MCMLXXVI Rock and Roll Heart

Happy holidays! I am not very sure there is a great deal I could consider that hasn’t been investigated by different bloggers about how 2020 has been. It’s been a revolution.

Courts declared this week that Microsoft is defeated at the moment, in a lawsuit concerning the price of their systems and office software suites between the years 1998, and 2010. I don’t want to say the digital revolution was like 1995, or 1998, or 2010 or 2020 or any clearly-stated signpost like that. By revolution, I just mean it’s a lot easier now to be taking to the streets, with the Internet in place.

Photo by Kristin Hardwick from StockSnap

I trust your Christmas is a cheerful one this year. I experienced what has been like moments of rage this weekend (after I’d written the best part of this post).

I got to feeling torn up. I don’t know why.

One evening, the other day, I’d got to feeling, oddly, like how I did when I was an unfulfilled young person, feeling regret at letting time go, without, you could say, stopping to smell the roses.

Also this week, the YouTube channel for the Star Wars movies commemorated forty years since Episode IV The Empire Strikes Back made its premiere in 1980, although something tells me it was a springtime premiere. The next day the channel continued to remind people that Star Wars is a big tradition, VII The Force Awakens in 2015, VIII The Last Jedi in 2017, and, IX The Rise of Skywalker a year ago now.

Darth Vader and the Death Star

It was kind of weird to think about The Rise of Skywalker being in theatres an entire year in the past. Things have certainly changed.

Now, with Christmas right around the corner, Song Lyric Sunday is here, a great blog hop organized by Jim Adams, for like-minded bloggers. For Sunday, December 20, Jim’s prompts include a circle. https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/12/19/the-shape-im-in-2/

Song Lyric Sunday is itself a circle, what I think of as a blog hop. A blog hop is when bloggers post at the same time on the same subject, like when college kids do a pub crawl, where they go from bar to bar, to have drinks.

Jim has blogged this year a little about the impact of a blog hop (versus what I’d term an award crawl). His thoughts were couched in the language of how it is that an award crawl can be a little useless.

By award crawl, I mean when bloggers nominate each other to share an award, and to express appreciation. It’s a phrase I’m using to describe how that is.

A blog hop is effective because it isn’t just commending one another. A blog hop is a social experience, a little fun if you blog.

About music, to be a famous musician is a powerful fantasy. I regard exciting music or any sort of expert musicianship. On Wednesday this week, Rolling Stone published an article saying that music journalism on TikTok might be more and more important in the future. Rolling Stone pointed out that Generation Z kids in 2020 listen to music on Spotify and TikTok.

Jim’s prompt circle reminded me of the late, great Lou Reed’s song Vicious Circle, on the album Rock and Roll Heart. In 1976, Reed’s first album with Arista Records followed the records he did for RCA after The Velvet Underground ended, and was kind of immediately enjoyable for a casual listener, though Reed seems to flirt again on Rock and Roll Heart with self-destruction, not unlike what a depressed but notable musician can be like. A couple of times I’ve watched a TV interview with Reed in Australia recorded 1975, not all that long before Rock and Roll Heart, where Reed seems unhappy.

Reed tries a joke about the tyrant Adolf Hitler, calling him a great organizer. The question energetically admonishes him. I think Reed was obliquely referring to Andy Warhol, who managed him as a musician before Reed made an album.

A few people can’t avoid that zeitgeist, and for me, also, it’s enchanting. Reed is a championed rock guitarist and singer who is seldom rivalled, given the influence of his personality.

He is gone, but when I was in college, one long-haired, heavyset history teacher taught us a little about him, calling Reed, “the godfather of punk.” In the library, I found a little book about subculture, music subculture in the nineteen seventies, and I put energy into understanding it.

Lou Reed’s New York

Because, with the impact of Warhol, in the nineteen sixties, of the acclaim of The Velvet Underground, that was after they ceased making music together, as a group, but, regardless, songs of theirs began to be popular.

When I went into the HMV store in New York City, HMV the chain of CD shops where you went if you wanted music, in the days when you bought music on physical media, the Velvets were well-advertised, as in giant letters the store announcing, “The Velvet Underground.” You knew it was their town.

Related

HMV owner’s dramatic Christmas warning: ‘Let’s all use high streets – or Amazon will be the last shop left’

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-8972967/Use-high-streets-Christmas-urges-owner-HMV.html

Years before I was born, Lou Reed had a Top 20 hit, contributing to the new popularity of both Reed, and consequently the Velvets. The most popular song by Reed is a song I first heard on FM radio, cruising the streets of my town, probably for no particular reason, or for no good reason.

Lou Reed a Life by Anthony DeCurtis

I didn’t know who that singer was, on the radio, until I heard the song again, as though it were still 1972, in some kind of Doctor Who-type parallel universe. I still didn’t know whom it was singing like that, but eventually, a friend of a friend listened to me describe the song, and he knew who it was, given a moment (between thought and reflection).

I was in a circle, then, being a kid in high school, dealing with pressures that are specific to what I think is most kids’ experience. It wasn’t vicious, by the way, just sayin’.

The song Vicious Circle could be about having social pressures, like specific patterns ingrained in you to run up against a wall. The song is less uptempo than most of the songs on Rock and Roll Heart. I am not sure the better part of Reed’s listeners would embrace music like his, if they didn’t feel, at least from time to time, that the intrigue about the music was coming from a place touched by despair.

There are stories about Lou Reed, when he was the frontman of the Velvets, like that he played Woodstock in ’69, but nobody could hear the sound. I don’t think the Velvets did play Woodstock. They broke up amid tension.

The third and fourth of the Velvets’ records were more straightforward as rock albums than the first and second albums. I believe in 1968 they performed in Hamilton, Ontario, but that might have been the Velvet Underground’s only show in Canada. Even though you may not know I’m Canadian, I in any case get spellbound by performers who made it (or said they did).

Lou Reed’s hit in 1972 includes the B-side Vicious (not Vicious Circle). Four years after that, after Reed was through with RCA Records, Reed with Vicious Circle was possibly pointing to his choice of making a livelihood as a rock singer, because Vicious Circle points to the song Vicious, and the 45 itself is circular in shape, music being on vinyl discs, records. There is a hint of weariness in Vicious Circle.

There is a Bowie song, too, with the word circle in its title, and I know there’s a reference about him in the title of Vicious Circle, in all likelihood, but how can I know for sure?

Reed had a great sense of humour, I read in college, the Velvets’ drummer Moe Tucker remarking on that about Lou Reed.

Photo by Jens Mahnke from StockSnap

Reed expounded on experience transparently in his music, including thoughts about sex and culture. Reed did much of his very best music with the Velvets, who were John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker, and Doug Yule.

Everything Lou Reed did music-wise is very acceptable, I think. The Velvet Underground is a legendary band. Many an amateur rocker knows whom the Velvet Underground are, and get feeling good about songs like What Goes On, and Sweet Jane, west coast surf type stuff.

God knows I’m not a resident. I used to wonder what Reed intended for the fate of his music.

I think with Rock and Roll Heart Reed was trying his hand at again being a straightforward rock musician. I would venture to guess that he was a pretty hot musician, having just conquered AM Radio with Coney Island Baby, but had simultaneously conveyed the ability to fail with his 1975 noise opus Metal Machine Music.

Metal Machine Music sort of seems easier to take all these years later, as an experimental ambient noise album, but I take it fans of the artist would have wanted more rock songs, not something altogether weird like Metal Machine Music. Wikipedia says, “In 1979 Reed said ‘Saying ‘I’m a Coney Island baby’ at the end of that song is like saying I haven’t backed off an inch. And don’t you forget it.'”

Photo by Emanuele Bresciani from StockSnap

I have a theory that if Reed had clear success with Metal Machine Music, it would have meant a lot of change as far as music fans’ interest in what’s viable goes. Enough about that for now.

Reed lived a long life, until October 27, 2013, passing away at the age of 71. In college, I didn’t believe Reed’s image as a street-weary rock musician, compared to who he was. I don’t have any acquaintance with it all, however.

Thanks to Jim Adams for the December 20 word prompt circle. Have a great Christmas, Jim, and to everybody who sees this ahead of Christmas. You’re welcome to like my post, to comment and/or to follow my blog.

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Vicious Circle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfceMTlEq7s

You’re caught in a vicious circle
Surrounded by your so called friends
You’re caught in a vicious circle
And it looks like it will never end
‘Cause some people think that they like problems
And some people think that they don’t
And for everybody who says yes
There’s somebody who’s staring, saying don’t

You’re caught in a vicious circle
Surrounded by your so called friends
You’re caught in a vicious circle
And it looks like it will never end
‘Cause some people think that it’s nerves
And some people think that it’s not
And some people think that it’s things that you do
And others think that you were cold, when you were hot
They think that that is what it was about

You’re caught in a vicious circle …

Surrounded by all of your friends

Why Skywalker`s Students Should Have Been Afraid

The Stupendous Wave on YouTube said yesterday that John Boyega’s people have said that an official trailer for Rise of Skywalker will air at halftime during Monday Night Football, and go to YouTube at the same time.

I wanted to say something more about the character of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, played in 2017 again by Mark Hamill.

Luke Skywalker wanted there to be more Jedi Masters, heroes of the Light Side of the Force, who help police their galaxy.

The word disciple often refers to people dedicated to learning about The Bible from Jesus Christ, of course. The Last Jedi retells how Jesus could do only so much, as when Luke is unseated by Ben Solo, son of Han Solo, and Leia Organa. Ben Solo has betrayed Luke and murdered the other disciples, becoming Kylo Ren.

This is not that different than the Apostle Judas betraying Jesus to Pontius Pilate for thirty pieces of silver. Unlike Jesus Christ, crucified by the Romans, Luke has enjoyed the freedom to retreat to Ahch-To. He is done with enlisting potential Jedi, at least until Rey seeks him, and tells him what she knows is happening in the First Order, across the galaxy.

The difference between Ben Solo and the other Jedi disciples Luke was trying to train is that Ben is the son of Leia and Han. Luke had known when training Ben, that the young man could be trouble for the galaxy if the Dark Side of the Force continued to grow in him.

Some of the tragedy of The Last Jedi, tragic in the sense that the events of the story are irreversible, and of an ill-nature, is that what Luke could teach caused the apprentices’ demise. The Jedi dedication to the Light Side of the Force could not combat the darkness in Ben. Supreme Leader Snoke has corrupted young Ben Solo, as a transformation into Kylo Ren begins, not too different than the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, in the prequel trilogy.

Snoke, a new character in The Force Awakens, has origins unclear, and likewise murky in The Last Jedi, but is an evil mentor to Kylo Ren, the opposite to how Luke was a mentor to young Ben Solo.

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Photographer: Luca Baggio

Not a big surprise, Luke Skywalker is my favorite character in The Last Jedi because of the reminders Mark Hamill creates of the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke`s powerful abilities with the Force, begun in Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, and explored in the next two films, are what fans like about him. For Luke to be teaching the ways of a Jedi Master is great because Luke learned from Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back, the ways of the Force.

“Pass on what you have learned,” Yoda finally tells Luke in Return of the Jedi.

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Photographer: Michal Jarmoluk

The Star Wars audience knows of events in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens because they have been told to Rey by Han Solo when the two are aboard the Millenium Falcon after Rey leaves home. If Luke`s other disciples had known of Snoke`s influence, on Luke, and his protégés, they would have become afraid. No one facing death would surrender life voluntarily when a pressing objective very much requires the opposite: the objective to become Jedi Masters and to protect the galaxy.

Luke`s remorse is evident. Mark Hamill displays the emotion perfectly.

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Photographer: Mateusz Dach

Recollections of the murders are present in The Last Jedi, but that movie would have been better if it were more clear what Luke searched for in his years of travel before the events of The Force Awakens. Luke is a Jedi Master who can deter the First Order if only he can teach Ben Solo the importance of the Light Side of the Force. That can`t be done, not even by Luke Skywalker.

How is it that Luke, with everything he understands about the Force, can make such a dangerous error? Luke has decided, I think, in The Last Jedi that to wield the Force, with as much ferocity as he has, is an act of hubris. If Luke had reached Ben Solo on any other level than of training the young man to become a Jedi, the sway of Snoke on Ben Solo might have been dispelled, with Ben never joining the First Order.

Although the conflict in Ben has made unrest in the galaxy that Luke, Leia, Poe, Fin, C-3P0, R2-D2, and Rose together combat in The Force Awakens, Ben`s path could have taken him elsewhere instead of to the very center of the battle against tyranny in the galaxy.

Appropriate fear is usually an emotion evoked by the Dark Side of the Force on one vulnerable. That same emotion could have prevented tragedy and kept both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker alive. Luke`s powers mostly fail him in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader confronts him on Cloud City in Bespin, after Jedi Master Yoda has told Luke that he isn`t ready for such an encounter.

In The Last Jedi, Leia has told Luke that she desires for him to teach the Light Side of the Force. If Luke could have drawn insight from what Yoda at the last had to say about teaching with wisdom the Force, long before Ben precipitated the murders of Luke’s apprentices, the drawback of overconfidence in Luke Skywalker could have meant a better outcome for all.

You`re welcome to like this post, to follow the blog and/or to comment.

The Skywalker Saga draws to a close this winter beginning December 20.

Why A Winter’s Night Will Change Your Life

The theatrical release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is two months away and today is Force Friday, a retail shopping day for Star Wars fans.

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Photographer: Matt Moloney

The Rise of Skywalker is one of the biggest film releases of 2019, as you probably know. Movie director J. J. Abrams has returned, who in 2015 helmed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Force Awakens resumes after the original trilogy in 1977, 1980, and 1983, and the Star Wars prequel trilogy, in 1999, 2002, and 2005.

While this is familiar film history, what’s striking is that the Disney company, which now owns the brand, is launching Disney+ in November, when Star Wars will again be newly available. Disney+ is an offering of classic animated features, as well as reboots and the Avengers franchise. Both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were tremendous hits, but the box office failure of the expensive one-off Solo: A Star Wars Story diminished the profitability of the franchise for Disney, and the success of Disney+ would surely benefit from the continued success of Star Wars.

Disney+ will have much better chances of lasting if Star Wars is reinvigorated by another blockbuster film. There isn’t much question that Star Wars: The Last Jedi divided the fan base. Last Jedi director Rian Johnson dispelled some of the magic of Star Wars by reinventing Mark Hamill’s character of Luke as an old cynical hermit, rather than staying true to the bold Jedi warrior hero who defeats the Empire in Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars fans turned out for Mark Hamill’s reprise of Luke Skywalker after what happened in the original Star Wars trilogy, and instead, Luke in The Last Jedi nearly couldn’t be roused to continue the fight against the Dark Side of the Force.

YouTube’s Looper has tapped into a mega-spoiler: by their account, actor Harrison Ford has returned as Han Solo for a scene in The Rise of Skywalker. It’s understood that Ford had been reluctant to return to Star Wars without a movie script handling his character adequately, as the actor was absent from the cast of The Last Jedi.

There have been announcements about Star Wars that fans ate up. Prequels actor Ewan McGregor will be in the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, not for The Rise of Skywalker, but a Disney+ series picking up after the events of the prequels.

Disney has also announced that Kevin Feige will do a Star Wars film. Feige’s involvement is good news for people who believe in Star Wars, as the Avengers films largely speak for themselves in terms of popularity and quality. With the promise of a bang-on Star Wars film after the Skywalker Saga, there is more reason to believe that Star Wars will again succeed, and if it does, a future with Disney+ is all the more likely.

The other spoiler from Looper is that, contrary to expectations, at least expectations I had, the Force will redeem the character of Kylo Ren when he gives up his allegiance to the Dark Side. Based on the love-hate intensity of their relationship, I held the impression that in The Rise of Skywalker Rey will defeat Kylo Ren and destroy him. The trailer for The Rise of Skywalker seems clear that the final battle will be highly personal.

If instead Kylo Ren changes his allegiance, it will make for a different future in Star Wars. Although audiences believe that the Light Side of the Force triumphs in Return of the Jedi, this time, in 2019, it is possible to think, the Light Side will, at last, have victory.

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Photographer: Leeroy

If you have the opportunity to enjoy The Rise of Skywalker, I hope you have one of the best nights you have ever had in the company of Star Wars’ villains and heroes. It should be a wonderful occasion. I appreciate you very much thinking about it with me. Maybe I’ll see you again come wintertime as momentum for The Rise of Skywalker continues to build.

Drifting Down the Inclination to Abnormal

Photographer: Ryan Pouncy

For a good long while WordPress offered up a word of the day, every day–the intent being to inspire blog posts based around a specific word for the day.
Fandango is a blogger who has had the notion to continue the inspiration. I haven’t known of Fandango for too long, but a lot of what goes up on his blog is interesting.

There is no cure for ugly, but you can make yourself into a human optical illusion. Jenna Marbles

Read more at

https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/jenna-marbles-quotes

I believe that the usual reasons for wanting to keep out of the way of most things that are abnormal is because being abnormal is more distressing than being what passes for fitting in. What is recognized as abnormal, is, I think, falling short of the mark in an area that comes natural, missing your turn when you are driving somewhere, spending too much money in impulse decisions, unfortunate doctor’s reports. Abnormal can start to appear kind of tragic.

You have to put your energy into getting positive outcomes, whether your abilities are abnormal or not. Fortunate people have comparable skill levels and means of producing a desired outcome; not everybody is fortunate, it goes without saying. When Star Wars actor Mark Hamill was trending on Twitter this evening, I read his bio and two words he says up front are Work hard.

Methods other than Mark’s advice are abnormal.

Resolutions for 2019

Seeking ideas for this small blog of mine, I began last month to refer to the weekly newsletter Publishous.  Publishous is a little more than a year old, with about 5800 supporters.  The newsletter is a collection of semi-connected ideas about content and the like and includes a writing prompt.

Formerly I would refer to WordPress’ own daily prompts before that came to an end, owing, I presume, to WordPress no longer wishing to organize their once-a-day prompts.

The prompt for the current newsletter is Resolutions.  I am late because I did less work between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

As you know, the custom among many New Year’s revelers is to identify resolutions for the coming year that mark a life change.  Resolutions can be in the spirit of fun, or they can be difficult to declare if a resolution requires the kind of change that is hard to make.

I kind of hate resolutions because I cannot think of useful ones.  I do have a few tactics ready, for better productivity in 2019.

I was inspired in 2018 to read Robert Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power.  This book was a difficult read, but rich enough with great ideas to benefit from having read the book.  Even though 2019 was far off, I thought to resolve to make some attempt to apply the book to my strategy in the year ahead.

I was not confident that I could apply much of The 48 Laws of Power until I came across a Twitter account that helps by mentioning ideas from Greene’s book–
https://twitter.com/48tweetsofpower

I want to apply more commitment to the areas of work for which I am already present.

My digital social interactions are largely confined to Facebook and Twitter.

At the cemetery, we have been working together since 2011, and we soon thought that a page for the work we do would be useful.

Maple Lawn Cemetery, St. Catharines

On Twitter, I don’t specifically refer to details of the work I do with my dad.  Instead, I tweet a few articles, generally about tech, and some about charity and a few other concepts.  I have the idea that, if I do this, it could prove useful.

On Facebook, real “real estate” is hard to market, because of the competition among business users, to make ads which are interesting.  I wish my dad and I had a marketing budget, but we don’t.

Most of the work I do for my dad’s little business is done on a volunteer basis, and I rarely include a call-to-action that deliberately invites business (you could say I leave money on the table).  It’s just not my responsibility.

That’s all part of why I struggle with effective New Year’s resolutions.  It is frustrating to think that life improvement could be worked out without a yin and yang down-side, that depletes the benefit of strategy in business, and in life.  I want to check the work in case there is a down-side, that I am blind to, that could defeat me.

I want to blog at approximately the same pace at which the newsletter prompts are e-mailed, in Publishous.  You may wish to check it out for yourself.

The spirit of the blog is to put out an “ask” identifying that I’m interested in taking “real world” work online and also that I’m capable as a creator, to use the buzzword, to keep active in a role which for now is valuable to my dad’s business in terms of the results I effect.  I’m an optimist.


Photographer:
Jiyeon Park

Thank you for reading my post here, and good luck with your own blogging in 2019. Take care, and all the best.