Moody Blues, Dylan, the Boss, solo Fab

Smile Away

Bob_Dylan_-_Love_and_TheftIn response to my most recent Ask Roger Anything request – you can STILL ask! – TWO music questions.

My old buddy Kevin, who grew up in my area, but who I didn’t know until college, asked:
What are your favorite albums by 1) the Moody Blues, 2) Bob Dylan and 3) Bruce Springsteen?

The Moody Blues is easy. While I have a few albums on vinyl that I haven’t listened to in forever, I never got any on CD or as downloads, except for a greatest hits CD. So the only album I can remember without looking it up is Days Of Future Passed. And I liked it not just based on its themes of dayparts, but the fact that a 1967 album could generate a hit half a decade later. Nights In White Satin went to #103 pop in 1968, but to #2 pop for two weeks in 1972.

My first favorite Springsteen album was Born To Run, the album that got him on the cover of Time and Newsweek simultaneously. And Darkness On The Edge Of Town was a very strong follow-up. Born In The USA is, naturally a great album, but I heard it a bit too often in the 1980s.

I should note that c. 2000, my late brother-in-law John asked me what I wanted for Christmas or my birthday. I said any Springsteen CD prior to 1992, most of which I had on vinyl. He bought me Asbury Park, both Born albums, Darkness, and The River, the two-record set which I had never owned.

Around 2006, my sister Leslie bought me We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. Some great songs, done well. But many of them appear in the two-CD Live in Dublin that came out in 2007, and they’re even better.

Zimmerman

Considering the vast number of Dylan CDs I now own, it’s peculiar that I never bought a Bob album in the 1960s. It’s due in part to the fact that I had belonged to the Capitol Record Club in 1966/67, where I got the bulk of my Beatles LPs, not to mention albums by the Beach Boys, Lovin’ Spoonful, and others. Bob was on Columbia. The ONLY Dylan song I owned was from a cheap compilation album, The Best of ’66, which had I Want You.

In fact, the first Dylan album I purchased was for my high school girlfriend, the double album Self-Portrait, which came out in 1970. I wasn’t impressed, and I’m not even sure whether SHE liked it.

Eventually, I bought a few LPs – John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline. But it wasn’t until CDs came out that I started to backfill my Dylan collection: Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde, and my favorite, Blood on the Tracks.

I had pre-ordered Love and Theft, which was to be released on September 11, 2001. After I left work early that day – we all did – I was riding my bike home and I went past the record store. I stopped, got the album, and stood around the store awhile as the television was recapitulating the awful news of the day.

I didn’t listen to the album for well over a week. But when I did, I LOVED it, especially the run that began with the third track, Summer Days. I played this album a lot, and it made me happy in a very sad time.

Solo Fabs

Julie, who I’ve known for a few years – I have a pic of her holding my daughter when L was a baby – wants to know:
 What is the best solo Beatles album?

Oh, my, I have been musing on this forever. Conventional Wisdom would put All Things Must Pass by George and Plastic Ono Band by John at the top of the list. These would be totally legitimate choices, especially ATMP, which proved that John and Paul underestimated their younger bandmate. I just watched Concert For George from 2002, and it reminded me just how much I loved Wah Wah.

Yet, and maybe it’s because I’ve listened to it recently, that I’m picking Paul’s (and Linda’s) Ram. Your folks would know that when it came out in 1971, it was savaged by much of the music press. Part of this was a function of the less-than-kind things John said about the album.

Really? Yes

As this 2021 review noted, “The record… saw the singer lay down a blueprint that would eventually help build some of the most notable genres around. You can trace everything from Britpop to pure jangle indie back to this record.” Too Many People, for instance, was a jab at John, much more subtle than John’s How Do You Sleep on his Imagine album.

From All Music: “In retrospect, it looks like nothing so much as the first indie-pop album, a record that celebrates small pleasures with big melodies, a record that’s guileless and unembarrassed to be cutesy. But McCartney never was quite the sap of his reputation… There’s some ripping rock and roll in the mock-apocalyptic goof Monkberry Moon Delight, the joyfully noisy Smile Away, where his feet can be smelled a mile away, and  Eat At Home, a rollicking, winking sex song.”

When I played it recently for the first time this century, I said, pretty much to myself, “Damn, I really LIKE this album!” And I remembered it amazingly well.

Oh, and I have a great affection for the Ringo album, which featured all four of them, not all at the same time. Do the Travelling Wilburys count as “solo”? Because I’d stick that first album in the mix.

Ask Roger Anything, and he’ll probably obsess about it

Of signs and the late Jim Seals

AskYes, it’s time to Ask Roger Anything. But in fact, it’s ALWAYS Ask Roger Anything time. When people ask me something on Facebook or in the comments of the blog, and I don’t know, I will probably obsess about it as I try and find out.

For instance, on June 7, if you were to search Yahoo, the first piece one would find would be my October 2021 post Musician Jim Seals is 80 and Alive. I then had people noting that his Wikipedia page listed him as recently deceased. But I couldn’t find anything definitive, which is to say, a source I recognized. ((What IS Noise 11?) Finally, Variety indicated that he had passed away.

On June 6, when I posted about a sign near my house,  someone asked where the original item was now located. Good question. I called the state library, the city Department of General Service, and several others.

One of the things I learned as a librarian is that when you keep finding people who say, “It’s not us. It could be them, but I really don’t know”, it’s time to recalibrate.

So I wrote to an Albany list on Facebook, which generated a lot of conversation about the CONTENT of the signs but not what I was looking for. So I looked at the William G. Pomeroy site; they are the people who put up the new sign. I noted that the Grant Recipient is the Pine Hills Neighborhood Association. I contacted an officer who I knew personally. They are now on the case, and I can let it go.

Getting back to the point

Knowing that I can only do so much, I’m STILL asking you all to Ask Roger Anything. It broadens my horizons, which I like to pronounce as HOR-i-zins, for some reason. What are your deep, dark secrets that you want me to psychoanalyze? I’m just as qualified as the next random person on the Internet.

I SHALL answer your questions, usually in the thirty days. Leave your questions, suggestions, et al in the comments section of the blog. OR you can also contact me on Facebook or Twitter. On Twitter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck.

I will keep your anonymity or pseudonymity. (My spellcheck LIKES pseudonymity.) E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to be unnamed. Otherwise, I’ll list your actual name.

For Lent, Ask Roger Anything

I have wisdom, I’m told

AskFor Lent, people have been giving up something. But some years ago, I heard a sermon and decided that the way, or at least, A way to go, is to take on something.

I’ve heard that some people decide to engage in random acts of kindness. That’s admirable, I suppose. I always try to engage in random acts of kindness, throughout the year. The trick is that you have to have your eyes and ears and mind open to it.

The opening of the TV show The Odd Couple came to mind. Felix Unger (Tony Randall) tries to help an older woman and the woman slugs him with the purse. Then a Boy Scout also pokes him. I don’t want to be a Felix Unger.

Part of the Ash Wednesday Prayer of Confession at my church this year includes this. “We forget that we are called, invited, and loved with all that we are—including our mess, our beauty, our faith, and our doubt.”

Especially doubt. Most sane people have it. I related to this recent John Green video titled Hard week, which incorporated grief with hope.

When Easter is on April 22

(A random fact: Ash Wednesday was on my birthday in 1962, 1973, and 1984, though I have no recollection of this. It won’t happen again until 2057 when I turn 104. I’m sure I’ll be surprised.)

I would probably have quit blogging long ago except for your likes and comments, and suggestions. I was taken but a comment to this post from December 2020 about Handel Messiah and the book of Isaiah chapter 40. And I received, this month, a response from an old FantaCo colleague who used to go by Matt: “Wow, all glory to God. Here I am researching Isaiah for a Bible study and lo and behold, it’s wisdom by my old friend and mentor Roger Green. Wow. God is great. Always wonderful to think of you Sir. Your influence on my life continues. It is now profound. Love and Grace my brother.”

I found it quite touching. And, to paraphrase Sonny Curtis, it took a nothing day, and suddenly made it all seem worthwhile.

We have all been here before

I ask y’all to Ask Roger Anything because it gets me out of my own head, and into yours. What are YOU thinking about right now? What’s going on in your life that generates such a question?

And I’ll answer your queries, generally within a month. Please leave your questions, suggestions, et al in the comments section of the blog. OR you can also contact me on Facebook or Twitter. On Twitter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck.

You may remain anonymous, or preferably pseudonymous, but you need to share that. E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to be unnamed. Otherwise, I’ll attribute the queries to you.

The last damn COVID post for 2021

OM-i-cron? OH-mi-cron?

I was compelled to write one last damn COVID post this year. And it’s a function of an error on my part. A good friend of mine asked me an Ask Roger Anything question and I failed to reply.

I have a swollen tonsil, probably allergies, but it’s been hanging on. Contacted my doctor’s office. Nurse called me back and said, “It sounds like Covid. Go get tested ASAP.”

I had gotten a test (negative) two days before bc I had been to visit The [Adult] Child.

I’m thinking the automatic Covid test recommendations are a form of CYA (Cover Your Ass) for doctors’ offices. That would skew the aggregate for reporting positive cases, no? Would love your opinion.

The question might be different now. And the truth is that I’ve been quite unclear what the US policy has been in the past two years about testing. It seems to operate in fits and starts. It is now abundantly clear now that as we focused on the stubbornly unvaxxed, we spent way too little effort on finding out who’s already infected.

The plan, scuttled

Vanity Fair reported that Biden’s White House “rejected an October plan by COVID-19 testing experts to put some 732 million at-home tests in the hands of the public.” I certainly can’t buy one from my local drug store.

“Authored by the COVID Collaborative, a group of several COVID testing expert organizations said the country needed a ‘bold’ plan to send out some 732 million tests per month for the disease before the holiday season to reduce family gathering outbreaks.

The story notes that “The plan, in effect, was a blueprint for how to avoid what is happening at this very moment — endless lines of desperate Americans clamoring for tests in order to safeguard holiday gatherings, just as COVID-19 is exploding again.”

Not that is the reality for some people. The Weekly Sift guy describes The Emotional Roots of Political Polarization. “In South Carolina, we bought the instant Covid tests that no CVS back in Massachusetts could keep in stock. When we asked about a limit on how many we could buy, the clerk looked at us strangely, as if we didn’t understand that the whole point of retail is to sell as much as you can.”

15th letter of the Greek alphabet

Omicron: we can’t even agree on the damn pronunciation. Pretty much the only new people in the US who’ll get the jab – Boris Johnson’s favorite term for the COVID vaccine – will be people getting ill with the disease.

The head of the World Health Organization has again noted that getting a third shot – or a fourth, which Israel has proposed – will only lengthen the pandemic. Certain news media, Newsmax, e.g., have spun that to suggest that getting the shot itself is bad for the recipient. The point is that if an Israeli gets a fourth jab, and someone from, say, Burkina Faso, which has 2.1% of the population with one vax, and only 1.6% with two as of December 15, the disease will continue to spread and almost certainly mutate.

Faux News hosts have compared Dr. Anthony Fauci to someone perpetrating the actual Holocaust and recommended his assassination. Oy. And, oh dear, Trump got HIS third shot. He confounds me; after helping to create the vital vaccines, he seems to lead the opposition to them.

A Los Angeles Times story – COVID stole the heart of my family. It also divided it – is behind a paywall. “The death of [reporter Brittny Mejia’s] grandmother from COVID-19 this month made her reflect on the personal toll the virus has had on her family. ‘My grandma was not vaccinated – not of her own will – and I fear it is a decision that will haunt my family and evoke anger for years.”

I’m REALLY hoping I can stop writing about the topic. It’s boring me with the too same narrative. Some hospitals are at or above capacity. Didn’t we see that movie already? Or does this one finally have a happier ending?

Things I don’t want for Christmas

ARA

I suppose I should not be ungracious. Still, there ARE some things I just don’t want for Christmas:

Arguments that the COVID vaccine is contrary to God’s will because we have “natural immunity.”

That the vaccine has a microchip in it, broadcasting to Bill Gates’ new unlisted phone number.

That the vaccine was designed to fail. Or that the disease is fake, planned by the corporatists.

More things I don’t want for Christmas:

“Proof” that climate change has been engineered by a leftwing globalist cabal designed to take our freedom
“Proof” debunking the Holocaust
And “Proof” of Bigfoot’s existence (I just don’t get the Bigfoot stuff)

I bring this up because, in the past year or two, I have received EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE, unsolicited, to my email or via Instant Messaging on Facebook. And there were many more of like persuasion. You can’t just return them to Amazon.

Illusionary superiority

Here’s an interesting article from Scientific American. People Who Jump to Conclusions Show Other Kinds of Thinking Errors. Moreover, “Belief in conspiracy theories and overconfidence are two tendencies linked to hasty thinking.”

There was a fishing experiment you can read about. “The earlier a person jumped, the more likely they were to endorse conspiracy theories, such as the idea that the Apollo moon landings had been faked. Such individuals were also more likely to believe in paranormal phenomena and medical myths, such as the idea that health officials are actively hiding a link between cell phones and cancer.”

The article was by Carmen Sanchez and David Dunning on October 15, 2021. Dunning? I remember that surname from a blog post about illusionary superiority I wrote in September of 2015. The phenomenon is “a cognitive bias whereby individuals overestimate their own qualities and abilities, relative to others… Other terms include superiority bias, leniency error… and the Lake Wobegon effect.”

Instead

If you’ve been around here long enough, you know what I really, really want. And no, it’s not the Spice Girls’ greatest hits. (Although I don’t have any Spice Girls music. Should I get some?)

I want YOU to Ask Roger Anything. It could be about Bigfoot or the Holocaust, I suppose, and why I don’t believe in the former but do believe in the latter. 

Expect answers to your questions, probably within a month. Please leave your questions, suggestions, and interpolations in the comments section of the blog. OR you can also contact me on Facebook or Twitter. On Twitter, my name is ersie. Why ersie? I’ve probably answered that before, but I could do it again if you ask. Always look for the duck.

You may remain anonymous, or better yet, pseudonymous, but you need to tell me that. E-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you wish to be unnamed. Otherwise, I’ll attribute the queries to you.

 

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