MCMLXIX #GiveThanks

It’s a time for words of thanks.  The last few days the news has been saying that the anticipated vaccine will begin rolling out soon, to be in place next year.  It is such welcome news.

As well, the holidays are here, when people don’t act as paranoid with each other given the holiday season.  It’s an unusual holiday season, of course, owing to the impact of the pandemic.

Here on WordPress, occasionally I find specific bloggers to be interesting for me, even if they aren’t well-known, at least not yet, anyway.  One guy like that is Jim Adams, who has a blog and who has planned blog prompts through to 2021.

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/11/28/domesticated-animals/

Jim has a keen interest in music and a lot of knowledge to share.  Jim’s blog prompts are great.

I remember last winter when my dad pointed out to me that the link-sharing I was doing on social media didn’t seem to be too relevant, as far as he could tell.  I help out my dad with his business.

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

http://www.maplelawncemetery.org/24701.html

While I enjoy Facebook and Twitter, the day he offered that criticism about my content, I was a little miffed.  I know that my dad clowns, but I tried to look past that, to see if I could think of a better approach.

I decided a few weeks ago to take a direction that could feel more relevant, I hope, whatever the issue.  I’m chancing to utilize the focus right now that Jim provides.

I’ve been blogging since MySpace, kind of a wow.  On WordPress, I have done some posting with a bit of humour to it, and in the months since my dad said that to me about how I seem on social, I eventually decided I still wasn’t too far off the mark.

There aren’t too many “rules” for running a social presence.  When I started to read Jim, I thought it was great because I could see that, with his idea, I could collect my thoughts about the music I like.

For November 29, 2020, Jim’s prompts include, “bird.”  I know that the late Leonard Cohen made the song Bird on the Wire.

Cohen is a Canadian singer who became well-known for making music.  By the mid-1960s, Cohen started to form rock and pop melodies.  He had already written an expansive amount of writing, both poetry, and novels.

He studied at McGill in Montreal and made quite a name for himself through the sixties.  Cohen kind of burned out about that stuff in the early nineteen seventies, but his music came to him his whole career.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame enlisted Cohen in 2008, and Leonard Cohen got a Grammy Award in 2010.

Bird on the Wire is on the record Songs from a Room, released April 1969, and is like a poem set to the sound of Cohen’s guitar.   The title Songs from a Room is very simple, understating the mastery of the music.

Songs from a Room LP

Being able to enjoy something from the years before I was born is lucky, as hearing Bird on the Wire is an experience that has power to it, sentimental.  Strange song title, eh?  A listener feels like the hardships of life have been met by others just the same, whether more talented, or more fortunate.

Photo by Burst from StockSnap

Not to sound presumptuous, but Bird on the Wire is great that way.  Leonard Cohen got into music as a popular singer when he was losing interest in writing.  Wikipedia says that Bird on the Wire is a country song, a detail which surprises me, and reading that, I thought additionally that the song just has a simplicity that sets it apart from other country songs.

The country genre of music isn’t something I understand, and maybe neither is the language of love, but when I was in college, I got to study, one semester, Canadian music.  Country music in the Canadian Prairies is a favourite choice of many resident Canadians.

I can infer that Bird on the Wire could be a favourite of many who can remember 1969.  It was years before I was born.

There is something about cowboy music, that we’ve adopted in Canada, that reflects how life in the Prairies shaped up.  The first herders calling themselves “cowboys” got to the Canadian prairies in the 1870s, riding up from the US territories of Idaho and Montana.

The romantic image of the cowboy emerged around this American subculture.  British Columbia “buckaroos” likewise sooner or later adopted the cowboy appearance.

I doubt that Cohen identified with being a cowboy; he was a novelist, poet and musician.  He identifies, I think, with the archetype of a cowboy’s passion.  I think of the scene in the Hollywood movie City Slickers, where Billy Crystal’s Mitch Robbins character plays the harmonica at the campfire.

Curly, Jack Palance’s character, interrupts the music.

Mitch Robbins:  [Playing harmonica]

Curly:  Put that away.

Mitch Robbins:  [Stops, then resumes playing harmonica]

Curly:  I said, put that away!

Mitch Robbins:  Hey you know, the first time I tried to talk to you, you embarrassed me.  So I teased you a little bit which maybe I shouldn’t have done, so I’m sorry.

And now you’re sitting over there playing with your knife, trying to frighten me – which you’re doing a good job.  But if you’re gonna kill me, get on with it; if not, shut the hell up – I’m on vacation.

City
Slickers

Wikipedia explains that before writing Bird on the Wire, Cohen carefully structured the song, before committing it to tape.  To tell the truth, before I read Wikipedia’s description, I hadn’t thought that the song would be identified as a country song.

Cohen’s music is usually in the genres of folk, and soft rock.  Romantic country music doesn’t meld with the other interests in music I have thought of.  If Bird on the Wire is a country song, it breaks, I think, with the tradition of country music that country music fans enjoy.

It’s unique that way.  I wonder if a country song should be simple, but distinctive.  The answer isn’t straightforward.

Sometimes answers to questions like that turn up unexpectedly, even if it isn’t initially clear where to begin, to get an answer to the question.  A post like this one, doing the research and writing the content, helps me understand better something that already interests me, the music.  Also, maybe somebody else interested in this blog challenge thought to say something about this specific song.

I first heard Bird on the Wire when I was in high school, the twelfth grade or so, on a simply dubbed audio cassette.  Leonard Cohen passed on November 7, 2016 (aged 82).

I saw him once in concert.  It was terrific.

Here are the lyrics to the song, followed by the song itself, in a video.

My links

https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons

https://www.quora.com/profile/Patrick-Coholan

https://about.me/patrickcoholan

Bird on the Wire

Like a bird on the wire

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free

Like a worm on a hook

Like a knight from some old-fashioned book

I have saved all my ribbons for thee

If I, if I have been unkind

I hope that you can just let it go by

If I, if I have been untrue

I hope you know it was never to you

For like a baby, stillborn

Like a beast with his horn

I have torn everyone who reached out for me

But I swear by this song

And by all that I have done wrong

I will make it all up to thee

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch

He said to me, “you must not ask for so much”

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door

She cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh, like a bird on the wire

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Leonard Cohen

Bird on the Wire lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

https://youtu.be/BmPUu-rMpWA

A Difficult St. Patrick’s Day

It’s the end of March and two weeks ago was St. Patrick’s Day for 2020. The weather in Southern Ontario was reasonable in light of expectations. I found myself spending less time on Facebook. My sister telephoned me a couple of times.

A cousin of my mother, Cathie, along other lovely people, with a hobby of genealogy, ending with a nice account of the Irish my mother’s side of the family has. It looks like this St. Patrick’s Day, 2020, I’ll be a little less Irish.  It looks grim.

Photographer:
Tiago Almeida

change

the act or instance of making or becoming different.

I wish a lot of things were different, but I never would have chalked up the possibility of experiencing our pandemic catastrophe in my own life.  I read of environmental warnings, like that there could be, say, eight years until the damage to the planet caused by humans becomes irreversible, or that global warming will cause sea levels to rise, however active God is on the picture at large. I don’t know how human beings will fare.

To consider attacks between warring groups the world over, hellbent on decreasing each other to iotas, to very small pieces, I think also police and military unfairly treat peaceable citizens, because the police loathe the skin colour or addiction, behaviour that doesn’t toe the line for the safety of the public.  I think about these now and again, yet I hadn’t thought of what really descended three months ago. It is hard to contextualize that.

I always do my best to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, as so many do with aplomb and style.  I welcome the end of winter. We are all called on to be, not so much Godfearing, as instead socially distant from one another.

Good on us all the same, that we can find solidarity in separating from one another, in a fashion that, like the lot of the unlucky addict, is no fault of our own.

Photographer:
Peter Hershey

We will have to come up with new measures to survive, and we have to do it at a time when I am sure many of us would be happier celebrating St. Patty’s in the usual fashion, wearing the colour green, and staying out late.  We’re told to stay out of bars and restaurants and nightclubs and still young people want to go to those kinds of haunts. I want to be young myself, but not to the extent I want to risk sacrificing growing old.

I wanted to think about a superb St. Patrick’s Day, and although I recall it every year, I don’t know I could say that any specific March festivity was better than some other.  A number of them were beautiful and left me feeling blessed. I am grateful to The Lord.

1998 occurs to me, becoming 21 years of age.  However, against how this spring is going, I don’t think the excitement of taking a visit back in time is going to especially cause me to feel better. I like to enjoy speaking a kind word at certain times, because a little kindness sprinkled in the mix, while not reversing the uncertainty that we’re facing, does help temper the darkness.

I would like to wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day, dreadful or not.

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t to be overlooked, obviously.  Go with the luck of the Irish! Let’s have a safe spring!

You’re of course welcome to comment and to follow.  All the best to you, and to your loved ones.

Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

We’re also on Twitter https://twitter.com/findingenvirons

I enjoy social media.

Will this be the #spring in history that sees curtains for YouTube?

While the protests and the petition signatures were clear, the directive to restrict copyrighted material, known as Article 13 in the EU, received a “yes.”

Video on YouTube will likely no longer include “remixed” content once individual nations of the EU establish how they’re going to legislate protection for mainstream media, its images, film clips, and music.  For years now, the Internet has taken liberties in the name of freedom, to borrow from established media and then return to it transformative work, for the purpose of review, satire, parody and other kinds of humor.  This will likely end.

On YouTube, content filters for video uploads could become stodgy, and uninventive.  Removing freedoms to speak with ideas recycled from mainstream media inhibits Internet creators’ ability to articulate.  These come in the form of memes, even when it is an upset to the original, and identities in solidarity with views closely held to championed archetypes.  In the face of traditional media protected by Article 17 in the EU, emerging voices can and will fall by the wayside.

School bus pausing at Louth United Church, St. Catharines

If the nations of the EU no longer can upload or view content that contains copyrighted elements, for YouTube, a platform that facilitates hundreds of millions of hours of new and original video every day, doors are closing for what is a livelihood for hardworking creators.

In addition, the possibility that social accounts would be charged fees to link to webpages is a terrible limitation for small bloggers, with pages that have no hope of affording such a privilege.  This was the spring, 2019, that Articles 11 and 13 became Article 17.  There is every possibility that the restrictions on uploading copyrighted content in the EU will drift into the same freedoms available regardless where the Internet is accessed and overtake them.

A content filter is complex; it could be, despite how valuable original content is for Google and for Facebook and Twitter, that content filters will only function effectively if they are applied universally, and not just in the EU.  This could be a matter of months or years from now, but the challenges facing the EU, by creators on YouTube, and users enjoying social, and the right of Google to chart the world as it’s understood online, should be informing you.  You should at least consider the possibility that you need to be informed.

Photographer:
Kelly Sikkema

An Internet structured around Article 17 will heavily favor the promotion of mainstream media.  Independent voices will lose the opportunity to include portions of copyrighted media, and this could mean a “talking head” style of video on YouTube rather than video containing the freedoms we enjoy now.  All art and video would be required to be free of copyrighted material, which I think is a practical impossibility.

There are creators who thrive on the “remix” of media images or industry music or PC games.  Formerly, they were smart enough to make a living doing that, and exceptionally.  Their opportunities are going to disappear.

The outcome of Article 17 in the EU is only just beginning to take shape, but there will be changes for Facebook and Twitter and YouTube that Article 13 is necessitating, the requirement to filter content video users upload.  Users on the Internet, with the support of the infrastructure of YouTube and Google, will have to strategize differently once Article 17 goes into effect.  It is a sea change.

You are welcome to “like” this post, to follow the blog, and/or to leave a comment.  Whatever your age, if you are interested in tech, you stand alongside the brightest minds challenging the narrative of the mainstream media.