One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato… Hell Yes!

In case you missed this Twitter thread from John Darnielle, the lead singer of The Mountain Goats, when it came out on New Year’s Eve:

In 2022, may we all find moments when we can appreciate “the ten trillion small things that ease the path a little — colors, shades, sounds, flavors, sensations, moods, fleeting thoughts, moments of transcendence when you’re very lucky…”

Warren Zevon taught us to “enjoy every sandwich.” Now John Darnielle has taught us to enjoy every potato. Will it be enough to get us through another year? Hell yes!

Today’s the Day… every day!

Just a few quotes to ponder as we get ready to turn the page on 2021.

A miracle happened: another day of life.

Paulo Coelho

Life, what an exquisite privilege.

Katie Rubenstein

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.

Omar Khayyam

Funny how we tend to put too much stock in our resolutions for the “new year” based on a calendar that came out in the 1500s… and we don’t spend nearly enough effort making today count. Because it’s the only day that counts.

The Magic of Music

I’m not much of a Beatles fan. [I know that’s a blistering hot take for someone of my vintage, but so be it (not “let it be…”). I’d much rather hear new music than songs that have been played a bazillion times. And if I do have to listen to “oldies” I’d prefer the Who, the Kinks, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Rolling Stones… pretty much any other band from that mid-to-late 60’s era. I’m not saying the Beatles weren’t good and ground-breaking… it’s just I could go the rest of my life without hearing another of their songs and would be fine with that.]

Basically BTS of the 60s.

However, last night the internet rabbit hole led me to an article about a guy that semi-stalked John Lennon, several years before Mark Chapman did the same, with more tragic consequences.

The article was quite interesting. As noted above, I’m no Beatles superfan, so I’d never heard the story of “Claudio” before. But what really stood out for me was a footnote… it contains one of the best descriptions I’ve ever seen about the emotional power of music.

[11] If you’re ready to stop reading because you think I’m a deluded hippie no more rational than Claudio, hear me out and think about what music actually is and how it affects you: someone you do not know and have never met creates a series of sounds and combinations of words that, once recorded, you might eventually hear and it will bring you absolute joy, or cause your body to move wildly, or reduce to you to tears, or create an unbreakable bond between you and another person, often times achieved in about three minutes or so. If there is such a thing as magic in this world, this is a solid example of it.

Ryan H. Walsh

Wow! He really hit the nail on the head… it’s amazing when you stop to think about it. Or maybe don’t think about it and just enjoy it!

[ The author of the article also wrote a book called Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968. I’ve read that book, and it’s a fascinating look at several wild events (some music-related, some not) that happened in and around Boston back in ’68. Well worth checking out.]

Creativity is Child’s Play

The Broken Record podcast is a treasure trove for music geeks like me. But even if you’re not music-obsessed, you’ll probably enjoy it. The most recent episode features Amanda Shires, talking about her new Christmas album.

Something Amanda said about the writing process really rang true for me – check out this 45-second clip:

Write a little bit every day.

Read good books and poems to inspire you.

Be open to the muse.

Look for the magic in the mundane.

Stay your spontaneous “silly self.”

Our ability to write, to paint, to sculpt, to act, to dance, to create in all its forms, has been with us since we were kids. As we grow up, most of us bury it, or ignore it, or let it die of neglect. Because we’re scared of what others might think of it… of being judged.

But deep down, you know — and I know — that your “silly self” doesn’t give a damn about what others think. It’s just having fun.

Now get out there and rock on!

The Long and Short of Giving Thanks

Good friends and bad (dad) jokes.

Happy times and sad songs.

Real science and science fiction.

Tall tales and short stories.

Cool bands and hot concerts.

Important work and trivial pursuits.

Light beer and… heavy beer.

Other blog writers and my blog readers.

Writing about walking

Geez, it’s mid-October already? I can’t believe more than a month has passed and I’ve yet to encourage you to feast your eyeballs upon the glorious wonderment of my stellar writing in the September issue of Cincinnati Magazine. (Ouch! I just broke my arm trying to pat myself on the back.)

OK, I know I need to pump the brakes on the “glorious” and the “stellar” and any other sort of superlatives. But as a wannabe writer, it’s pretty darn cool to get a byline.

The assignment (courtesy of my old friend John Fox, the editor of Cincinnati Magazine) was a fun one: walk a new hike/bike path and share some observations and pointers.

My piece was part of their September issue cover package on “Walking” (a timely topic during yet another pandemic wave).

The full article is online here. If you like it, let me know. If you don’t like it… take a hike!

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