music

Offa Rex

The following is a blog post I’m sharing from another person (please see link at the bottom of the post.) I was blessed enough to buy this LP (and MP3) and have been listening to it steadily ever since. The voices, the melodies, the instruments, the lyrics, every bit is exquisite. Go out to youtube and check out more cuts, but if you want to do yourself a favor, buy this CD and get ongoing hours of enjoyment out of it.

Offa Rex, a collaboration between alt-folk vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney and indie rock stalwarts the Decemberists, released their debut LP, Queen of Hearts, today via Nonesuch Records. Check out a video for the title track below.

via Offa Rex: “The Queen of Hearts” (Video) — Christian B. Carey

art · collage

The Circus, by Albina Felski

The Circus by Albina Felski

You can regard The Circus, by Canadian-born artist Albina Felski, as a collage.  It’s a very rich one.  Ironically, I came across a photo of this magnificent work of art while cutting images out of magazines for my own collage creations.  This one was in Smithsonian Magazine I think.  I was compelled to search the internet for more about Albina Felski and sadly did not find much.  I did find out where this beauty calls home.

the circus by Albina Felski

I really didn’t want to slice and dice the photo for my collage — but I did.  You see all of the other pieces had been gathered for it and what was left to find was an audience.  It is an autobiographical piece, and the explanation will have to be left to your imagination, at least for now.  I give you my collage with Albina’s audience.  I wonder which member of the audience is her?

collage with albina felski circus less res

music

Hold Your Head Up

Argent

For some reason this song popped into my head this morning.  I love the throbbing beat of it, the vocals, and the groovy keyboard work.  That said, I have no context for this hit, which compelled me to look further.  Here you go, this is what I found.  In case you don’t know the song by name, you may know it by sound:

Here is the version that got all of the airplay, aka the lip-synched, canned version.

this is the canned, lip-synched version

Now here is a longer, uncanned version.  The sound quality is inferior but boy are they jamming on it. 

uncanned, longer version uncanned, longer version

You can hear the beauty of the lead singer’s (Colin Blunstone’s) voice.  Great keyboard solo by Rod Argent.  Time capsule and you can see the audience getting into the music.

This version came next in the youtube queue, where Rod and Colin have reformed with The Zombies.

the zombies, reformed

So weird to see a young Blunstone in one video then an older one a few minutes later.  Blunstone’s voice holds up and the Argent’s skills have also.

But who is this group Argent, besides a one-hit wonder?  I went out to see.  I learned that Argent and Blunstone were originally in The Zombies and made their marks there before creating Argent.  For you young whippersnappers, the following is one of several hits by The Zombies:

zombies hit

And another:

zombies hit

From allmusic.com, Richie Unterberger says this:

Aside from the Beatles and perhaps the Beach Boys, no mid-’60s rock group wrote melodies as gorgeous as those of the Zombies. Dominated by Colin Blunstone’s breathy vocals, choral backup harmonies, and Rod Argent’s shining jazz- and classical-influenced organ and piano, the band sounded utterly unique for its era. Indeed, the Zombies’ material — penned by either Argent or guitarist Chris White, with unexpected shifts from major to minor keys — was perhaps too adventurous for the singles market. To this day, they’re known primarily for their three big hit singles, “She’s Not There” (1964), “Tell Her No” (1965), and “Time of the Season” (1969). Most listeners remain unaware that the group maintained a remarkably high quality of work for several years.

To read more, go here:

allmusic.com biography

Wikipedia says The Zombies formed in 1961 and Argent formed in 1969. 

There you have it, a few bits of context for this kickass song.  If you would like to enrich my knowledge, please feel free to add more.

poetry · Uncategorized

#bravewarninglabelchallenge

Computer-Virus

Beware:

Sleeper nanobots, seen means inhaled unaware.

(Videodrome is real.)

Spores disperse through organism’s cavities

And invade synapses.

Many times sneezed/coughed/pissed/shat out

to fertilize i.e. contaminate other fields.

Symptoms may not be felt for days, years, or even decades later.

Or infection may be immediate.

No remedy necessary.  That’s a lie.

eulogy

Gentle on my mind

The first time hearing Glen Campbell was on an album, I believe, Gentle on My Mind.  My mom belonged to a record club and this one was one of many old style country (back then it was modern country) LPs in her collection.  I listened to this album over and over again, visualizing the open door and pathway leading up to the house and an old sleeping bag thrown behind the couch.  The other songs on the LP likewise evoked images.  The “everyday housewife” “twirling and remembering her girlhood”.  Glen and his music were a pleasant reverie in those days. 

Years later I saw him as the heroic young cowboy riding alongside John Wayne and Kim Darby in True Grit.  I can still see the buckskin he wore and how he saved a young girl from a venomous pit of snakes. 

Just last week I watched a documentary on netflix called, The Wrecking Crew, about a troupe of studio musicians in the 50s and 60s who were the unsung heroes of so many well-known musical acts under myriad labels.  Glen Campbell was one of The Wrecking Crew and maybe the only one who gained recognition as the star he was.

Over the years I’ve seen youtube videos showing Glen’s lightnin fast virtuosity with a guitar.  He made it look easy and the smile never left his face.

Today is a day of sorrow for his many fans. 

Uncategorized

On Anonymous Blogging

I’m still trying to learn how to navigate the Word Press world.  This includes trying to find new writers to follow and the proper procedure to sharing interesting writings along the way that I find.  The following is a piece I can relate to.  My start in the virtual world was signing on to AOL back in 1995.  It was when dialup was the only way to connect and aol subscriptions allotted so many minutes per month.  When one was connected to AOL the phone wouldn’t work, as this was also in the days of land lines only and cell phones were about the size of shoe boxes.  That said, the world of online journaling has morphed through the decades as well.  The following blog post talks about the bloggers’ experiences with it.

Source: On Anonymous Blogging

Uncategorized

D&D in the DOC

d&d pieces in prison

Follow the link to the article that inspired this post:

Dungeons & Dragons in the Department of Corrections

Excerpt:  A psychologist named Frode Stenseng at the University of Oslo differentiates between two types of escapism: “self-suppression escapism” and “self-expansion escapism.” The former is an avoidance tactic while the latter actively seeks new skills and strengthens character. 

As a person who has studied human behavior and human motivation for quite a few years, the above is an expanded frame of reference for me.  It gives a new spin on getting away from it all, at least in these terms.

Excerpt:  In the Singer trial, the court ruled that, “punishment is a fundamental aspect of imprisonment, and prisons may choose to punish inmates by preventing them from participating in some of their favorite recreations.”

There is so much ignorance and there are so many misconceptions about prisons, prisoners, and prison life by the uninitiated (defined as someone who has never been to, studied, worked at, or is related to a family member/loved one who has been or is in, prison) that it is easy to either forget about the incarcerated population or to believe what the headlines tell you about them.  The first big thing that needs to be known is that most of the incarcerated eventually end up back on the streets.  Prison isn’t a vortex that a person gets dropped into, never to be seen again.  Question:  would you prefer to have a person who has been treated like a human being or like an animal (just for the record, not a pampered pet animal but a factory-farmed or experimental research subject animal) come out and start living next door to you or to a loved one?

Next, statistics show that locking people up does not have a deterrent effect on recidivism; however one benefit of doing it means that the streets are safe while they are.  That said, life within walls and behind bars is not considered the streets, and crime does continue within these bounds.  Question:  how far does your lust for vengeance go when it comes to making a person “pay for” their crimes?  Can it be quantified?  One embezzlement = 3 rapes a month?  An armed robbery = 9 rapes a month?  Manufacture and delivery of marijuana = sliced by home-made shanks 4 times a year?

I’ve studied criminal justice for over 20 years and have worked in the field for almost that many.  The question of rehabilitation vs. punishment is the ever-debated question with locking someone up.  What is vitally important to understand is that your punishment is having your freedom taken away.  Period.  Half-assed serious crime gets you a decent amount of time locked up.  A major crime gets you locked up for a long time.  Multiple major crimes and you may never see the outside of the walls again.  A person incarcerated who is treated cruelly and inhumanely in any fashion is being punished twice.

The following link will take you to a lengthy piece of Pulitzer Prize- worthy journalism.  It’s written by a journalist who went undercover in a prison as a correctional officer.  You want insider’s look?  Here it is:

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard

The 8th Amendment prohibits prisoners from being treated with cruel and unusual punishment.  The following paper is a very well-reasoned plea that simply placing a person in prison is cruel.

Cruelty, Prison Conditions, and the Eighth Amendment

Let the prisoners play D&D.  It is a win from virtually every point of perspective.  The prisoners win, the guards win, society may or may not win, but the leaning is towards yes, especially if, when released, some of that socialization and “lawful good” continues in the real world.

Video:

Escaping Prison with D&D

Take a moment to see the breakdown on how many are locked up and for what.  Ask yourself how many of them really need to be locked up.

how many people are locked up

My feeling on it is that prisons need only be for violent criminals.  If the rest were released, the resources would be available to truly focus on rehabilitation as well as foundational safety and humanity for those behind bars.

Taken from one of my favorite renderings of the Tao Te Ching, “The Way of Life According to Lao Tzu”, rendered by Witter Bynner, Verse 74

Death is no threat to people

Who are not afraid to die;

But even if these offenders feared death all day,

Who should be rash enough to act as executioner?

Nature is executioner.

When man usurps the place,

A carpenter’s apprentice takes the place of the master:

And ‘an apprentice hacking with the master’s axe

May slice his own hand.’

Uncategorized

Naomi Watts as Gypsy

gypsy

I just started watching, Gypsy, on netflix a few days ago.  The blurb for description was a bit ambiguous, but it was enough to give it a try.  Here I am, 4 episodes into it.

Naomi Watts plays the role of Jean Holloway, a psychotherapist and also the wife of successful businessman, Michael Holloway, played by Billy Crudup, as well as the mother of 9 year-old daughter, Dolly, played by adorable Maren Heary. She has a mother, friends, acquaintances, a home, an office, and a neighborhood.

Similar to the seemingly ordinary landscape in the opening scene of Blue Velvet, Gypsy goes where no series or movie has gone before.  To the main character, her job doesn’t end at 5pm.  She is on the clock 24/7.  What is important to understand about the premise of the film is that it would and could never happen in real life — or let’s hope not anyway! — which makes it a perfect fantasy to indulge in.  The lead character decides to get an insider’s look into the lives of her clients.  Her professional exploits are titillating.  She’s a voyeur but then she is more.

What really knocks my socks off is the relationship Jean shares with her husband.  This is the real meat and potatoes of the show.  The dialogue between them is intelligent and insightful.  They are plausible as real people, living real lives.  As fantasy intersects reality, things get real interesting.