups with neighbors, paparazzi (not that I blame him for that), fans, and innocent bystanders. ¬†He’s been in and out of court rooms so often in the last couple of years, they probably have reserved parking for him. ¬†Even after doing community service (which he cheated on at least once) and going through anger management classes, he still keeps getting in trouble.

What makes this so nauseating is that so many people just keep making excuses for him and letting it continue. ¬†His fans say he’s just misunderstood. ¬†His management says it’s his entourage and the media causing all the trouble. ¬†(Note to the management: if Brown’s entourage is responsible for so much of the trouble he’s in, maybe you should consider getting rid of them.) ¬†The courts just keep slapping his wrists. ¬†Here’s what I have to say to all these people: Pull your heads out of your asses. ¬†Chris Brown is a nasty, short-tempered, violent, selfish little bastard. ¬†He’s never going to change, not without hitting bottom. ¬†And he’s never going to hit bottom if you all keep enabling him.

Years ago, Robert Downey, Jr. was high. ¬†All the time. ¬†Repeated arrests and stints in rehab did nothing. ¬†He broke into strangers’ houses and fell asleep because he couldn’t remember where the hell he lived. (He was like Lindsay Lohan, only with talent and charm.) ¬†He finally got tossed into prison for being, well, an idiot. ¬†His idiocy did continue for about another year, but when faced with another prison stint, he cleaned himself up. ¬†He got help for his mental and emotional problems (he’s bipolar). ¬†He got himself together, because he knew that he would die if he didn’t.

Chris Brown isn’t an addict (at least, not that I know of), but there is clearly something wrong with this man. ¬†There might be hope for him if somebody would just stand up to his petty bullying and say, “No more.” ¬†Until then, we’re just going to keep going round and round with this snot.

Lou Reed

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This one is hitting me really hard. ¬†I am shocked and saddened at the sudden death of Lou Reed. ¬†I really don’t know what to say. ¬†He could be crude, arrogant, and supremely distasteful. ¬†But he was one of the finest songwriters that ever graced Rock & Roll, and a charismatic performer. ¬†He was, to me, the coolest guy to ever walk the face of the Earth.

“Busload of Faith” is one of my favorite songs by Reed. ¬†It’s angry and sarcastic and marvelous. ¬†Lou Reed had gotten kind of happy during the last decade or so, but he never quite let go of the hardass attitude that made him so great.

My heart goes out to his widow, Laurie Anderson, and the rest of his family and friends.  Lou Reed was 71.

“Southern Cross”

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“Southern Cross” might be my favorite Crosby, Stills, & Nash (and sometimes Young) song ever. ¬†It’s just a simple lost love song–heartbreak and loss on the high seas. ¬†Sailing here is a metaphor for healing and moving on. ¬†Stephen Stills sort of wrote this; it’s actually a reworking of another song by two other guys. (The quote from Stills given on Wikipedia says “Once again, I was given somebody’s gem, and cut and polished it.”

This one shines like a diamond to me. ¬†I know nothing about sailing (except that there is no way on God’s Green Earth I will ever do it). ¬†The sparkling harmonies and shimmering guitar help make it perfect. ¬†It was easy to respond to the fine production and sincere emotion (Stills wrote this after his divorce in the early 80s). ¬†But what really sold this song to me is this one line: “She is all that I have left, and music is her name.”

I’ve never been so down, so heartbroken, that I truly felt like music was the only thing I had left, but it’s always been where I find solace. ¬†It heals me. ¬†It balances me. ¬†That’s why I try to make sure I listen a little bit every day. ¬†It’s why I sing along in the middle of the grocery store. ¬†It’s why I spent $250 on an iPod. ¬†This particular song is very healing itself, which I suppose means Stephen Stills did his job on this one very well. ¬†Or maybe this song did it’s job on him. ¬†Because for all the sadness here, there is forgiveness and hope . . . and a tiny touch of bitterness at the end (hey, he’s only human). ¬†I imagine writing this was cathartic and healing for him, just like the trip he based it on was. ¬†That’s what music does best. ¬†It brings our feelings and lives into focus, lets us share all those undefinable things in a way everyone can understand.

Freaky Friday: Huh?

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I’m a little kefuffled right now.

Umm, yeah.  Okay.  So that just happened.

I’m not quite sure¬†what just happened. ¬†But there it is. ¬†In full color.

Dangerous Minds has actually been doing my work for me again, because that’s where I first saw this clip by a mysterious entity called Zek Nab. ¬†Marc Campbell, the original poster over there, didn’t quite know what to make of it either. ¬†All I can think is Windham Hill meets¬†The Hobbit. ¬† Seriously, it looks like some of my geeky friends from high school got together in present day to dress up as Tolkien characters and play-synch along with some 90s New Age music. ¬†I googled Zek nab just to see what came up, and at least two of the links led back to the DM post; most of the others were for various YouTube videos (this one is pretty wild, too). ¬†It’s kind of jaw dropping, like a horrible car accident or Mariah Carey video.

I’ve got nothing else to add to this. ¬†It’s just too weird for words. ¬†But I will echo Marc Campbell’s call for more information. ¬†If you know who or what Zek Nab is–or if you are a member of Zek Nab–please reach out and let me know just what the hell you were thinking.