The Effin Eagles: All I ever needed to know I found in a friggin Don Henley song

So I have been turning this old gem,“The Heart of the Matter” by Don Henley, over in my head for a while now. I have been bemused at why exactly Don Henley keeps jumping into my head and I think is about…add nausea…forgiveness.
I am just like Jeff Lebowski in one of the greatest movies of all time, The Big Lebowski, when he utters his contempt for the band, the Eagles, and almost gets thrown out of a cab. *If you have not ever viewed said movie stop reading this blog now and never read it again until you watch this movie at least 3 times from beginning to end.
I know they are great, the Eagles that is, and I am not fragging on them to be hip or cool but frankly I am on Eagles overdose and have been for a long, long time. I think it was the drunken requests of Hotel California at too many Frat parties of my salad days. Or perhaps how they were the greedy corporate counterpoint to Pearl Jam’s valiant battle with Ticket Master back in the days. They are a great band. I am not doubting that but darn I am sick of listening to them. But yet I am still stuck with this darn Don Henley song in my head, which granted is not a part of the Eagles canon.
But after an internal review, as the thing has constantly been running on replay in my neural cortex for weeks now, I think it is trying to tell me something, and admittedly something which we all could learn a thing or two.
Here are some of the lyrics:
I got the call today
That I didn’t wanna hear
But I knew that it would come
An old, true friend of ours was talkin’ on the phone
She said you’d found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?
I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes

The Part above is not necessarily what is speaking to me. I get it. Don Henley or his songwriter persona has realized his pages have turned with a former love. But the next part really speaks to the…er…Heart of the Matter:

The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

Yep he is really onto something there.

Ah…these times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
Ah…the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They’re the very things – we kill I guess…
Ohh pride and competition
Cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us
You know it doesn’t keep me warm
I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you, baby
And the more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I’d figured out
I have to learn again
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it’s about…forgiveness
Even if, even if, you don’t love me anymore
There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby; cause’ life goes on
If you keep carryin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside, baby
I’ve been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me
I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I’m thinkin’ about forgiveness
Even if, even if, you don’t love me…
Forgiveness (yeah)
Forgiveness (baby)
Forgiveness (ohh)
Forgiveness (ahh yeaaahhh)
Forgiveness (ohh)
Even if, you don’t love me anymore…

Trite? Maybe but the song has been worming around in my brain hole for some reason and I think Mr. Henley is nailing one of the truest sentiments we all need to embrace or more importantly allow ourselves to let go of. We have to forgive and go on with our lives. Carrying around anger and the pain that comes with it is like carrying all these fairly to moderately sized rocks around with us and what is a boulder? One big rock! Enough fairly or moderately sized rocks and this becomes a boulder too cumbersome to lug around with any semblance of peace or happiness.
You find the gems in the strangest places. Thanks Mr. Henley. So now that I have waxed on your late 80’s greatness perhaps now your song will leave me alone and quit popping up in my brain. Or perhaps it will stay with me and keep me honest with myself to do the very thing these lyrics insist I must.
I still am not going to like the Eagles though.


Stumbled Upon the Future

If you want to get your mind completely blown away check this out.

I stumbled upon this doing one of my many searches about he coming singularity and was absolutely astounded. This site, granted, is very speculative but what it does is offer a timeline of the future, with some very not so pleasant and some very encouraging things which lay in store for humanity or what is left of it after all is said and done. If this model is even close to correct earth is in for some things unimaginable.

I will recap some of the things which struck me as an American:

* Goodbye SW USA. The Mexicans will eventually lay claim back to you in about 2082. And good riddance by the way because you will be mostly desert by then. But seriously the US took California, Texas, NM, and Arizona from them anyway.

* Our military is going to be up to some SCI-FI movie type stuff. Mainly things which make unmanned drones and GPS strike capability look like paper, rock, and scissors. Invisibility and missiles that fall from outer space are just a couple.

* Everyone will be moving to the North. Apparently due to climate change if you live below he Mason Dixon Line you had better be prepared to move or be very resourceful.

*They are even predicting some WWII soldiers will still be alive to commemorate the war’s 100 anniversary. Hmmmf!

And as a general human on this planet

* The merging of man and machine

* AI technology which will serendipitously take over the whole shooting match by the 23rd century.

* The world is basically stay on the brink of total destruction

* Urban areas are going to become even more URBAN with sky scrapers spanning city blocks and reaching thousands of feet into the sky. They will also house millions of residents and most will never have to leave the complex. Sounds exactly like Soylent Green. Not cool.

* They claim that most people born in the 1960’s have a real shot at seeing a life span of 200 years. WOW!

* Remember the Terminator? You are going to become him on some level.

These and many more earth shattering predictions can be yours for…well… free if you have internet access which I assume you do if you are reading this.

*** One final caveat: if these words somehow make it into the future where humans can do just about anything could someone please make sure and bring me back in some way so I can see it. I am not opposed to one of those synthetic bodies you have in your future. Thanks


Fare the well Andy Griffith

Just found out Andy Griffith has passed. I am hard pressed to think of any individual as positively influential as Andy. Of course he was the genuine Andy Taylor from the Andy Griffith show and this will be the most powerful element of his legacy.
There are however some other gems which I am often surprised his “fans” miss out on.
Andy Griffith’s best work to me was in Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd.” It often makes me wonder, while watching this masterwork, how different would we view Andy if he had kept with this direction, more serious dramatic roles, which he was very powerful as. But also without Mayberry we would have missed one of the most iconic slices of Americana nostalgia ever created. At least we have examples of his other capabilities.
So long Andy You will truly be missed.

OK This bugs me enough that I blogged about it

I was raised, probably just like everyone else, with the ethos “if you haven’t got anything nice to say”, you know the rest. And I also know I am treading on thin ice with what I am about to write but it has irked me for years that I am just bound to “do a little number” about a song. Let me preface this with: I am not being negative in the slightest and I have nothing personally against what I am about to wax on here and do not know the creator of what I am going to write about in the next 600 or so words. And I doubt they would care one way or the other but much like John Lee Hooker in Boogie Chillun “it’s in him and it’s just got to come out.” I personally do not like the song “Walking in Memphis.” Here is why.

It rubs me the wrong way and has for years. This is nothing new, I did not like it the first few thousand times I heard it. It rubs me the same way that people hear “Free Bird” or “Sweet Home Alabama” and assume that the rest of the rednecks yelling the lyrics out encapsulates me as a southerner. And it rubs me, oh man does it rub me, the wrong way when people use it as some sort of sound track for their first experience in Memphis.

I have been to Disney (East and West) and did not walk around, through my entire experience humming “It’s a Small World.” The song itself is OK and passable so I am not slamming the writer, it “ain’t” his fault and he has no control of what others do after it is released but people, for god’s sake, “Walking in Memphis” is way down on the list of songs you should associate with Memphis.

I get that the tourism board probably loves it and I don’t blame them, it is made to order as far as a tourist song goes. I am very sure the writer of the song loves it and has reaped a just reward. I have no problem with this. The Don Corleone mindset (“It makes no difference, it don’t make any difference to me what a man does for a living, you understand.”) is my view. Yet for the rest of you, do some homework and realize Memphis is a deep, ocean deep, place filled to the brim with culture. It is a Mecca. So much art has been created, unique to American culture, it boggles my mind and I have done my homework, my entire life and still learn things that still amaze and humble my soul.

So I am not attacking the song. Its lyrics are a bit trite for my taste yet also I get it. The guy was stupefied by his experience and I think this is probably a very honest response and in song no less. Just for the rest of you please, pretty please, do not make it the soundtrack for your journey to Memphis.
Read this book:
Deep Blues by Robert Palmer
or this book
It Came From Memphis by Robert Gordon
Listen to these songs:

Booker T. Laury Memphis Blues
This goes to the very heart of Memphis music. It is its history and captures one of the greatest barrelhouse Piano players ever.

Booker T. and the M.G.sGreen Onions
There are tons of Stax songs and I encourage anyone to dive in but if I had to pick one I thought captured the sound it’s gotta be this one.

And I would suggest going to Sun Studios

The Stax Museum
Of course there is the King and Graceland
but also for an alternate take on where Memphis Music is now you might want to give a listen to Jack Oblivion who has done and is doing some very interesting music.
Memphis is basically stacked with history and culture unlike any other place in the world. Just don’t let one song from one guy temper your vision before visiting the Bluff City.

* Also for the record I love me some Lynard Skynard, the original boys. Just so you know.

Proof that I am not a John Mayer HATER

I posted this on my old Myspace Blog site almost 4 years ago to the date:

Originally posted on July 2nd, 2008
John Mayer: I just don’t get the FLACK this boy gets!

Current mood:confused
Let me credit this with the fact that I have not listened to commercial radio for a LONG TIME!
I have heard some people say some disparaging things about John Mayer and I just don’t get it. I understand that many “blues purists” are angry because he is getting blues credit and somehow angry that he does not deserve it.
From where I sit this cat has or had nothing to gain from getting into and supporting the blues as he has done. He could have went on his merry way and continued making the same thing he did on his first album, which was one of the last things I remember hearing on Lightning 100 (NASHVILLE) before I left there in 2003.
I wrote him off with the slew of other singer songwriters of the time, post 9-11 boys, and then I dropped out of listening to radio and not because I was affronted, VOLKSWAGON radios are hard to replace!!!!!
And lets face it I am not John Mayer!

But from my side of the house, after actually properly listening to his newer things, due to someone I love loving his pretty self, I considered what he does.
Here is goes:
1) He understands the Blues or he would not still be at the level he is
2) The boy (man-child) can play that guitar
3) Bless Him for making acknowledgment of something that was not “cool” to the general public.

The cat gets it and that is all I have to say about it!