Aging & Music

Not long ago, Frood¹, Mr. Viva and I watched U2 perform on Saturday Night Live². And what a wonder that 40 years after U2 started making music, they still make new music! And still with the social commentary! And Bono shouts into a bullhorn!  Given that U2 may not be your cup of tea soundwise, agewise they are my contemporaries and here I shout into the internet void making music on my little orange crate with my bullhorn! But I digress.

As we watched U2, I thought of career musicians and who of the new artists I listen to now, will I listen to in 20+ years?

Looking back, the disco ’70’s Rolling Stones were old guys. To me, they were so ’60’s. And I thought ‘they should hang it up.’ But here’s the thing, they played through my adolescent derision and they played through the disco era. Forty-plus years since, the Stones still persist.  And here’s another thing, I still listen to the Disco Stones as much as I don’t listen to K.C. & the Sunshine Band. Same era, different musicians, different career arch. I’ve seen K.C. & Sunshine in concert, it was fun and they were talented but … hmmm …

Musical progression, personal reflections in the musical mirror, social and political commentary, concepts, cohesion. Not just songs but sound. Who makes a career of it and who doesn’t, who’s a pop-candy-flash-in-the-pan and who’s a full pot roast dinner? The mashed potatoes might be lumpy but the gravy is divine and oh how I love me mixed metaphors.  Again, I digress.

Early U2, the big breakout album The Joshua Tree carried the message ‘I’m-young-and-a-bit-of-an-arsehole-watch-me-change-the-world.’ The new U2 album³, The Songs of Experience messages,  ‘arseholes-aside-we-need-to-change-the-world-and-you-are-part-of-we.’  We can’t do it ourselves. We need you. We all need we.

Two albums separated by decades with the same resulting message – change the world. And all sung to the tune of U2.

Music. Follow a career. Who persists. What changes. What sticks.

I’m listening.

– Written on a Saturday morning with coffee in the Mr. Viva manroom listening to Miles Davis and The Complete Birth of The Cool, S’il Vous Plait

¹ Frood. Still not her real name, but she knows of where her towel is.

² Saturday Night Live first aired in 1975.  SNL has been around a long time, too.  Future blog post idea: Aging comedically.  And Michael Che on Weekend Update. Deadpan delivery. He persists. He consistently cracks me up.

³ Album. IMO, “album” is a throwback term related to the delivery of music on a vinyl disc played on analog equipment of a specific size, limited to a certain amount of time.  “Albums” (usually) imply a theme. As digital has taken over — I can download music through the time and space of the wireless web. A collection of songs can be organized in many ways other than artist and theme and play time limitations.

Maybe it’s time to rethink “album” terminology.  ‘B’-side anybody? If you know what THAT means, you might be of a certain age … just sayin’.

A Sundry Assortment: Winter Olympics 2018

Before I start on my sundry assortment of 2018 Winter Olympic observations, I must say that after Mueller’s indictment of Russians meddling in the 2016 election,  I tripped across the comment “It is still possible Mueller could still indict Americans for knowingly helping Russia.” ¹ (Hat Tip: WTFJHT)

And I thought: All 63,985,134 of them? Mueller might be taking names …

Bwahahaha! Okay. Enough. On to a couple itty-bitty Olympic-size observations.

Men’s Figure Skating

I happen to be liking Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir commentary. Not at first and every now and then, sure, I’d still like them to shut up. But as Mr. Viva & I watch an entire skating event, as the precision of performance on the ice goes up, their rate of commentary goes down. And when I listen to them yammer, they do know of what they speak. They have occupied Olympic ice.

Which brings me to presence. For many men,”sports” do not depend on having a “presence.” And let’s face it, the best figure skaters exude a dynamic presence on the ice. Figure skating is not about facing down an opponent or other team and overcoming by scoring more points or beating them up.

And this is why many men don’t see the sport in Men’s Figure Skating competitions. No one is tackled. No harm. No foul. There is music. There is choreography. There are not uniforms.  Individuals wear “outfits.”

No sport.

This explains a lot.

Speaking of Presence

Johnny Weir has presence in spades. He is a joy and a delight!

And I love that his hair last night in profile — swept up and back and very black — reminded me of my great-aunt Amy. And she was beautiful.

Thank you, Mr. Weir.

Pink Floyd takes the ice.

Thrown into the mix of classical music during the final skate of the Men’s Ice Skating championship last night was a skate to a Pink Floyd medley including Shine on You Crazy Diamond and Money.

And then Mr. Viva & I reflected. Pink Floyd’s song Money was released in 1973 or forty-five (45) years ago.

It a classic.

Now it’s like, classical …

Extreme Sports

Back in the day, more than 45 years ago, in black and white, I watched skiers go off the end of the ski jump and watched the official tape measurers measure the length of the jump.  And catching air and sailing, ski tips to the nose while in flight, landing with maximum distance. I was mesmerized.

I haven’t been followed the addition of new extreme winter sports to the Olympics. And so, I watch drop-jawed gobsmacked the half-pipe snowboarding and aerial freestyle skiing or whatever it’s called, events. (“The US Stunk at Winter Olympics Until Extreme Sports Came Along”)

Hurl yourself down a ski jump, flip a couple times in the air, land backward and ski to the next jump which is taken backward, perform a couple more flips, land. This is extreme. Also, the face plants into snow and ice on some spills are painful just to watch. I’m relieved when the athlete gets up and waves their arms and … they’re ready to go again? What!?

And I wonder what sports get added after Extreme Winter Sports? Extreme Winter Sports on Steroids? No, steroids are banned. Extreme Winter Sports Plus? Extreme Men’s Figure Skating? Extreme <insert event that’s not yet extreme here>?

Or maybe the Olympic Committee could consider adding age categories.  Give the ‘olds’ some medals. Extremely Old Winter Sports.  Aging out is not an option.

I mean, we can sing along to Pink Floyd.

¹ ¹Strohm, Chris. Mueller Still Investigating Possible Collusion, Source Says” Bloomberg. 16 February 2018 2:32 PM CST. Web. 17 February 2018.

NASA’s commitment to diversity in photo.

As proof of NASA’s commitment to diversity, they included an old white guy in a photo with doctors, scientists, engineers, pilots and military officers. Whoa!

And my first thought:  what is Mike Pence doing in that photo?

Answer: NASA astronauts, class of 2017, are welcomed by a representative of the Trump administration.* (These are the chosen 12 out of 18,300 applicants – 0.065% chance of selection, wow.  Pretty sure the applicant list for VP was barely even double digit … just sayin.’)

My second thought: what could these astronauts talk about with the VP?

NASA funding? Nyet.  No details.

Climate change? Nyet. Not a believer.

Anything science related? Nyet. I’m a believer.

Mrs. Pence’s beehive? Oh yes! We do need to save the bees.  

Nod and smile politely.  We do need to save the bees.

Full disclosure: I saw a headline referring to Mrs. Pence’s beehive yesterday and I immediately thought she had her hair done. In a beehive.  Mother Pence.

* Yes, Ann.  It still kills me a little to type the words ‘Trump administration.’


What a difference a vowel makes …

Whilst a-skimming and a-scrolling through the Huffington Post headlines on Monday, I read “Trump defends World Maternal Health Organization.”  What!?  Whoa.  And so I scrolled back up and the headline resolved itself into “Trump defunds World Maternal Health Organization.”  Ah.   I really need to get my eyes checked.

Defund.  Not defend.  Definitely defund.

Situation normal …