Once There Was a Time

The trivia question for this week is, What happened on the west coast of America in the summer of 1967 that is still called by a particular name?

Once there was a time. It was a perfect storm of music, issues, and people all coming together at just the right time in just the right way in just the right places. Once there was a time that I think will never be equaled, and sometimes when I feel old—and those times happen more and more to me every day now—I see something or hear some music from the 1960’s and very early 1970’s, and I remember and  I smile. I smile knowing that yes, once there was a time, and I was there.

A very good friend told me the other day that I was his favorite hippie, and I told him it was likely that I am the only hippie he knows given our age difference and that we old hippie radio DJ’s are a dying breed.

I think many younger people today, and even some in my age group who might have somehow escaped the scars of the sixties, don’t realize that their idea of hippie is not what they might think. All hippies were not pot heads dancing naked at Woodstock or jamming to the Dead at the Fillmore. To me and to a lot of others, it was a belief, a lifestyle, and a commitment that while the world was not perfect, we could and would make it better.

I said “scars of the sixties” because of something I call “movement casualties.” We are the survivors who once believed so strongly in–and forgive me for using these terms—peace and love and making changes for the better, and then we watched as all our hopes crumbled. We watched as John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King fell to hatred stronger than our love. We watched as Brian Epstein, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan­­­­­­­­, ­­Phil Ochs, and many others left us behind. But we kept on believing, and maybe for many the final blow came when John Lennon was killed.

We old hippies learned that all the things we thought we could do were not strong enough to stop bullets of hate or the despair of a drug overdose or a raging social or political lunatic.

My friend replied to my statement about being a dying breed by telling me it was time to pass the torch and joked that he would start growing out what was left of his hair, growing it long. I said the tie dye was optional, but he would need either a peace earring or a pendant.

Just recently I realized that I was indeed tired. Maybe I had continued the struggle longer than most and got tired of trying. I posted this on Facebook last Wednesday: “I quit. I am tired of jokers and fools and arguments. I am tired of trying to convince anyone that certain things are just plain wrong, so I quit. I tried. Now go on and believe what you want, do what you want, and say what you want because it has become obvious that nothing I can say will make a difference in your way of thinking. So I quit. More on this on Sunday.” Well, here it is Sunday.

Maybe I should go put on some Grateful Dead or John Lennon music and remember and be glad that once there was a time. It was a perfect storm of music, issues, and people all coming together at just the right time in just the right way in just the right places. And I was there.

In the podcast I’ll have the answer to that trivia question and of course some rock and roll news and history. I hope you’ll join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.­­­


This Pipeline Is No Peace Pipe

This week’s trivia question (and if you get this one you are damn good) is, What person, born on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada, has been a performing artist for decades and recorded a song about Wounded Knee?

I sat down to write this blog and froze solid. I want to write happy and I can’t. There is too much draining my brain of happy, and the one thing keeping me awake at night right now is the struggle of the Standing Rock Sioux against the pipeline in North Dakota. I use Sioux here because they were the first ones engaged in this action, which many other tribes have joined, and most people today prefer to be called by their tribal ancestry. Imagine if someone came to your neighborhood, took your land, and made false promises. Then, many years later, they started building a dangerous oil pipeline near what land they had left you, and while digging the pipeline to fuel the pockets of the rich, they destroyed the ancient burial grounds of your ancestors and created the very real possibility of poisoning your drinking water.

During the Labor Day weekend, following what had been Saturday’s brutal attack on peaceful protesters by private security mercenaries and vicious guard dogs acting on behalf of Dakota Access Pipeline interests, it was discovered that the company responsible for construction deliberately targeted documented sacred and culturally significant areas for demolition. Crews likely chose the holiday weekend in order to avoid a court injunction. http://thefreethoughtproject.com/dakota-pipeline-destroy-native-sites/#jB8vbtzGd0hbguqH.01

I have a Hoodie that reads “I was not born in America; America was born on my land.” I’ve always known about my mother’s Cherokee ancestry but only recently found out that my dad was also one-third Cherokee. This makes me a bit more than half Native American and proud of it.

The Labor Day incident brought to mind a similar one. In late February 1973, the town of Wounded Knee was seized peacefully by followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and about a month later I was there. The control of the town lasted for 71 days. I want to go to North Dakota now, but for many reasons I can’t. There is, however, a website where you can help out either by purchasing art or if you’re an artist, by donating a piece of your work for auction with proceeds going to support this struggle. Here is the link. https://www.facebook.com/events/1745576085698516/?ref=1&action_history=%5B%7B%22surface%22:%22permalink%22%2C%22mechanism%22:%22surface%22%2C%22extra_data%22:%5B%5D%7D%5D

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you wished you could shoot some kind of numbing agent directly into your brain? Some do it with alcohol, some do it with drugs, and some escape reality with TV and games. It seems easy enough to forget the real world is going to hell in a hand cart while watching Designated Survivor, a new TV show that I gather is all about the world being blown to kingdom come except for one man (and already I wonder why a man, not a woman, or at least one of each). If your drug is a game, you might prefer the new Star Trek Ascendancy or Pokémon GO, where you can travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon. I was driving out of my town this morning, and coming right down the middle of my quiet road was a person, head bent into their palms and three or four fingers moving rapidly across some small keyboard, walking directly toward me, totally oblivious that 3,000 pounds of car was moving (thankfully slowly) at them. I stopped and waited quietly, wondering how long it would take them, thinking soon they would look up and move out of the way. About 50 feet from my front bumper, they realized that their Pokémon was about to be flattened and moved, almost reluctantly, without really looking up. How wonderful it would be if we could solve all the issues plaguing our small planet with just a slight step to the side. The drugging and numbing of humans seems to be running according to plan.

I imagine somewhere in the bowels of the earth there are men and maybe even a few women rubbing their evil hands together and snorting their cold breaths in glee as they watch their plans unfold to turn us all into Stepford Wives-type people. In this underground kingdom, there are no countries, no religions, no differing politics or opinions, and they have a common goal: rule the world and make money. They realize in order to rule the world they must all get along with each other and make all the surface dwellers giggly happy and content in their own little make-believe worlds. They must be doing happy dances on their cloven feet because their plan is working.

In the podcast, there are more thoughts on this, some music news and history, and the answer to that trivia question. I hope you’ll join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.

I Must Have Blinked and Missed Something

The trivia question for this weekMark Knopfler wrote a song he described as a compilation of the voicemail messages from the people trapped inside the World Trade Center towers and recorded it with Emmylou Harris. Do you know what song that is?

I must have blinked. One minute I was standing in a retail store in Boston, Massachusetts, watching the city emptying as people all moving like salmon in one direction headed for the nearest way out of town. And like salmon to their spawning ground, they might have also been heading to their own death.

I watched this stream of humanity passing the window and listened to a news report that the World Trade Center in New York City had been hit by not one but two commercial airliners, and no, it was not an accident but a direct attack on the United States by a group of religious fanatics called by what seemed like a strange name then but one we came to know all too well, al-Qaeda (also spelled al-Qaida). It seemed paradoxical that I watched what the underbelly, the fanatics that pervert the religion to suit their own evil goals, had done, not what the people true to the Muslim faith had done, and I watched this from inside a store called The Christmas Dove. And I thought about all the death that had come about by fanatics throughout history in the name of Christianity.

Al-Qaeda began as a logistical network to support Muslims in Afghanistan fighting against what was then the Soviet Union during the Afghan War. When the Soviet Union withdrew, this band of warmongering fanatics continued to oppose what its leaders considered corrupt Islamic regimes and foreign presence in Islamic lands like the U.S.

President Bush led the United States into a war costly in dollars and most importantly in human death as 4,488 American lives were lost, more than 32,000 Americans wounded, and untold pain brought to those who came back traumatized by their experience.

Most Americans now believe the Iraq War was not worth fighting. “Our war in Iraq, I think, was the most fundamentally bad, dangerous decision since Vietnam,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during his confirmation hearing, as a report from the FXB Center for Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health states.  “By attacking Iraq rather than focusing on al-Qaida, we fell into our enemies’ trap. The al-Qaida manual, “The Management of Savagery,” prescribed forcing America “to abandon its war against Islam by proxy by provoking it into a feckless (worthless) military confrontation with a Muslim country with the goal of overextending America militarily, bleeding us financially, and exposing the hollowness of American values.”

Many defense intellectuals who supported the war at the time now call the invasion a distraction from the war on terrorism. But the occupation of Iraq was much more than a distraction: it was an “engine of terrorist growth.”

Now we have another lunatic strutting and prancing around the political stage, this one saying he will deport Muslims. Is it not possible that this once again is playing right into the hands of the slime balls that rule al-Qaeda? Can you not hear them saying, “Look, people of Muslim faith, at what they are doing to us. Look at the misery they are causing our people.” And they would be right. Your normal Muslim selling bread at the local store did not blow up the World Trade Center. A group of madmen who no longer had the Russians to fight and wanted to continue their reign of terrorism and conquest blew up the World Trade Center towers, and Donald Trump is courting Russian President Putin as well and playing right into the hands of al-Qaeda.

Did I blink and miss something, or did Americans go to sleep?

In the podcast, well, the only thing I’m sure of is the answer to the trivia question and some rock and roll news and history. I hope you’ll join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.

SAD Winter

The trivia question for this week is, What Beatles sad song became their 20th and last number-one song in the United States? This was in June 1970 and was the last single they released as a group.

This is not just about me. I’m fortunate enough to have a relatively mild form of what is commonly referred to as SAD. SAD—seasonal affective disorder—is also known as winter depression or winter blues, but it can happen to some people in summer. it’s a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms, usually at the same time each year and most commonly in the winter. From 4 to 6 percent have winter depression and another 10 to 20 percent have mild SAD. SAD is four times more common in women than in men. Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn’t start in people younger than age 20. Your chance of getting SAD goes down as you get older. If you know someone who suffers from seasonal affective disorder, try to understand that it is recognized as a legitimate form of depression and that when dealing with those who do suffer from it, it’s real. I worked with a woman once who had it to such a degree that she would start crying at any given moment for no apparent reason. Thankfully, I am not that bad.

September begins the moody season for me, although some people who know me would say my moody season is every season, just different to some measure, and I guess I would have to agree. I would add, however, that my moods take a definite uptick in spring as my hope does spring eternal, at least until mid- to late-August when I realize September is lurking just around the corner. If September comes, can winter be far behind?

Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder. SAD’s prevalence in the U.S. also varies with geography and increases as you go further north, ranging from 1.4 percent in Florida to 9.9 percent in Alaska.  A lot of causes have been proposed, and one study looked at whether some people could be predisposed to SAD based on personality traits such as high levels of neuroticism, agreeableness, openness, and avoidance-oriented coping disorders.

I love watching football. I played football from around the age of 8 through college. Until the last two years of my college days, I lived in a cold climate, and I sometimes wonder if my love of the game and my desire to smash into another human being “hell bent for leather,” as my old football coach use to say (and in those days it was leather) had anything to do with my general disagreeableness in winter. I wonder if I had lived in Florida, would I have preferred croquet or perhaps dashing about the green lawn in my tennis shorts under the palm trees for a bit of badminton perhaps.

At this very moment, I could probably program an entire 4 hours of radio music with nothing but sad tunes such as Elton John’s “Sad Songs (Say So Much).”

I’ll have a little more on SAD, some rock and roll news and history, and the answer to the trivia question in the podcast. I hope you join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.


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