Done With it All

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The title has a double meaning today.  I finished and turned in my final paper for the semester a couple of hours ago (a little before seven, so I was done in time to watch Jeopardy!).  And I have been steadfastly Not Thinking since then.  Not thinking about school or essays or archival theory or anything more taxing than which door to choose for the Big Deal of the Day on a Let’s Make a Deal rerun (the old ones with Monty Hall).  And I certainly haven’t been thinking about the results of my mammogram, which I finally got last week (Long Beach Memorial’s Breast Center does quite the brisk business, so it can be hard to get in for a routine check).  And I most definitely haven’t been thinking about the date today.

Okay.  I have been thinking about that last one.  Hard for me not to.  And I’m so fried right now that I couldn’t even listen to the song I chose, which is one of my favorites, because I’ll probably burst into tears.

It’s been extra hard for me this year what with all the shooting going on lately.  San Bernardino is a pretty good distance from my little house, but it’s not too far for me to feel heartsick for all the people involved.  And the fact that this incident has certain morons out there (yeah, I’m looking at you entire GOP, but especially Donald Trump) calling for completely ridiculous and xenophobic responses to what happened, but not for sane goddamn gun control has me seething.

I get that these two idiots with high-power weaponry were terrorists; the fact that they decided to gun down a bunch of innocent people in the name of their god (certainly not mine; the Buddha would definitely say that this incident was not Right action) has not escaped me.  What also has not escaped me is that if we had real gun control in this country–mandatory background checks, mandatory safety training and licensing, banned high-capacity magazines and automatic/semiautomatic weapons–they would not have been able to do what they did.  Period.  They might have gotten handguns and shot a couple of people, but it wouldn’t have been a massacre.  Gun control would’ve saved most, if not all, of those fourteen lives.

So I’m done.  Again.  Except this time I mean it.  No more reasoning with me.  Ban all guns, right now.  Repeal the Second Amendment; we clearly don’t understand what it means to have a “well-regulated militia” in this country if we’re happy to sell guns to terrorists.  And while we’re at it, declare the NRA a terrorist organization.  After all, a terrorist is someone who specializes in creating abject fear in people, and the NRA doesn’t seem to do anything except try to scare the pants off of everyone.  I should not have to think of an “exit plan” when I go to the mall or out to dinner.  I should not have to hear about grade schoolers doing “active shooter” drills.  I.  AM.  DONE.

And for everyone out there who thinks the response to this incident is to arm everyone and their dog to the teeth, remember: Instant Karma’s gonna get ya.

December 8th

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Yesterday was the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Today is the 34th anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon.  It would be nice to report a sudden outbreak of peace, that we as a human race have realized that it’s ridiculous to keep fighting each other when it would be so much better if we just worked together.  That the memory of the senselessness of war and the stupidity of murder have made us realize that we need to stop killing each other.  But so many people seem to think violence is the answer.

There are protests erupting all over the country over the deaths of so many unarmed black men (and boys) at the hands of police.  Two hostages were executed during a failed rescue attempt over the weekend.  Wars and skirmishes continue to break out around the world: Russians against Ukrainians, terrorists against governments, police and protesters against each other, etc., etc., etc.  A plane crashed into a Maryland home today, killing three on the plane and three in the home.  An apartment building under construction went up in flames early this morning in Los Angeles.  No one was killed or injured, thank goodness, but the destruction is jaw-dropping–and the fire is suspicious.  All we need now is a horrific school shooting and massive natural disaster to complete the cycle of misery.

I didn’t plan on sounding quite so gloomy today, but sometimes the ability of humans to be cruel and stupid stuns me.  It’s all just so pointless.

I’ve posted this song a number of times before, but it’s still the most appropriate one I can think of for today.  Imagine the world is a better place.  Imagine that you are a better person.  Make peace happen, one human being at a time.

“Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple)”

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I got caught up in doing a whole lot of nothing yesterday, so I forgot to post something for John Lennon’s birthday.  (I still think it needs to be an international holiday.)  It’s a day late, but a good John song (or any good song, really) is never a dollar short.

The one thing I wish is that this song wasn’t still so relevant.  I wish to all that is good and holy we would just stop killing each other.  That we’d let people talk and express their ideas in peace.  That we’d stop trying to discriminate against others in the name of god.  Free the people.  All the people.  Everywhere.  Ideologies don’t really matter.  Fairness and justice and peace do.

I’ve got a button that I wear once in a while that kind of fits here: “God bless the whole world.  No exceptions.”

Freaky Friday: Two Virgins

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Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins is the first recorded collaboration between John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  Lennon had become enamored with both Ono and her work after visiting one of her gallery shows.  They had not yet married, and the Beatles had not broken up.  But Two Virgins signaled a clear shift in Lennon’s artistic direction.

This is only music in the loosest sense, but it is pretty radical stuff.  Sound effects, repeated noises, screaming, and an overall feeling of chaos are jarring to people expecting the Beatles.  Two Virgins was not popular with a lot of fans.  But listening to it now, it’s easy to see how ahead of its time this work was.  This album, as well as Unfinished Music No.2:  Life with the Lions and Wedding Album were explorations in a very personal aural landscape.

On one level, the work is somewhat self-indulgent.  Lennon and Ono seemed to be doing whatever appeals to them with no real thought to listeners.  But I think that’s also part of the point.  The inward-looking nature of these sounds, the intimacy of just the two of them recording together, creates a very strange psychological landscape.  And although it is rather personal in nature, I think there’s still room for the listener to gain something from the experience.  The repetition is meditative for me.  My love of John Lennon is no secret, so I will readily concede my bias here.  But I think this is the kind of thing that could be played in a dark auditorium or art gallery as part of an installation.  It might not be for everyone, but I find the experimentation of Two Virgins mind-opening.

Dec. 8th

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Today’s the anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination.  As we remember his vision of a world at peace, we also continue to mourn the death of a leader who did everything he could to bring that vision into reality.

The holiday season is filled with both great love and generosity, and great consumerism and waste.  If you’re buying gifts, try to buy things people will use.  Things that might not be necessary, but that will be loved.  If you have a little extra, give some of it to someone who doesn’t.  Be kind not just to everyone else, but to yourself.  If you’re alone, maybe you can give the gift of life to a shelter animal (and the gift of companionship to yourself).  Do something that makes someone smile.  And be sure to put some change in the red buckets of the Salvation Army.  The good you put out into the world will come back to you tenfold.

Imagine a world that is a better than it was yesterday.