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Archive for the ‘My Mind’ Category

  For a few years now, I have been trying to decided what the greatest songs ever written are.  I am not shooting for a top 100 or throwing out honorable mentions, just a top 5.  Along with that, I don’t think a list like this could ever stay the same, it will change over time.  But here are my current top 5, Lyrics included if the song is not an insturmental.  Of course I realize no one is goignto agree with me, this is more of a personal list, but I want to throw it out there.  There is no reason for the order of this list, though number one I do think, takes the cake.

1.  Sam Cooke- “A Change is Gonna Come”   The music, the voice, the lyrics; it does not get better from this.  Beyond the fact that this song is obviously about civil rights it echoes further into an everyday fear we may all have.  There is not one person this song does not speak to.  I mean, the opening verse alone should shake your very being.

I was born by the river
In a little tent, and o
just like that river
I’ve been running ever since

It’s been a long long time coming, but I know
A change is gonna come, oh yes it will

It’s been too hard living
but I’m afraid to die
’cause I don’t know what’s up there
beyond the sky,

It’s been a long time coming, but I know
A change is gonna come, oh yes it will

I go to the movie and I go downtown
Somebody keep tellin me
don’t hang around

It’s been a long time coming, but I know
A change is gonna come, oh yes it will

Then I go to my brother
and I say brother help me please
But he wind up knocking me
back down on my knees

There have been times that I thought
I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on

It’s been a long time, but I know
A change is gonna come, oh yes it will

2. Love- “You Set The Scene”- Love as a whole, is a band that too many people have forgotten about or just plain don’t know.  This song is taken from their masterpiece of an album, “Forever Changes” which is the greatest album to ever come out of the 60’s; period.  At first the lyrics may not make much sense, but stay with it if they don’t.  The accompanying music just doesn’t get any better.  A chilled acousitc guitar heavy verse that builds into a closing no one could forget.

Where are you walking,
I’ve seen you walking.
Have you been there before?
Walk down your doorsteps,
You’ll take some more steps.
What did you take them for?

There’s a private in my boat,
And he wears pins,
Instead of medals on his coat.
There’s a chicken in my nest,
And she won’t lay,
Until I’ve given her my best.

At her request she asks for nothing,
You get nothing in return.
If you want, she brings you water,
If you don’t, then you will burn.

You go through changes,
It may seem strange. Is
This what you’re put here for?
You think you’re happy,
And you are happy.
That’s what you’re happy for.
There’s a man who can’t decide
If he should fight,
For what his father thinks is right.
There are people wearing frowns,
Who’ll screw you up,
But they would rather screw you down.

At my request I ask for nothing,
You get nothing in return.
If you’re nice, she’ll bring me water,
If you’re not, then I will burn.

This is the time and life that I am living,
And I’ll face each day with a smile.
For the time that I’ve been given’s
Such a little while.
And the things that I must do,
Consist of more than style.
There are places that I am goin’.

This is the only thing that I am sure of,
And that’s all that lives is gonna die.
And there’ll always be some people,
Here to wonder why.
And for every happy hello,
There will be good-bye.
There’ll be time for you to put yourself on.

Everything I’ve seen needs rearranging,
And for anyone who thinks it’s strange,
Then you should be the first,
To want to make this change.
And for everyone who thinks that,
Life is just a game
Do you like the part you’re playing?

I see your picture,
It’s in the same old frame.
We meet again.
You look so lovely,
You with the same old smile,
Stay for a while.
I need you so, oh, woh, woh, woh.
And if you take it easy,
I’m still teethin’.
I wanna love you, but,
Oh, woh, woh, woh, woh, woh, woh. [Echo.]

This is the time and life that I am living,
And I’ll face each day with a smile.
For the time that I’ve been given’s
Such a little while.
And the things that I must do,
Consist of more than style.
There’ll be time for you to start all over.

This is the time and this is the time.
And it is time, time, time, time, time,
time, time, time, time… [Echo.]

3. Neil Young- “From Hank to Hendrix” Yes, it is a heart breaking song, but it does it so well.  Again, even if you don’t like the song, it is very easy to connect with what the man is saying.  Very calm song with a nice burst of energy for the chorus that doesn’t disband from the rest of the song, too much; the pefect jolt or the pleading essence of the words.

From Hank to Hendrix

I walked these streets with you
Here I am with this old guitar
Doin’ what I do.

I always expected
That you should see me through
I never believed in much
But I believed in you.

Can we get it together
Can we still stand side by side
Can we make it last
Like a musical ride?

From Marilyn to Madonna
I always loved your smile
Now we’re headed
for the big divorce
California-style.

I found myself singin’
Like a long-lost friend
The same thing that makes you live
Can kill you in the end.

Can we get it together
Can we still stand side by side
Can we make it last
Like a musical ride?

Sometime it’s distorted
Not clear to you
Sometimes the beauty of love
Just comes ringin’ through.

New glass in the window
New leaf on the tree
New distance between us
You and me.

Can we get it together
Can we still walk side by side
Can we make it last
Like a musical ride?

(I could ony find a video for the acoustic version of the song from MTV unplugged which I am actually not that familiar with.  So do yourself a favor and hunt down the original from the album, “Harvest Moon” as well)

4. Leonard Cohen- “Field Commander Cohen” There are so many great Leonard Cohen songs, as there are with all the artist I mentioned so far/will mention.  This song is a very subdued soft toned wonder that still builds in sound beyond what one might think is possible.  Listen to it with some headphones on with your eyes closed and you will be transported away into the most relaxing and brilliant plane of existence there is.

Field Commander Cohen, he was our most important spy.
Wounded in the line of duty,
parachuting acid into diplomatic cocktail parties,
urging Fidel Castro to abandon fields and castles.
Leave it all and like a man,
come back to nothing special,
such as waiting rooms and ticket lines,
silver bullet suicides,
and messianic ocean tides,
and racial roller-coaster rides
and other forms of boredom advertised as poetry.

I know you need your sleep now,
I know your life’s been hard.
But many men are falling,
where you promised to stand guard.

I never asked but I heard you cast your lot along with the poor.
But then I overheard your prayer,
that you be this and nothing more
than just some grateful faithful woman’s favourite singing millionaire,
the patron Saint of envy and the grocer of despair,
working for the Yankee Dollar.

I know you need your sleep now
I know your life’s been hard.
But many men are falling,
where you promised to stand guard.

Ah, lover come and lie with me, if my lover is who you are,
and be your sweetest self awhile until I ask for more, my child.
Then let the other selves be wrong, yeah, let them manifest and come
till every taste is on the tongue,
till love is pierced and love is hung,
and every kind of freedom done, then oh,
oh my love, oh my love, oh my love,
oh my love, oh my love, oh my love.

5. Charles Mingus- “Fables of Faubus”  It is tough to really round out this list.  But this is one song that no matter how many times you hear it or whomever is trying to put their spin on it; yo have to listen.  Slow build start that pops right into the meat of the song.  It will make some dance it will make some move and some groove.  The version I put the link to is that of The Mingus Big Band, which really takes the song to new heights and cooks it.

  That is it for now.  Maybe I will come back in a few months and revise if I feel like it.  Or maybe I will expand to make an ultimate 100 list of some sort.  What are your thoughts?  Anyone want to throw some ideas out there?

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Thank You, Elbowtoe

  It is the very little things in life, that make me smile.  It may be hard to see, even if you enlarge the picture, but the quote that is crudely scribbled onto the “blank” space of this subway ad location reads, “The memory of you is never lost upon me”-Elbowtoe. 

  Now, it is nothing insanely profound or new, but there is something about sitting on a train, feeling down because I am heading to work stuck in a sweat box with a bunch of other miserable people and looking over to see something that is ultimately, the sweetest, yet,  most pointless thing in the world, to bring a smile to my face.

  Of course, it is not only something that was meant to be serious or profound that can do it.  I admit it, even the stupidest of subway humor is enjoyable to me.  For instance: 

  Nothing smart here, in fact this is very childish, but it still makes me smile and I still think it is brilliant.  I like to think I have a creative mind, yet, I would never walk past a bunch of, “Wet Paint” signs, and think of doing this.  I know the type of person who did this, they are in the station stop all the time.  On most day-to-day terms I would probably despise and ridicule this type of person, but on the day they did this; genius.

  There really is nothing more behind this post, I just wanted to share the fact that there is plenty of magic left in the NYC subway system.  For people who don’t think so, feel free to paint my wet taint.

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  If you haven’t seen it somewhere on this blog already, I am a film snob.  This doesn’t mean I only like arty films that no one understands, it really just means that I take in a whole lot more than just the visceral side of films.  So I won’t like a film just because it is action pack or has a lot of cool special effects.  I pick movies apart.  A lot of people see movies as just entertainment as if the movie is not trying to say something, like a book would.  I completely disagree of course and unless I am watching a bad spoof movie, I always look for what a film is trying to tell me, you know; a theme.

  I think it is great that “The Big Lebowski” gets so much praise from the general public.  I am a huge Coen Brothers fan and like to see them do well.  However, the fact that “The Big Lebowski” is seen by most everyone as just some funny comedy about a stoner, bowling and missing toes, does bother me a bit.  I mean, they even have Lebowski fests, where rabid fans dress as their favorite characters and watch the move in a bowling alley and recite lines along with the movie; ala, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  I wonder if any of these people looked further into what this movie truly is about; The death of the ideal of the traditional Western/American hero.

  Before the film was completed, the Coens said, they were filming their Western and that is what “The Big Lebowski” is.  But of course, The Dude, is the new age cowboy.  There is a reason the film takes place in Los Angeles, there is a reason why there are so many Gulf War/Saddam Hussein references, there is a reason the film opens up with a tumbleweed through the desert and LA landscapes, there is a reason there is a mysterious stranger/cowboy that The Dude meets at bar, or should I say saloon.  These elements are not put in just for comedy, they all have a point.

  I’ll try to make this short and not sum up each little piece of the movie in a 50 page essay.  The point of the movie is that, once America was all about the cowboy, who would come and save our skins from some terrible force and then ride back off west into the sunset, of course more precisely into the western land, symbolizing the western hemisphere’s dominance in the world.  As times changed, we idolized our solders, fighting overseas to keep the world safe from communism and other threats to personal freedom.  But in the world of The Dude, these people are no longer worth being idolized.  Cowboys are long gone in the way they are seen in out eyes and our solders are off fighting for oil, not freedom.

  This is where The Dude comes in.  The new heros of our land are the common man, who will out of nothing more than a good conscience go and aid a man who looks poorly upon the common man, with his kidnapped wife.  The Man who will help out a woman, who is practically a complete stranger, (whom had a very large man punch you in the face) conceive a child.  The man who will still stand by a friend who constantly provides the common man with poor misguided advice that spirals him deeper into a Kafkaesque world of  absurdity.  The man who will take the time in the middle of all this ridiculous crap to hold up the promise of seeing his land lord’s, one man interpretive dance performance.  The Dude.

  But there is another message layered in here.  This is a story about how we have forgotten our past/bastardized it.  Driving his car after it is retrived from being stolen, The Dude finds out that it was a high school kid who stole his car, via some poor homework he discovers within the vehicle.  The Dudes friend Walter, informs The Dude that this kid’s father was the Creator and Author of over 150 episodes of the TV Western classic, “Branded”.  When they arrive at home of, Arthur Digby Sellars, they find him to be dying, encased in an iron lung.  So here, in front of these men, is a man that they view as a legend, a man who wrote about the great western period America, no matter how embellished it may have been and not only he is being kept alive by a massive contraption that breathes for him, but his son can not even write a passing grade worthy paper, on American History.  Our past is dying, if not already dead and we are letting it wither away.

  Of course though, The Dude himself, is not perfect and is, in his own way, guilty of warping the past.  When The Dude, meets the character or   The Stranger, he is treated to an old American Proverb.  Now, I don’t want to assume that everyone  in the world does not know what is being said, but from talking to people about this, I believe most people hear this, “Sometimes you eat the BAR and well sometimes, the BAR, well he eats you”.  Of course, the real saying has the word, BEAR, in place of the word Bar.  It is simply The Strangers accent that makes you hear it one way instead of the other.  And when it comes time for The Dude to use this saying himself, not only does he say BAR, but he can’t even complete the phrase.  Now, this is also there to illustrate this movement from an older hero to a new one, but it is still a bastardization of what, once was.

  There is so much more to go into when it comes to this movie, but as I said, I am trying to write a blog post not an essay.  If would love to discuss this further with anyone else and would hope everyone out there really digs deep into the true meanings of the movies they see.  I am sure I already made no sense in my condensed explanations of this particular movie, but hey, sometimes you eat the bar…

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  I am not a very religious person.  I am one who feels that organized religion was/is/will be what causes the ultimate end of our world. 

  I was raised Jewish, went to Hebrew School and had a Bar Mitzvah.  After that was over, I gave it all up, only to make sure I was respectful on the holidays when I was with my family.  I often say I am Jewish, for two reasons.  One, it is a hilarious thing to say out of nowhere when no one is talking.  Two, because some how, some where, there is some crazy rule that if your mother is Jewish, then you are Jewish.  I don’t understand that one bit, it is just a religion.  I have no problem if someone wants to follow their faith, no matter how critical I may be of their beliefs.  Just don’t try to push your beliefs on me and I won’t do it to you; to a point.

  Now as I stated, I am not religious at all, but I am bothered when people are extremely ignorant and will fall back on my semi-judiasm, if needed.  For instance, if I am out in the month of December buying something from a store and the clerk tells me to have a Merry Christmas, it bothers me.  Why would you assume that everyone who walks by you, buys into your way of thinking.  But I digress, because the purpose of this post, is to tell you all about a little incident that happened to me at work this afternoon.

  I was sitting and eating lunch when a co-worker, who will remain anonymous, came over to me and asked me, “What Jewish holiday is on the 20th”.  She, it is a woman, knows I am not a religious person, but I guess suspected I would still know the answer.  Now, unless it is Passover, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashannah or Chanukah; I do not know, I don’t even know how to properly spell them.  So I told her, “I really don’t know”.  Her response was, “Yeah you do, it is one of their crazy ones“. 

  It took every last inch of whatever will power I had in my body to remain civil, as this is a place of business.  I could have easily stood up and said, “Oh yeah, the crazy one; is that where everyone hides eggs and worships rabbits?”, as I so wanted to.  Or maybe, “Is that the crazy holiday based on a book where somebody lives inside a whale for a week?”  It should be noted I chose those two examples as this person is Catholic.

  I am a cynical bastard, I know it.  But can you really fault me for being bothered by this?  I mean, this is not the first run-in I have had with this person, dealing with many issues.  But, I am always respectful and won’t let things get out of hand.  But everyday, on a grander scale, the world is being devoured by religion and it has to stop. 

   I would keep writing, but you all know what I want to say already.  I just wanted to relay this story to you all.  Now that I got that out of my system, I think I am going to read a book, I heard this “Dianetics” thing is a good read.

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Pennies from Heaven

I don’t want this to turn into a political discussion. This is not meant to become a discussion about specific views or ideals. I just want to throw my two cents in (pun intended) on how to solve any future economic crisis or let’s say, pay for health care reform. Those who know me well have heard me say all this before, but since I decided to start this blog, why not put it here.

So let’s get the two obvious solutions out of the way. Legalize and tax marijuana/legalize and tax prostitution. Since both of those will never happen, we will move on. Now, maybe there is some sort of bill out there that prevents this type of action from taking place, I am not sure. Maybe it is too simple and it is just overlooked. Maybe there is no real way to regulate this procedure where it wouldn’t be taken advantage of. No matter what the case, here it goes.

We all know the “popular” way to increase government funds is to raise taxes. That usually just causes an uproar and discord around the nation. So this idea is a way to raise taxes with out it really making anyone throw a hissy fit. Just take every single taxable item in the entire U.S. and just add a penny. That penny of course will be counted as a federal tax. So your receipt will read; $10 for whatever item it is you bought, .86 for state tax and .01 for federal tax.

Under that thinking, if 1 Million people in one day bought 1 item each, that would generate $10,000. Now that is only 1 Million people and only buying one item each, in one day. Imagine the numbers if the entire nation bought 10 or more items a day, the outcome would be tremendous and of course, you know there are plenty of people who are going to buy more than 10 items a day.

There has to be something wrong with the idea for this to have never happened. But I want a shot at making it a reality. So here is what I need from everyone who reads this. After you are done, make sure your friends read it and then make sure they know when they are done that they have their friends read it, and so on. Then maybe it gets so big that CNN or NPR or someone picks up the story/idea and it gets heard. Whether it helps every American obtain healthcare or surges the economy to help create jobs, it doesn’t matter.

Then again, I am probably just crazy and missing the big picture somewhere and I really should be rolling up all the pennies under my bed so I can afford that haircut I desperately need.

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Sex and Candy…Literally

  Really?  No, I did not set this up my self; this is an actual counter display I witnessed, two days in a row, at the Duane Reade on Continental Avenue in Forest Hills.  If you are having a tough time seeing it, this is a display of; “Twilight: New Moon” chocolate bars placed right next to a display of Trojan 2 Go, condoms.

  Did I miss when we as a culture jumped the shark of thinly (and I mean amazingly thin) disguising how we sell sex to kids?  Of course, this is not just selling sex to kids, but a ploy for a young man to buy that special underage girl he is with a nice little treat to coax her into the back seat of his car a little easier. “Hmm, might need these condoms if she isn’t too cool, and hey, what is this…she must love Twilight…”

  You know, even if I am being too cynical, it just isn’t right to put a pile of chocolate with the Twilight brand all over it, right next to a pack of condoms, I mean, how is someone not up to something there?  Maybe some smart ass kid did it, who knows, but I would bet a million years before I saw it, a very angry mother would have and caused a massive scene and complained to the highest level assistant manager she could find to get it taken down.  I know my mother would have.

  Our society is of course, built on drawing people in with one thing and then turning them onto something else.  For instance, you, dear reader, probably saw the word, SEX, in the header of this post, or Twilight or Chocolate.  What you didn’t realize though, was that this is just my elaborate plan to tell you my friend, Evan La Ruffa has just launched his new Web Magazine.  Starting as a blog, Evan’s “I Paint My Mind” is now a full fledged one stop hot spot for art, music, photography and anything else that will stimulate the creative senses of your mind.  Go check it out; http://ipaintmymind.org.  Enjoy; now for some chocolate.

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  America is the land of double standards.  Everyone is guilty of it, I will not exclude myself.  I can be a huge hypocrite at times, I know it, but at least I can recognize it.

  I recently had a discussion with my brother, stemming from his refusal to watch Lars Von Trier’s, “Anti-Christ”.  Now for those of you who don’t know, “Anti-Christ” is a pretty controversial movie that came to light to a lot of people when it first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival a year ago, as well subsequent film festivals.  No one really cared to mention what the movie was about, just the fact that is contained very graphic genital mutilation and a few other very gory items.  At each screening there were walkouts; at the screening I was at, there was a couple behind me that  walked out before the actual gore started.  I was going to see the film no matter what was in it, I am a very big fan of Lars Von Treir’s work.  His film Europa, (which was called Zenropa when it was first released in America), is my favorite modern, foreign film.

  Anyway, as I was saying.  My brother refuses to watch the movie.  His refusal is based on more than just the gore, but my big problem was his love and adoration for Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”, a film that contains multiple scenes of people being scalped, a 10 minute tommy gun massacre with blood spurting left and right, and the cous de gras; a very detailed, close-up and bloody graphic scene of a swastika being gorged into someone’s forehead.

   We live in a world where people are obsessed with “Saw” movies, only because they want to see what inventive way someone thought up for a person to be brutally murdered and where someone can sit though an hour watching stupid American’s party it up in Europe or some other overseas destination in a “Hostel” movie, just to get to the last half an hour of people being tortured.

    I am not saying there is no controversy around these movies either, but because they are made by hollywood hot shots and big budget movie houses that know how to market the worst of the world to the hungry blood craven audiences; they get a pass.  I remember reading someone’s comment on an article about “Anti-Christ” where some one said, “This is the reason I am scared to ride the subway.  Thinking I would be afraid to run into the type of person who would see a movie like this”.  I am not going to suspect this person watches any other  type of movie that might contain some sort of gore or violence toward another person that is cartoonish or overly menacing, but my god, I am all of a sudden a sadistic murderer in this person’s eyes, because I saw a movie.

   You don’t have to see “Anti-Christ” if you don’t want to and you don’t have to like it if you do see it.  But you can’t honestly tell me how horrible it is or how atrocious it is, if you haven’t seen it; especially if you rave to me about something that can be just as bad.  The fact of the matter is, while it may be horrible, the things that happen in “Anti-Christ” speak to the theme of the movie and are actually important to the plot and overall point of the film;  they are symbolic.  While the things that happen in “Inglorious Basterds” are pure sensationalism and nothing else.

   I really could go on and on about this, but I really have to get back to chopping up this hobo I coaxed into my apartment.  I hope he tastes better than the last one.

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