Taking Note of a Few Things: The Dropping Like Flies Edition

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Jimmy Buffett passed away and the only thing that surprised me was he died before Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. While Buffett had his huge following of Parrot Heads, I was not one of them. In fact, his music never made a connection with my ears. Still, I’d be remiss not to mention what a huge loss he is to people of my generation.

There is no way I was going to play that other song of his. Besides, this one is just as annoying.

A bigger loss, for me, was the passing of Gary Wright. While he had a quick rise to fame and, like many other musicians, was not heard from again, “Dream Weaver” was a huge hit and to this day one I always enjoy hearing.

The Ice Age of rock music is encroaching on more singers every day. It is just a matter of time before the genre is forever lost. It appears it will have a lifespan of about one century before it is replaced by the likes of AI created music designed to not offend anyone and never push the boundaries of society that rock and roll did.

Today’s Country music is what happens when a genre dies out. You get a bunch of performers who look and sound alike and whose image and look must sell as much as their music. They are all interchangeable parts of a mass-produced format that essentially accomplishes nothing artistically when compared to the works of its earlier greats.

Watching today’s artists perform live is not much different than staying home and listening to them on headphones. Backing tracks and other technology have taken away the vibrancy of live performances and replaced it with yet another corporate experience. The strive for perfection with live performances has killed the art of concerts. The Beatles quit touring because the lack of technology made performing their music impossible. Now, we can pay a grand for two tickets to see Paul McCartney sound better than ever thanks to all the technology used to make the octogenarian sound perfect.

The other day, I heard the Rolling Stones latest song while I was working out and thought to myself, “This sounds like a cross between INXS and the J Geils Band?”  It’s nice the band is releasing new music for a change, but did they have to sound like two bands from the 1980s?

I no longer believe music reviews. Everyone is in bed with one another, and it is why nine times out of ten a review of a new album or concert tour seems like I am missing out on something life changing. Nine times out of ten, I’m not.

The best concerts I have ever attended were in very small venues. It’s the only way to feel the energy of an artist or band. I can’t imagine any performer enjoying playing before a packed arena filled with 20,000 people who can’t put down their cell phones. The money they make might be nice, but the act of performing must get old quick.

There are many musicians I wished I saw perform back in the day, but no one I can think of that I absolutely need to see while I still can. Maybe I am cheap, but no performer is worth the money it now costs to watch them live.

If it could ever be pulled off, a one-off Rolling Beatles concert would sell out the planet. Just think of the money that would be made. Ringo on drums, Paul on bass, Ron and Keith on Guitar, and Mick and Paul trading off vocals. It’s really the only super group left worth forming for one performance.

There are too many powerbrokers to make it happen. However, wouldn’t it be cool to see them all play live on the same rooftop where the Beatles last played live?  An impromptu concert for the ages.

And then there is The Boss. I remember living in the dorms at CSU Chico and learning it was Bruce Springsteen’s 30th birthday. People were saying he was over the hill. It was 1979 and it would be another year before he released The River and saw himself have more than just a productive decade. Now in his early 70’s, he’s had to cancel shows due to a peptic ulcer, something not all that uncommon for us old farts.

Listening to the song The River makes me think of the four years I lived and taught in Red Bluff, California. So many of the kids there seemed to have resigned themselves to marrying their high school sweetheart. Then the mills closed up and secure careers dried up. Sometimes communities take decades to recover from a blow like Red Bluff suffered. Others never recover.

The writers’ strike has made me think about the times when angry teachers felt we should strike. All the picketing and attention given to a cause fails to remind us that the people strikers are angry at are never going to settle unless they come out on top. The media may make it seem like the strike was worth it, and for many it might be, but in the end, the bean counters for corporate will let their bosses know when the money works in their favor.

The last time the teachers in my district threatened to strike and negotiations dragged on, teachers celebrated what seemed like a hard-earned victory with a wonderful pay raise. However, before the ink was dried on the new CBA, the district informed all non-tenured teachers they would not be returning the following year. Instead, tenured teachers would return to even larger class sizes. Bean counters matter.

I have to agree with Bill Maher, who recently stated he didn’t think late night talk shows will be around much longer given all the commercial free forms of media we have access to and how we can watch whatever we want whenever we want. I’m also beginning to think the work environment on talk shows, daytime or late night, are not conducive to one’s mental health. The same can probably be said for morning shows.

I would love to be Kramer and have Merv’s old set. Until I do, I don’t have furniture five months into my apartment life.

It’s safe to say after this year’s fiasco at Burning Man, it can be added to a growing list of good ideas gone bad. It is another perfect example of when greed takes over something meant for a bunch of dedicated and harmless stoners and turns into a corporate event that ends up destroying the desert habitat where it is held.

Why do we allow everything good to be overrun by commercialism? We just can’t let things be. Corporations want their hands on EVERYTHING we enjoy and end up ruining it while they get richer. We are all better off if we can find our own ways to be entertained without the need for massive investments on our part.

Americans are being programmed to think life should be one big party. We also should never be inconvenienced, always have plenty of money to spend on big events, and never be expected to work much. We are a selfish nation that craps on the world without thought.

In many ways, I think this is the appeal of Donald Trump. He is idolized because all he has done in life is live one big party and crap on anyone and everyone he has been associated with. He, in many ways, reflects the new American dream. Do whatever you want to whomever you want and never be held accountable.

In the hours following the USA Men’s Basketball team’s elimination from the world championships, there is next to nothing in outrage. These were NBA players who lost to Germany in the semifinals of a tournament they should own. This is a noticeably different reaction to the way the media treated the American women following their loss at the recent World Cup Soccer Tournament.

Americans wonder why women might take a knee or not sing during the playing of the national anthem. Maybe it is because they are sick and tired of the lack of equal treatment they receive by the media when they lose. Maybe it has to do with the media’s constant attempts to sexualize female athletes and never doing the same to men. Maybe it has to do with their having to fight for equal pay with their male counterparts when they represent their country in an international tournament.

More American men would rather see our country fight a war in some far-off land before paying female athletes the same money as men when they represent our country in athletics. If women in the military are paid the same as men of the same rank, it seems they should be paid the same while they represent us in sports.

Nancy Pelosi, who will turn 304 years old next year, says she intends to run again for congress because she is needed to raise substantial money for the Democratic Party. Pelosi came very close to becoming this nation’s first female president but was replaced at the last minute by Harry Truman to be FDR’s final running mate.

Diane Feinstein, who turns 806 next year, has decided to run for the U.S. Senate one more time. However, she says she intends to move to Kentucky where she thinks she can defeat Mitch McConnell. The two have already planned a series of debates with mind readers serving as interpreters.

Marjorie Taylor-Greene is just a fraction of the age of either Pelosi or Feinstein but is light years ahead of both in terms of toxicity. A new poll of voters who voted for Trump in 2020 showed only one percent would vote for him again if Crazy Madge were his running mate. If that is not toxic enough, ten percent said they would vote for Trump if Mike Pence was his VP choice.

Wow! Did the media sure turn on the Kansas City Chiefs after their season opening loss to the Detroit Kittens. It seems their wide receivers can’t catch passes and Andy Reid doesn’t know how to coach. It was so bad that the media was unable to write about how a team of NBA players lost to Germany. If our men’s soccer team beats Germany in the semifinals of a world tournament, German fans leap to their death, coaches go into witness protection, and the players are never heard from again by playing in the MLS.

The Chiefs have16 more games before they make another run at the Super Bowl. How many of the clowns that wrote them off last week will remember they did so when they write about Andy Reid being a better coach than Bill Belichick?

The next time you want to complain about paying taxes and government regulations, think about what happened in Morocco after they were hit with a 6.8 magnitude earthquake. Besides requiring strict building codes to keep them standing during major quakes, having a system of paved roads, hospitals, and emergency workers helps provide instant services to areas stricken by tragic events.

For the life of me I do not understand why people in prison do not get a GPS microchip inserted in them. We can use them on our pets to keep track of them, so the technology is there and not even animal rights activists complain. Why then are they not used for those in prison? They can always be removed once they are released, and it makes tracking escaped murderers a lot easier. Twelve days and counting in Pennsylvania.

Editor’s Note: The escaped Pennsylvania convict was apprehended on September 13. Law enforcement used a heat-sensing plane and police service dogs.

Why does our government do business with Elon Musk? It seems pretty clear whose side of the war he is on between Ukraine and Russia. I wonder if he has Vlad’s number on speed dial? Musk is another human cockroach.

Over 300 people have died while climbing Mount Everest and of those, more than 200 bodies still remain on the mountain. This has resulted in Kathmandu increasing the climbing permit price for foreigners from $11,000.00 to $15,000.00. They are also requiring the removal of future dead bodies because the cost to retrieve them runs between twenty and two hundred grand. The good news is, with global warming, there is a good chance the 200 dead bodies stuck on the mountain will soon be available for viewing to future climbers. Selfies anyone?