It doesn’t matter much to me

Let me take you down

It doesn't matter much to meNearly four decades after his death, there’s an inordinate interest of What If? when it comes to John Lennon. Quite often it comes from people who were born after the Beatles broke up, or even after John died.

If he had lived, would he have left Yoko? One can find theorists suggesting that he would, that their marriage was a sham. The thought was that once he started writing music again, he was regaining his inner strength. Eventually, after Double Fantasy, or maybe the followup, he’d leave her.

Of course, the Beatles reunion is always at the heart of this sort of speculation. John was fond of some songs on McCartney II in 1980, Paul’s first album sans Wings in a decade.

George had a modicum of commercial success. His first album after the murder, Somewhere in England, contained a tribute to John. His album after that, 1982’s Gone Troppo, was not a big hit. Ringo had had all three on his various albums, although not simultaneously. So I suppose a reunion might have been possible.

Now you know I remain a massive Beatles fan. When my sisters and I lipsynched to the songs of Beatles VI in 1965 for the neighbor kids, I was always John. Lennon was always my favorite Beatle. I was devastated by his death.

Let me take you down

Yet I find all the speculation is not at all interesting. As he wrote, “It doesn’t matter much to me.” So I don’t have much of an opinion on which songs would be on a 1981 Beatles album if there had been such a thing.

For one thing, the interaction among them would have been far different than it was in 1969. Would they even get along in the studio again? Does George get more songs? Who knows? NOBODY and no one ever will.

Enough grumpiness. Some songs:

BEATLES
Ticket to Ride
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
Norwegian Wood
Rain
Tomorrow Never Knows
Strawberry Fields Forever; “It doesn’t matter much to me”
I Am the Walrus, from LOVE
Come Together

SOLO
I’m Losing You
Nobody Told Me

Robert Freeman, the longtime photographer for the Beatles, died. He had an exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art. “The complementary exhibition, THE BEATLES: Community Stories, from December 21, 2002 through March 2, 2003, is an… exhibition that celebrates the Fab Four with a selection of memorabilia on loan from Capital Region residents.

“From toys to tea towels, from posters to photographs, from autographs to collectibles…you’ll see it all at the Albany Institute.” I had but one magazine, but I also brought in some bootleg LPs and The Beatles in Italy.

Married one score: the first year was the hardest

Carol and Roger
Carol and Roger, June 2018
Carol and I got married 20 years ago. Maybe a decade ago, I told her I thought the first year was the hardest, and I’ll stand by that.

After we got married, we moved into the first floor of the two-apartment house she owned. One of the very few things our then-pastor said that turned out to be sage is that we should move into another place that was ours.

Carol didn’t understand. She was making room for my stuff. But that was just it; she was making room in HER place for MY stuff. And not all of it; a love seat I had purchased only a couple years before, one of the first pieces of real, new furniture I ever bought I gave away.

Squeezing my stuff in was tedious. I had a dresser on top of a dresser, after some cable station guy – maybe on HGTV – said that to fit everything in, you must build “up, up, UP!”

In July 1999, she went on a trip to Scotland with her college friend, an excursion she had planned before we were engaged. I encouraged her to go. But being alone in that space, with its specific creaks and noises was rather unsettling.

We had gotten married at our United Methodist Church. But by February, after “the troubles” had taken hold, we spent two weeks at Emmaus Methodist with the Hispanic gathering that had booted out of Trinity, against the specific wishes of the congregation.

Then, since the Trinity choir was still banned from singing, I started sitting in at the choir at First Pres. But Carol went back to attending Trinity, keeping up with the gossip.

Meanwhile, we were house shopping. We found a house we REALLY liked in the fall, but the hidden water damage in a wall caught in the inspection made that a no go. Finally, the house we now live in went down in price and we bought it.

i went to the closing, without Carol, but with a cashier’s check. Our lawyer had miscalculated the amount due and I was $1800 short; talk about angina. I borrowed money from somewhere, maybe a credit card, to close on May 8, 2000, a week shy of our first anniversary.

After surviving that first anxiety-prone year, I figure we can get through anything. Happy anniversary, my dear.

A fortnight of years of blogging

“There is only one characteristic that distinguishes writers from non-writers: writers write. (That’s why there’s no such thing as an ‘aspiring writer.’)

14 ballIt’s another anniversary at Ramblin’ with Roger. If 14 days is a fortnight, is fourteen years a fortnight of years? Probably not. Don’t care. (Not to be confused with Fortnite, which I’ve never played.)

You may have noticed that I’ve changed the look of the blog in the past month or so. This was not done for aesthetic reasons but rather operational ones. My old design was clashing with some PHP function – too boring to explain, frankly.

So I changed to some WordPress in-house style called Twenty Sixteen. I like that it does the pull quotes, that the comments are on the side, and the basic clean look. I need to tweak it eventually.

Of course, earlier posts may look “off” – pictures too wide, notably. But I don’t foresee changing the previous output any time soon.

I came across this article called The State of Blogging: Post Length and Publishing Frequency Trends. “The proportion of bloggers who typically write posts under 500 words has steadily declined since 2014.” The vast majority of my posts are under that threshold.

“…while the proportion of bloggers who typically write posts longer than 1,000 words has steadily increased.” I doubt I have five posts TOTAL out of over 5000 that have over a thousand words. I am a blogging dinosaur; so be it.

I am occasionally reminded why I blog. One of the factors was the Inaugural post of the late Steve Gerber, who wrote, among other things, The Defenders, Howard the Duck, and Man-Thing.

He wrote back on April 4, 2005: “There is only one characteristic that distinguishes writers from non-writers: writers write. (That’s why there’s no such thing as an ‘aspiring writer.’ A writer can aspire to sell or publish, but only non-writers aspire to write.)”

Less than a month later, I started this blog, which proves that I am susceptible to suggestion. It makes me a good hypnosis subject and a dogged daily blogger.

Image by wisconsinpics from Pixabay

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, or just Leonardo

The Last Supper was redone by such diverse artists as Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol.

leonardoLONG before Cher, Madonna or Beyonce, Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519) was simply the single-named Leonardo. He was “an Italian polymath of the Renaissance whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture.”

His art is STILL in the news. From the 31 March 2019 New York Times: “It’s the most expensive painting ever auctioned. Now there’s no sign of it… Since a Saudi royal, most likely the crown prince, paid $450 million for ‘Salvator Mundi,’ it has vanished from view.”

People throw around the term “Renaissance man” to describe someone who is interested in many topics. Leonardo is the OG of the term, and during the period, no less. “He was a painter, architect, inventor, and student of all things scientific.”

Leonardo was “a man whose seemingly infinite curiosity was equalled only by his powers of invention. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.”

You can read about the guy born in Anchiano, Tuscany from History.com or the Museum of Science or Britannica or a slew of other places.

Still, he’s best known for two works: the Last Supper (1495–98) and Mona Lisa (c. 1503–19). You can tell the impact of a cultural icon by the sheer number of parodies and remakes.

The Last Supper was redone by such diverse artists as Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol. “Sculptor Marisol Escobar rendered [it] as a life-sized, three-dimensional, sculptural assemblage using painted and drawn wood, plywood, brownstone, plaster, and aluminum. This work, Self-Portrait Looking at The Last Supper, (1982–84) is in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

The Mona Lisa has been described as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.” Dalí and Warhol are among the many caricaturists.

As we approach the 500th anniversary of his death, I invite you to rediscover Leonardo.

Robert Kennedy: 50 years post-assassination

There were 13 shots fired, but Sirhan’s gun only held eight bullets.

RFK, 1964
As I’ve mentioned in this blog, I wasn’t a big fan of Robert Kennedy when he ran for President in 1968. Among other things, I didn’t trust him as Attorney General under his brother John and briefly under Lyndon Johnson, mostly over the purported FBI stalking of Martin Luther King Jr.

I didn’t support RFK running for US Senate from New York. But being only 11 in 1964, I didn’t have much of a say in the matter. He won, of course, beating out a perfectly nice moderate Republican named Ken Keating, back in the days when there WERE moderate Republicans.

Still, I was up extremely late watching the results of the California primary on June 4/5, 1968 when Bobby Kennedy declared victory. “On to Chicago!” A short time later, as I was finally getting ready for bed, I heard what turned out to be shots fired, followed by pandemonium.

So many people I knew were devastated by the news of his shooting and eventual death on June 6. As were people I never knew: The busboy who cradled a dying RFK has finally stepped out of the past, for example.

Now, 50 years later, Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son Robert Kennedy Jr. doesn’t believe it was Sirhan Sirhan. While RFK Jr. can have views I don’t subscribe to – autism from vaccines, e.g. – it seems that, at bare minimum, he and his sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend are correct that Sirhan could not have been the only shooter.

There were 13 shots fired, but Sirhan’s gun only held eight bullets. Sirhan faced RFK, but the fatal shots were to the back of Bobby’s head.

It’s interesting that, while there were many people milling around the Senator, the details get lost in the trauma of the moment. This killing, along with that of his brother Jack, will be fodder for conspiracy theories, quite possibly for the next half century.