May 9th, 2005

Soundtrack to my childhood - Available for a limited time only!

For as long as I can remember, I've been a huge fan of music. There was always music playing in my house, in the car, everywhere. We had stereo systems in the livingrooms of every house I ever lived in. There were radios in the bathrooms, bedrooms, and always one in the kitchen. The music I grew up on is the music I still listen to when I need to fill something, some empty space I run across in my heart or in my mind that demands it.

Part 1
  • Allman Brothers Band - Midnight Rider
  • America - Sister Golden Hair
  • Aretha Franklin - Son Of A Preacher Man
  • Billy Joel - Only The Good Die Young
  • Bread - Everything I Own
.ZIP File [15MB]

Music is sacred to me. That is part of the reason I can barely stand to listen to the majority of the crap that is currently played on radio and MTV - it spits in the face of music that was made as an extension of an artist's soul, something meaningful and honest and meant to be original. It is also why I hate rap/hip-hop music in its entirety, as it is all (in one respect or another) a rip off of someone else and says nothing of any merit or value to me.

Part 2
  • Climax Blues Band - I Love You
  • Champaign - How 'Bout Us
  • Christopher Cross - Sailing
  • Brenton Wood - Gimme Little Sign
  • Dan Fogelberg - Leader Of The Band
.ZIP File [18MB]

Everyone has music that reminds them of their childhood, and I like to think it is some of the most healing music there is. Even music that you might not have liked as a child, once revisited as an adult, can be some of the most amazing, touching stuff you'll ever hear. It is difficult for me to hear any of these songs and not sing along with them, imagining I'm just a little boy again and I'm in the kitchen with my mama helping cook dinner or playing under the table with toys.

Part 3
  • Elton John - Rocketman
  • Emmylou Harris - Luxury Liner
  • Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
  • Jackson Browne - Tender Is The Night
  • Jim Croce - Operator
.ZIP File [18.9MB]

Many of these songs I associate with roadtrips, as we spent a lot of time on the road in the summers of my boyhood. Oftentimes my father would make mix tapes for our family vacations, which is where I learned what a wonderful gift such things were. Some of these songs I associate with sitting in my Daddy's lap behind the wheel, pretending I'm driving and being petulant because I am only a child and not quite as grown as I wished I were. Some of these songs remind me of driving on long, black stretches of road at night, in the backseat of the car and watching the moon through the window as it chased us down the highway.

Part 4
  • Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now
  • Journey - Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'
  • Jr. Walker & The All Stars - Shotgun
  • Kansas - Dust In The Wind
  • Linda Ronstadt - You're No Good
.ZIP File [16.6MB]

I loved spending time in my oldest brother's room when he'd let me. He had a huge stereo system and hundreds of albums and he would play new music for me. I'd listen intently while laying on the floor by the speakers, pretending I could read the liner notes and imagining what the album cover art meant. I remember several that I was completely entranced by, album covers like Kansas' Point Of Know Return, Queen's News Of The World (which always scared the shit out of me), and Styx's The Grand Illusion.

Part 5
  • Little River Band - Lady
  • Otis Redding - The Happy Song (Dum Dum)
  • Otis Redding & Cara Thomas - Tramp
  • Ray Charles - A Song For You
  • Raydio - You Can't Change That
.ZIP File [18.2MB]

I have many happy memories of my childhood that I associate with this music. In more ways than I can describe, I am a product of this music, and of much much more than can be posted here. I feel it under my skin as naturally a part of me as my blood and bones are.

Part 6
  • Roberta Flack - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
  • Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer
  • Stevie Wonder - As
  • Supertramp - The Logical Song
  • The Brothers Johnson - I'll Be Good To You
  • The Carpenters - Superstar
.ZIP File [28.6MB]

One of the coolest things that has ever happened to me happened when I was about 22 years old. I was living in Atlanta and it was a spring day not unlike today was, and I had all of my windows rolled down. I was on my way home from work, and I had to stop at a red light at the corner of Peachtree and Lindbergh. There was some kind of construction going on, so everyone stopped there was confined for a few minutes. I remembered that in my backpack (I've always carried one, still do) I had an old mixed tape that had no label on it, something I'd found in a box in my parent's attic on a visit home or something. I put the tape in my stereo, and out came the initial 4 drum beats of The Four Tops' "Baby, I Need Your Lovin'". I turned up the volume as high as I could before it became distorted, began seat-dancing and singing as loudly as I could. I looked over to my right, and there was an older black lady waiting at the bus stop, singing along with me and smiling. To my left, there was a lady in her car doing essentially the same thing I was doing. She yelled over to me, asking what radio station I was listening to and I told her it was a tape I'd made a long time ago, but that I was heading to Tower Records to get new CD's. Within a short time, the traffic resumed it's deadly pace that is the curse of Atlanta streets, and I made my way up to Lenox Square (where Tower's first location was) and went in to buy myself some "Best Of Soul" CD's. I barely made it into the R&B section when up comes the woman in the car next to me, looking for the same. We laughed and talked about our favorite songs from when we grew up, then went to the checkout together. She walked with me out to the parking lot, and she started to leave when I asked her to wait for a minute. I ran to my car, popped the mixed tape out of the stereo, and took it to her. I remember telling her I had no idea what else was on it, but I wanted her to have it anyway. She hugged me, something strangers in big cities rarely do, and I hugged her back and then drove to my apartment, completely elated.

Part 7
  • The Commodores - Easy
  • The Four Tops - Baby, I Need Your Lovin'
  • The Judds - Why Not Me
  • The Manhattans - Shining Star
  • The Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want
  • Toto - Africa
  • Wilson Pickett - Mustang Sally
.ZIP File [28.3MB]

This is some of the music I grew up on, that many of us grew up on. If you've lost touch with it or have never be aquainted with it in the first place, now is your chance to get reacquainted or introduced. I hope I can inspire others who come across this stuff to recall what they grew up listening to and to do the same thing I've done.

Moody, cryptic drama ahead, my most hated of all things self indulgent, please be advised.

Normally I'm an open book. Practically anyone that knows me well enough can read my emotions just by looking me in the face if they're paying enough attention. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and invariably I bleed all over myself as a result. I cannot help it, it is who I am. I don't think it is possible to be too honest, even when that truth is jagged and quite capable of cutting someone, especially someone you care about. The difficulty lies in not knowing when it appropriate to ask for and/or give that honesty, especially when it feels like a blade held at your throat, or a blade you're holding at someone else's. I lose sleep over these things. I fixate on these kinds of things so much that I cannot eat sometimes. What to ask, what to say, when to do all of that.

I may pretend otherwise every now and then, but I do get my feelings hurt on rare occaisions and it's harder to let that sort of thing go when I do because it sticks with me longer and therefore requires a longer let-go time. I'm not good at hiding my emotions, but I'm a master at covering up my hurt. I learned a long time ago out of necessity how to do that, so at this point in my life it has become second nature. I can sit at the dinner table eating my banquet of frustration without complaint, and smile at you while underneath I'm pinching myself so hard I draw blood, and even though I never do that sort of thing anymore it doesn't change the fact that I can. You can look me all over on the outside and not find a single scratch on me, but just turn me inside out once in a blue moon and I'm in pieces.

Nothing hurts more than not knowing. Nothing hurts as much as what your mind will invent as a substitute for what you should already know. And while it is not in my nature to be this intentionally cryptic, I'm also scared to death of making a mountain out of a molehill and subsequently making a fool of myself, which never bothers me at normal times - even though I know I'm just as fallible as the next person and despite my efforts to be better than that. Because I think you should strive to be a better person than what is expected of you. Accepting mediocrity might wear well on others, but not on me.

Maybe I'm just harder on myself than I should be. Maybe I just think and read too much into things. Maybe I'm just fucked up, maybe more than I deserve to be. Maybe I really am cursed (as I've long suspected) with inherently knowing already what people find too difficult or lack the courage to tell me. Maybe it is all of that and I just haven't found a way to make it all okay for myself. There are always the possibilities you don't consider, what I call the "random fuck-all variables". I just hope that they reveal themselves soon so I can put this goddamned fork down, leave the table, and throw my plate in the sink.

Anna Nalick - Breathe (2 AM)

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Christian Persecution?

I love rudepundit and slacktivist. They're two of my favorite blogs. batmoon beat me to this one, but I had to post about it also, it is that unbelievable. From slacktivist:

    Of course Christians are persecuted in the United States.
    After all, everyone knows Christians can't marry other Christians
    (except in one state but nobody recognizes Christian marriages anywhere
    else and it's not like those are real marriages anyway), can't adopt ot
    become foster parents after they truthfully answer the "Faith" question
    on the questionnaire, can be denied housing and jobs for being
    Christians, and are regularly the butt of jokes where practitioners of
    other religions (especially Jews) are portrayed as kind and giving. In
    many parts of the country, Christians are afraid of walking down the
    street because they know people will shout at them for being Christian.
    They don't dare walk into some bars, knowing that their conservative
    clothing or a slip in conversation might make them a target for "beat
    the Christian in the backroom." When a Christian commits an act of
    terrorism against an abortion clinic, Christians lock their doors in
    fear of retaliation by complete strangers. Doctors who practice and
    promote Natural Family Planning are listed on websites with "Wanted"
    posters and regularly receive death threats. Halloween and Beltaine
    are paid days off regardless of a person's faith; anyone who asks to
    take a vacation day for Christmas or Easter is grilled suspiciously by
    coworkers and managers.
    Schools for other faiths are everywhere;
    there are only one or two Catholic schools per state and they don't
    advertise after three were firebombed in one year. The ruling party
    and all three branches of government have dozens of people who have
    made public statements that Christians are destroying this country and
    that the practice of Christianity should be banned by the Constitution.

    Christians are barred from military service. Every Christian has a
    friend or relative who was killed or imprisoned during the last world
    war because they were Christian. When Christians complain about the
    treatment they receive, they're told to move to another state / country
    with their own kind. People regularly picket the funerals of
    Christians with signs that read "The nameless forces that randomly
    shaped the cosmos into an appealing pattern hate Christos!"
    word "christian" is used as an independent adjective to describe
    something stupid and/or undesireable. Christian girls who ascribe to
    Paul's teaching that women must keep their heads covered when they pray
    are suspended from schools for violating the "no hats" policy. The only
    movie most people have even heard of that features Christianity is "The
    Faith," a horror film that shows teenaged girls praying for bad things
    to happen to their classmates and committing cannibalism (using a
    phrase made trendy by the movie: "Body and Blood of Christ"). Politicians
    regularly end statements with "And Allah bless America," and when
    called on it, they claim they mean all gods when they say Allah. "In
    YHWH We Trust" is written on our money.
    Teenagers who tell their
    parents they're interested in Christianity, or believe they might be
    Chrisrians, are told they're "going through a (rebellious) phase" and
    are often sent to counselling to "fix" them. The first response people
    often make when they hear someone's family member is a Christian is to
    say "I'm so sorry." Christian clubs at colleges don't advertise their
    meetings because atheists regularly show up and hand out copies of "On
    the Origin of Species."

    Or you know, not.

Who has plans for Saturday?

D and I are coming up to the Atlanta area on Saturday instead of this Wednesday to go to Whitewater with arie and hopefully some other friends. Six Flags isn't open throughout the week until the end of the month, the fascist bastards. It'll will be fun, though. I'm going to swim, get some sun, and brave my fear of being shirtless in public. Don't ask.

So for anyone within driving range of Atlanta on Saturday, the more the merrier. I've never actually been to Whitewater, so it's going to be more fun than you can shake a stick at.

Who wants to come along? You know you want to, make it happen. BTW - we have discount tickets...