The Common Core

Brian Jones at the Monterey Pop Festival 1967

As I noted a few days ago, last weekend I had a number of high school classmates in my house. There are three big metal CD racks in our living room and a steel LP rack is behind our love seat, serving as a room divider. One of my classmates asked, so who is your favorite out of all of these, who gets played the most. Hmm.

I dodged the question with some nonsense about late 60s/early 70s hard rock but the real answer goes deeper. As I’ve noted before here, I listen to a large variety across a lot of genres. But what does get played the most? I looked on my laptop to see what groups had the most songs/albums and what does get played the most. Obviously Zeppelin, the Stones, and Rush get the most attention but what do I return to again and again? I certainly go off on tangents of listening to classical, jazz, and blues but the core is indeed rock. So I came up with this list. Note that I lump some artists under one umbrella but it’s mostly solo work or side projects. In the case of the Stones/Faces, there’s a fair amount of similarity (and one guitarist) in the two although the former is far, far darker than the later.

Led Zeppelin/Robert Plant
The Rolling Stones/Keith Richards/Mick Jagger/Ron Wood/Faces
Bruce Springsteen
The Who/The Kinks
Gov’t Mule/The Allman Brothers Band
Rush
Jethro Tull
Steely Dan/Donald Fagen
Bob Dylan/The Band
The Beatles/Paul McCartney
Pink Floyd/David Gilmour/Roger Waters
Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson
Vietgrove/The Future Kings of England/Ephemeral Sun
REM
Black Sabbath/Blue Öyster Cult/Iron Maiden
Richard Thompson
The Decemberists/Black Mountain/Pink Mountaintops
Soundgarden/Alice in Chains/Pearl Jam
Stevie Ray Vaughan/Johnny Winter/Rory Gallagher
Genesis/Yes/Marillion

No doubt few of my readers have ever heard of Vietgrove/et al. They’re mostly instrumental progressive rock, recording in the last decade or so. I get an incredible amount of work done while playing these guys. The music is engaging and intelligent yet not obtrusive to my work flow.

I am a little disappointed in myself that this is pretty much a sausage fest. I love the mixture of male/female vocals in The Decemberists/Black Mountain/Pink Mountaintops but other than Heart and the Pretenders, I don’t play a lot of women vocalists. I don’t get that but that’s the way it is.

It is true that a lot of these acts are quite old and some no longer active. Then again I am quite old and I could give a good goddamn. I excluded any jazz, classical, ambient, or blues because though I have a substantial amount of recordings in those genres they don’t dominate my listening patterns as much. But as always with me and music, it’s all subjective to change. And really, that is the beautiful thing about being an ardent listener to music. We’re always looking for a new fix that will take us somewhere special.

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And the Nazis had a Permit to be There!

D-Day meme

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“On Many Sides”

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You own this, Trump. You encouraged it at your rallies, you brought these people into your White House staff, and you refused again and again to name and condemn domestic terrorism. We fought a war to end the Confederacy and the enslavement of human beings. We fought a war to destroy the Nazi movement. You own the hatred and bloodshed. You are a filthy disgrace to this country and to humanity. You own this.

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Beer Fridge and Lawn Replenished

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We had our annual festival in this small town over the weekend. My brother had his class reunion and my own class met for our “60th birthday”. And wouldn’t you know it, after months of drought, we had rain on Friday and Saturday. It is not quite enough to break the drought; we’ll need a lot more moisture to do that. But my lawn is definitely greening up.

My brother brought a couple twelve packs: Sierra Nevada’s Hop Hunter and my glorious go-to brew, Bell’s Two-Hearted IPA. A classmate brought two cases of beers from Point Brewing in Stevens Point WI. You can see them on the second shelf (that Pils is pretty darn good).

So I’m stocked up for a while, probably into October. And we’ll see then what Oktoberfest brings. Like the somewhat-interesting man says, “stay thirsty my friends!”

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This Business Will Get Out of Control

SCROTUS says “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening – beyond a normal statement – and as I said they will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

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Caturday – This is Dessicated to The One I Love

Sheldon owns the bed

I’m posting a photo I took of Sheldon a few days ago. See, I’m kind of busy so I’m just posting an update on things and then I’ve got to get back to work.

Drought – see the title. Today and Sunday we could be in triple digits. Still no rain. There’s a chance of thunderstorms next week but rain at this point will be too late for a lot of farmers and ranchers. But I’m sure Trump will get right on the case, as soon as he’s done offending the French by objectifying their First Lady.

Work – I’m lining up a part-time job but that’s all I’m going to say until it’s said and done. But there’s a lot of pre-employment hoops to jump through and those leaps are time-consuming, which takes away from my marketing research work. Ugh. We need an oil boom and soon.

Speaking of work, there’s crews around town replacing sidewalks, curbs and gutters around town. They’ve been working on the curbs on our street this week and DAMN. They are loud and they start goddamn early. I’d feel sorry for these guys working in this heat but their noisy presence is hell on my concentration. When the guys from the City were working on our sidewalk after the sewer pipe was laid, I brought them brownies. I’m less sympathetic to these clowns.

Cats – they’ve been spending late nights and early mornings outside, returning to the house in the mid-morning and sleeping until it’s evening. Amy left the house at six am today. Right not it’s about 10:30 and she’s just falling asleep near me as I type this.

Baseball – my Twins ended the first half of the season sitting above .500 and in second place in the AL Central. The youngsters are exhibiting some powerful offense and a stifling defense. The trouble is that their pitching staff is among the worst in the league. In the next couple series we face the juggernaut from Houston and then the Bronx Bombers. And we’ll have some guys on the mound that don’t even belong in the major leagues. It’s gonna get ugly. Nonetheless I shall continue viewing because the position players will always make it interesting.

For a brief window of a couple days my old desktop computer was working flawlessly. And then it started spiking on the CPU like a cardiac patient in intensive care. So I’m back on the laptop. Again.

So that’s it for now. I can drink beer tonight because I took a piss-test for the new PT job yesterday. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. The air conditioner in the house actually works, which it hasn’t for two years. And on Sunday we return to playing a certain game for a certain throne. I’m good.

Have a great weekend.

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Prayin’ fer Rain, Endurin’ the Pain

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It was a dry May with high winds, followed by a dry June with high winds. By June they were calling conditions in our county “moderate drought”. We have now moved up the scale to “severe drought”. It’s still not as bad as the southwestern part of the state, which is “extreme drought”. Extreme means the wheat isn’t growing at all and the hay crop that the ranchers depend on to feed their livestock is just not going to happen.

You can see in the photo above a little bit of green close to the hedge and then off to the right. Grass is still growing in the shade and that stuff to the right is my neighbor’s lawn. He’s got a sprinkler system and has been watering like a madman. Though it should be noted that a good portion of his green lawn is weeds because they’re growing far better than the grass.

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Here’s an area next to the mountain ash that gets a lot of morning sun. The grass here isn’t just dormant, it’s dying out.

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Here’s the area behind our garage. It’s exposed to the sun almost all day and looks about as inviting to walk across as a bed of nails. It crunches like gravel under your feet.

Last week I saw the mother of someone I went to high school with. She has an incredible memory and said this is the worst we’ve had it since 1983. I remember that one. In the fields under summer fallow there were cracks so wide in the soil you could stick your hand in them. The practice of letting fields go fallow for a summer has ended but I’m gambling that if I drove out to the farm and found some exposed soil, there’d be something impressive.

One could argue that we were due for a drought and I’m sure some are saying that. But the evidence that climate change causes extreme weather is pretty much irrefutable and drought is one of the symptoms. I’ve noted other changes out here as well: flooding, severity of storms, etc. This is not just a temporary change in the weather pattern. This is a severe drought brought on by a change in our climate. And I expect we’ll see more and more of these in the years to come.

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