Category Archives: How I think

Melody, Harmony, Rhythm

via Daily Prompt: Song

Music Major!  Wait. Can a song be something not musical?

The Song of Myself by Walt Whitman is 52 verses long! Would this guy be a narcissist?  Or is he exploring every nuance of his being:  what it means to be a person, to be a human, to be a man?  We do that don’t we?  We think deep thoughts and then craft them into a whole.  All our experiences and adventures become us.  All of the little bits of information and insight are interwoven into our being.  Our philosophies are developed atom by atom.  We envision big events as being catalysts for our lives’ direction, when in fact, it’s the looks from friends and parents, the Sunday school lesson, the fall off the bike, the first times–walking, climbing, writing…

Would you be the same person you are now if the first time you wrote your name, you did it with red crayon instead of a pencil?  Would you be the same if your parents had read Beetle Bailey out loud instead of Peanuts?  What kind of person would you be if your parents played Sinatra instead of Elvis?  Would you respond the same to bullies or would you be the bully?  Nature vs. Nurture has been an ongoing philosophical discussion for decades.  They cannot be separated.  2 infants with the same types of parents going through the same events would still turn out completely different due to their nature, and 2 infants of the same nature would turn out completely different due to their upbringing and surroundings.  Look up “What a piece of work is Man” by Shakespeare.

Let’s get into music then, as I am an expert.  (You put those eyebrows down!  I AM an expert!)  How many notes are there?  88 on a standard piano.  What about all the quarter tones…the notes between the notes?  What about the notes that are higher than one can whistle that you can play on a violin?  Are there notes so low that you can only feel them?  Of course.  So this is a huge palette of  sounds as pitches are available.  Then look at the rhythm instruments!  Continuous sound vs rhythmic repetition can make a difference in the ambiance of the music.  A rain stick is an example of continuous sound and a drum kit is typical of rhythmic repetition.  Then there are tuned rhythmic instruments like the piano or the xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, you can think of hundreds of others.  The rhythm can be untuned or tuned then!  The bass guitar acts as a rhythm instrument as does the strumming guitar even though neither would be considered a percussion instrument.  Do you see the possibilities of musical themes?  They would be limitless and as you add more elements such as orchestration (assigning aspects of the music to different instruments or voices) counter melodies, chord progressions…the number of songs goes to infinity.   What happens if we rearrange the songs so the melodies stay constant and the harmonies change?  Look at all the covers of “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing” by Stevie Wonder! In addition, we can find the same chord progressions in multiple songs  but notice the melodies are all different?

What does that have to do with the premise?  Each person is the melody of their own existence.  The depth and breadth of their growth is the harmony and rhythm that each person builds with each day they live, each book they read, each thought they contemplate, each tune they listen to, each task they perform, each interaction with the world that surrounds them.  At the end of life, this song can be as simple as a nursery rhyme or as complicated as a symphony.

Make your song beautiful!

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CW–muse poem

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/65044839/posts/1823073920

There you are, on TV

Are you seriously mocking me?

Frowns indignant, hosts bemoan

Streisand’s choice–her dog to clone!

Just because she sings and acts

Doesn’t change these trivial facts!

I’m not a bump upon a log

I just don’t CARE ’bout Streisand’s DOG!

 

(So, yes, my muse is TV idiocy)

A Love, A loss

A hole in the heart

A partnership

Each filling the other’s gaps.

A grief, a hope

A way to cope

Grasping a way

to bring her back.

There she is!

There she isn’t.

It’s not quite the same…

But close.

 

Give the vote away

“If these kids want to really impact the way the government works and how the country works, give them the VOTE!” NPR editorial

Give.  16 year olds. the. vote.

ARE YOU INSANE?!!!!

They’re Children!  It’s like handing the reins of the household to the elementary aged children.  “NO you cannot watch TV, you have Homework to do!”  “I have a vote, Teddy has a vote, and Joe has a vote…We’re all equal in this family!  It’s 3:2 we win!  Turn on the TV Joe!”  “Joe is 4.  He’s not in school yet, and Teddy doesn’t have homework in 1st grade.  They don’t know how important homework is.”  “That’s ageism!  You can’t deny me my television rights just because you think homework is important.  I already get A’s without studying and pass all my tests with ease.”  “You’re right.  I’m sorry.  Here’s the remote.”

How foolish is that?

I grew up with marches.  We were protesting dress codes in high school.  We were protesting the war in college.  We were fighting global hunger.  We were fighting for youth autonomy, women’s rights, and legal and safe abortions.  Gay people were coming out of the closet.  The media was active in these marches, and they prepped their people well.  At Columbia University, during the riots, the news crew would come upon a group of people just standing around and ask them to do some action for the background of the story and hand them the bricks.  They were going to be on TV!  So they did.  Then when the news crews left, they went back to standing around doing nothing.  Funny how none of that was reported.  We voted at age 18, and nothing that we marched for was ever on the ballots.  We were voting, we thought, for the representatives who would solve these issues.

16 year old voters?  Are you kidding me?  They’re playing video games where they blow people away with astonishing ferocity.  They’re stealing cars and shooting at police from the safety of their living rooms.  All their news they get if from Facebook and Twitter.  All the news available now (except BBC) you have to already know what you want to hear and then tune into that channel.

On Super Girl, as she applies for a job as a journalist, the editor says, “Facts!  No adjectives.”  Find ONE news show that doesn’t amplify aspects of the story by their choice of adjectives.  It can be as silly as a description of the movement of the DOW which nobody understands anyway.  “The Dow PLUNGED 20 points today.  Investors were backing off due to the Labor numbers.”  News flash, none of the individual investors had the slightest idea what the Labor numbers were or what they meant.  The institutional investors looked at all the numbers, including the Labor numbers, and decided they might make a profit if they sold some today.  20 points is not even a drop in the bucket.  The next week, “The Dow was up only 20 points today.  Investors were cautious on their trading due to last week’s devastating plunge.”  No they weren’t.  So when it comes to news of substance, information we need to run our businesses, policy changes in the government, local situations we need to know, it’s all colored by the political bias of the agency that presents it.  It makes it difficult for adults to discern the facts from the news and the fake news.  We go on witch hunts trying to find quick fixes for everything because we are overloaded by the seriousness of all that is going on around us.

I’m a mom of 5 kids.  This is how I relate to this:

Ben is playing a video game, Pat and Jo are fighting about who is taking too much space in their bedroom.  Ward wants to have some friends over and is nagging to get a date and time set.  Baby Sean is screaming for mom because he’s wet/tired/hungry or all 3.  Ben isn’t causing any problems, ignore.  Pat and Jo are threatening to break furniture–handle 1st.  Stick head into bedroom and yell “SHUT UP!  Behave!  Get along!”  Put off Ward because Baby is still screaming.  Change/feed baby.  Ward is pouting, leave alone.  Girls are whispering urgently and vehemently in room, but no longer threatening furniture.  Too many things coming at you, and reaction is immediate but incomplete.  The problems are not solved.  Only symptoms are addressed.

North Korean situation, Russian situation, Afghanistan situation, Syrian situation, LGTB rights protest, economics situation, GDP situation, International trade situation, School regulations, bullying, suicides due to cyber-bullying, piercings, tattoos, all this is being unloaded unfiltered and biased into kids’ heads.  What can they get their heads around?  Killing kids their age in schools.  No brainer.  This is a bad thing.  Kids should not be killing kids.  How do we stop kids from killing kids?  March!  There ought to be a law that protects kids from getting killed at school.  (There is.  Murder has always been against the law.)  There ought to be a law that keeps kids from getting guns.  (There is a law that requires background checks and a waiting period.  Guns can be borrowed, stolen, and bought illegally, or bought legally for purposes other than killing kids.)  There is no question on the application that says, “Do you plan to use this weapon to kill as many people as you can in a short amount of time?”  If there was, would people answer this truthfully?  But it is an easy concept…kids should not be killed in school.  Anyone that would oppose that is seriously lacking in the common sense department.  Does it get headlines?  Of course!  Big ones!  So if you wanted to advance your point of view, put your face on the front of the movement, and get good ratings during sweeps month, hitch your wagon to this pony!  So yes, adults can take advantage of naive and active kids.

There is no way in the world that a 16 year old child has any inkling about how things should work, and 18-year-olds are not much better.  The difference is, 18-year-olds can be pressed into military service and have to volunteer their lives for a premise they might not even understand.  The information available to 16-year-olds is incomplete and sometimes incomprehensible.  They cannot see years ahead because they don’t have the wisdom or the experience to do so.  We didn’t in our 20’s!  They do not have the moral basis to make ethical decisions.  They get no instruction on morals from school, the community, the media or their parents.  How would they be suddenly qualified?  Heck!  If we are realistic, we should RAISE the voting age to 50 or so.  Let people with wisdom, the gift of hindsight and foresight, experience, and a logical mind do the voting.  There would be fewer knee jerk reactions to situations and more pondering on the deeper implications of proposed legislation.  How ridiculous is that?

I’m sorry, but if I had been a gun toting teen watching all those privileged kids who had bullied me since I was kindergarten marching on Washington and making righteous indignation noises about my right to have any gun I pleased, I would have gone with them and set up in a hotel or parking garage and sprayed the whole group.  I’m kind of surprised no one thought of that.  Did the nerds and the geeks and the undesirables ride on a different bus…in the back seats?  Did the poor kids that were the brunt of the bullying get to make the trip at all?  The only ones marching were the ones that were afraid they’d be on the top of the hit list like mine.  It’s self preservation, nothing more, nothing less.  They could care less about all the kids they destroy because they can without firing a shot.  They’ll never be judged.  They’ll never have any consequences to face.  I’d be glad that they’re being trashed on social media like they’ve done to the rest of us.  I’d be delighted that their every move was scrutinized by an unforgiving public, because none of those dirty secrets ever comes up in the school; they’re too popular and too savvy to allow that to happen.  Will any of those snobs get to the point of considering suicide like the kids they subjected to this treatment?  I certainly hope so.

But I’m not a gun toting 16 year old kid.  I don’t think like that.  I don’t believe they should have the vote.

Replacing loss

I heard this amazing lady on the radio.  The interviewer was impressed by her resilience.  She had survived the flood from Katrina, but lost all her books and notes and everything creative.  She’d lost her dog, her husband, her friend, her mom…And instead of rolling up into a ball in the corner, she became more active and more creative.

What the interview focused on was loss and how people deal with it.  If you lose a pet, buy another one.  If you lose someone you love, meet someone new.  If you lose a child, have another one, or adopt or foster…  It was filling in a gaping hole with a replacement.  That might work, for a while, but the image this author gave was very deep.

Imagine you live in a house near the railroad tracks.  You have a display of china or crystal and every time the train rumbles by, it shakes the shelf and some of the objects break.  You replace them as they break, but you’re not stupid.  You replace them with cheaper objects.  In the end, you have a shelf full of cheap objects that you have no emotional ties to.  Being a geek, the 1st thing I thought of was a way to display these items so that they wouldn’t fall down and break.  Then I thought of replacing the breakables with stuffed animals or books or something.  I lived next to the tracks and the trains came 5-6 times a day, and not only would they rumble by, they’d stop and you’d hear each car collide and then jerk into motion when the train started up again.  It was nearly continuous noise.  After a few weeks though, I didn’t notice the noise.  When we moved near the AFB, people could tell we were new because we looked up when the planes took off and landed.  Natives don’t notice.

When someone dies or leaves and you go through all the processes like the psychologists say you should, in the end, you do not replace the person you lost, you replace your means of connection.  Let me explain.  When they are with you, you interact by calling, texting, writing, talking, whatever.  It’s the personal, physical relationship you enjoy.  You miss them physically at first because it was the way you connected.  After they’ve been gone a while, your relationship changes.  You remember what they said, how they looked, the tic when they lied, the horrible jokes, the hugs, the tears, the laughter.  Before you could only interact by setting a physical parameter.  You got a busy signal; they didn’t get to the concert; someone got sick.  You could not connect every time you wanted to.  Now you can.  You can bring up their faces in a blink.  You can anticipate the conversation on any subject.  You can recall that story they told, look at the old pictures and remember the venue where they were taken.  You are not constrained by time or presence.  You can be closer to the person who’s gone (whether by death or distance) at the time and place of your choosing, than when they were physically available.  It takes practice to reach that point.  My dad and mom and brother and his wife have died.  But now they are incorporated into my thinking and feeling processes so they are closer to me now than they were.  I do not need to replace them with someone new.  The relationship has evolved to something better.

Connections

via Daily Prompt: Branch

 

Breathe in

Breathe out.

Soak up sun!

Ahhhhh warmth

Ooooo cool rain

Wind?

Anxious!

Violent

Branches fall

I fall

lonely

fading.

Root was small and weak

Sickly

Grafted?

Old root

Life returning

Power from root!

Integrated

We are one

Raw to root

Refined from root

Warmed and cooled

But now I grow strong

Wind?

NOT anxious

Like a brush through hair

I’m growing

I’m extending.

New limbs

Powerful connection

Root sings to me

My birds sing back.

Strong root–

Strong branch.

 

Window stickers

What ever possessed people to put window stickers on their cars?  Why do they think I want to know how many kids and dogs and cats they have?  Why do they think I care that their t-rex ate someone’s stick family?  What is so interesting about their family full of zombies?  Why would anyone dedicate their cars to their dead relatives?  Pick-up truck with flowery window  In memoriam:  Bob 1985-2007.  What was special about Bob?  Was he hit by a truck?  Was this his truck?  How do you trade in a truck with your memorial on it?  It would be like selling the granite stone from the cemetery wouldn’t it?

It’s the same about bumper stickers.  Yes, some are funny to read…but if you’re reading the bumper sticker, you’re not watching the road are you.  The annoying thing about some of the bumper stickers is that they were never meant to be read going 60 mph on the interstate!  They’ve got cute logos and attractive colors and nice fonts, but you can’t read them because the writing is too small!  If you want to read bumper stickers, you have to go to the mall parking lot.  Sounds like too much trouble for me.  And just because you believe in a cause, putting that on your bumper will not convince me to change my stance.  It is nice that your child got honored as a student…do those come with dates?  What if he flunks out next semester; do you have to scrape the thing off?  Would it be false advertising if you left it on?  What if your honor roll Kindergartner graduated from High School last year?  That makes me think you have 2 choices:  Cover that one up with something inane like Obama/Biden for 2004, or good lord!  Get another car!  How many miles you have on that thing?!  The problem becomes how does the dealership scrape off your bumper sticker?  Do you get to keep the ones they can get off to transfer to your new car?

Sooooo, no.  I am not interested in intimate details of your family, your religion, your politics, your favorite music or your favorite pet.  If you’re a veteran, thank you, but unless you have PTSD and Road Rage and access to an AR15, I don’t need to know that.  I can understand the honor student bumper stickers because those are for your kid to read and believe that you might care.  I don’t.  Also knock off the snarky “My poodle is smarter than your honor student” bumper stickers unless of course your dog is driving…then I’d be impressed.   Do that on Facebook or put a bunch of signs in your yard.

I’m all in favor of USEFUL information on your car.  “DWI traffic stops 10, convictions 3” would be good to know.  “I never signal lane changes” might help me avoid running into you.  You know those signs on Krispy Kreme stores that light up when the donuts are hot?  There should be a yellow flashing light when you’re texting or on the phone.  Maybe some annoying habits I should be aware of would be good.  “I always take the exit 3 ramp at 9:02 by cutting over 4 lanes at 60 mph.”  “I cannot drive in snow.”  Good to know!  How about new drivers…”I didn’t know it had a clutch when I bought it.”  Reckless endangerment?  How about “Wreckless endangerment?”  “Mario Andretti pees himself when he rides with me to work.”  People with bad attitudes–“I only use 1 finger to wave with.”  “BEWARE!  BOSTON TRANSPLANT! Doesn’t drive like us.”  Very useful!  “This sticker is holding my bumper on.”  OK!

DON’T USE YOUR CAR AS A BILL BOARD.  Don’t use it as a message board.  Don’t use it as a moving Facebook page.  I support Privacy.  It’s none of my business.  It’s a car–a means of transportation between point A and point B.  It’s nothing more than that.

Honestly…

Honestly, Truthfully, Trustworthy

I can believe

I can disbelieve

I can act

I can choose not to act

Why must I be protected from truth?

Ignorance is Bliss

It takes my decisions

and makes them impotent.

It takes my perception

and skews it.

“You don’t need to know

“Not now, later

“To protect you

Saying this only

when I NEED to know

when I NEED to know now

when it doesn’t protect me because

I don’t know.

Facts in timely manner

Not emotions

Withhold, Lie

No preparation

No trust

Surprise, and confusion

Tell Me.  Honestly

 

Descent

I heard an interesting piece on Exploring Music tonight.  The composer was writing this in the 1980’s and so many of his friends had died from Aids.  So he wanted to commemorate them in song and wrote a special symphony for the Chicago Symphony.

The music inspired me.  It describes his friend as he goes slowly insane due to his disease.

It’s simple

It’s just perception

You get it don’t you?

It’s such a straight forward concept.

You just… um…yeah

You just take it, um, one step at a time

I can do this

All I need to do is…um

Do is…

Where was I?

Just access your memory

Picture what you…um…

What you want to say

I’ve done this… um…

before  and I remember…

um

The kids playing

Dog in the way

Homework

Dishes need to be…

waxed…washed

and then…

Yah…

I stare into space

I’m confused.

It’s simple…

You just…just…

OH Come ON!  Just say it!

You just…?

WHERE ARE MY WORDS?!

ok  breathe

You…just…

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!