Posts Tagged ‘polka’

Cyber Slavery

October 4, 2013

Wednesday October 2nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I would really like to know who if anyone is able to hover anywhere even close to current with everything that’s going on in life these days. Show me even one example, and I’ll shut my mouth and admit the fault lies within me. But as it appears now, it’s nobody’s fault. We’re all swamped.

Life is getting way too complex for my tastes, but there doesn’t seem to be any relief coming in the near future. The internet was the best thing that has happened to human communication since the printing press, but also the worst. We are now chained to it and are a society of cyber slaves.

Just as one new doo dad is able to be figured out, three more pop up and it’s maddening. I can’t come close to getting it under control, and I feel helpless and overwhelmed. I used to laugh at my grandparents for their lack of getting hip to “high tech” items like calculators and cassette tapes.

I can’t imagine what they’d be like today. Gramps tried to stay with his times, and was as good at it as anyone I knew of. He was constantly trying to stay well read and informed, but he worked at it throughout his life. He was always going to the library, watching TV news and checking out the latest trends whenever he could. He’d read newspapers all the way through every single day.

That adds up over years, and he could carry on intelligent conversation with just about anyone he would meet because he was prepared. Who can do that now? With the depth of knowledge to acquire on so many subjects, there just isn’t time to do it all. Something somewhere gets left out.

Fantasy football is a great example. Gramps was a big football fan, but I can’t picture him with enough time to do the research it takes to know all the players that deeply to be able to wheel and deal every week trying to outsmart an opponent. It becomes a full time job to learn it that deeply.

And if one does, everything else gets ignored. There’s no choice. There are only 24 hours in all of our days, and we can only put so much effort into so many topics. Then it becomes a decision of wanting to know a little about a lot of things or a lot about a little. Nobody can manage it all.

Then there was my grandmother who chose not to evolve at all. She never drove a car, rode on an airplane or even listened to FM radio. Her favorite polka show and Paul Harvey were on AM. She didn’t need anything else and didn’t want it. She had her black and white TV and enjoyed it.

Today I find myself somewhere between Gramps and Grandma, but I can’t say exactly where. I try to keep up with as much as I can, but my point of need for more was reached long time ago. Myspace was good enough for me, but that faded away and Facebook became the new standard.

That was fine too, but then Twitter showed up. Then LinkedIn. Now I’m getting notices for all kinds of things I haven’t heard of, and they tell me I have ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ I don’t know. Those I do know I can call on the phone or email. I don’t need to be in another online cyber cult.

Emails, voicemails, tweets and calls keep me busy enough. What about actual face to face time with real humans? Who has time for that? We’re all too busy drowning in our sea of cyber clutter and it’s past the point of being out of hand. Podcasts? You Tube? What’s next? I’m afraid to ask.

The 21st Century slave master to us all.

The 21st Century slave master to us all.

Sun Ra

May 23, 2013

Wednesday May 22nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Today would have been the 99th birthday of one Herman Poole Blount – aka “Sun Ra”. He was born in Birmingham, AL but claimed to be from the “Angel Race” – not of this planet. That alone makes him one of my all time favorite entertainers, but his showmanship is what I admire most.

   He was the leader of a huge band that he called his ‘arkestra’, and the name of it changed about as frequently as his musical directions. There was the ‘Blue Universe Arkestra’, the ‘Heliocentric Space Arkestra’, the ‘Solar Myth Arkestra’ and many many more. He was an eccentric fellow.

   There’s good weird and bad, and he was very good. By all accounts, he and his band were drug free and upstanding members of the community wherever they happened to be living at any time. They were based for years in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, where Sun Ra died in 1993.

   I never got a chance to see him live, but I’ve seen some very interesting video that puts me in a fun mood every time I see it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7_JUShK4n8&feature=related is one link. There’s also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMMWNwVhq5k&feature=related

   Sun Ra was a true original, and those are difficult to find. George Clinton borrowed a little bit from him and also set up shop in ‘outer space’. The whole ‘Mothership Connection’ concept and costume came out of Sun Ra’s shadow and I freely admit that’s where I got The King of Uranus.

   I remember the first time I saw him on TV when I was a kid. I didn’t know what I was seeing, but it captured my undivided attention as I watched it with my grandparents. Gramps looked like he got it, but my German grandma wanted to take a rolling pin to either the TV, Gramps or both.

   Grandma was not very open to anything new, different or artistic. If it wasn’t a Lawrence Welk ditty or a polka, she didn’t want it within five miles of her. Seeing Sun Ra and his ‘arkestra’ sent her farther into outer space than Sun claimed to be from. The greatest ones are loved and hated.

   I loved the fact that he incorporated outer space themes into his music, and that made me want to know more about him as I got older. He was a remarkable personality to say the least, and his claim of being taken by aliens to the planet Saturn made me like him more. He made that claim a long time before UFO abduction stories were popular, and he stuck by that story his entire life.

   I don’t know if he was from Saturn or not, but I do know he was an underappreciated artist and too eclectic for the masses. He was a recording machine, and it is said he’s the the 20th Century’s most prolific musical artist with over 100 full length albums. Wow! That alone is one major feat.

   It’s also notable that he’s a ‘22’. According to numerology, people born on the 11th and 22nd of a month are allegedly the strongest personalities and most influential people. Sun Ra was born on a 22nd, as was George Clinton (7/22). Rodney Dangerfield was too. (11/22) There are all kinds of entertainers, politicians and celebrities born on 11s and 22s so there may be some truth to that.

   I’m not a ‘22’ or an ‘11’ unfortunately. I’m a ‘pi’ (3/14). I don’t know if any of it means a dang thing, but I do know I am a fan of Sun Ra and not nearly enough people know who he was to pay tribute to a unique performer who had the guts to follow his creative vision for decades. That’s at the top of my list for people I admire most, and he’s up there with the very best. He spent his life entertaining this planet – whether he was born here or not. What better way to invest one’s time?

Sun Ra

Sun Ra

The King of Jupiter?

The King of Jupiter?

 

One Cosmic Cat

One Cosmic Cat