Sunday, February 26, 2023

Take a sad song and make it better


Today (February 26, 2023) marks the anniversary of the date in 1970 when the Beatles released their Hey Jude album, the Beatles' longest running No. 1 hit in the US. Related to an incident online a couple of days ago it started a thought process searching what might be my four or five favorite songs of all time.

My favorite DJ on the facebook music page Ultimate 70s Fan Page played Eric Clapton’s Layla, credited to Derek and the Dominos, and I commented it was in my top three. Then today I tried to think of my top three and I couldn’t hold it at three, but maybe four: Add Jimmy Buffett’s A Pirate looks at 40 and Crosby Stills and Nash’s Southern Cross to the list and that’s as far as I went. I’m sure there will be at least a couple more.

So, back to Hey Jude. The first time I heard it was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy show. Almost immediately I understood the message, but it wasn’t until several years later that the full importance of it evolved. I was going through a divorce at the time and had joint custody of my son who at 11 or 12 was just beginning to show his interest in music. The Beatles were high among his favorites.

He was experimenting with a number of instruments as well, including a keyboard I had bought him. One night he asked me about the blues and what they were about. I’m not sure now (about 20 years later) what exactly I told him, but I do remember saying to play the blues you had to feel every note. He asked what does that mean “feel every note?” I said something inane like it has to come from deep inside you. He appeared still baffled and then it hit me. I got out the Hey Jude CD (yes that long ago). I asked him to listen carefully to the song, explaining that it was Paul McCartney writing to Julian Lennon during the breakup of his parents’ marriage, something my own son was experiencing at the time and use that feeling applied to his situation.  Eventually we worked it out so he could play the basic melody on that keyboard,

I’m not sure how much that affected him, but a few years later when we saw Paul in Tacoma, Washington, and the song came up I put my arm around him with tears welling in my eyes and without looking at him felt our connection so strongly at that moment. I still can’t listen to that song without it drawing some emotion out of me.

In truth, each of those four songs draws some emotion and memories and maybe that's the test. There are plenty of songs I like and many I like to sing along with but only a few  where I feel an emotional attatchment . Those are the ones that seem to rise to the top of my informal list. What are yours?

And, for good measure:


More favorites 

Even more favorites

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Memorable quotations

The best way to know you are having an adventure is when you wish you were home talking about it." — a mechanic on the Alaska State Ferry System. Or as in my own case planning how I will be writing it on this blog.

"You can't promote principled anti-corruption without pissing off corrupt people." — George Kent

"If only the British had held on to the airports, the whole thing might have gone differently for us." — Mick Jagger

"You can do anything as long as you don't scare the horses." — a mother's favorite saying recalled by a friend

A poem is an egg with a horse inside” — anonymous fourth grader

“My children will likely turn my picture to the wall but what the hell, you only get old once." — Joe May

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”Stephen King

The thing about ignorance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner." – David Lagercrants “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”

Why worry about dying, you aren't going to live to regret it.

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

Normal is how somebody else thinks you should act.

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

I realized today how many of my stories start out "years ago." What's next? Once upon a time?"

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Sports malaprops

Maybe the worst ever from the Department of Redundancy Department: "… his physicality AND athleticism…"

Commenting on an athlete with hearing impairment he said the player didn’t show any “uncomfortability.”


He's not doing things he can't do."


"… there's a fearlessment about him …"


"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."


"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."


"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.


"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."


"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."


This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!


"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.



"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?



Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.


A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."


Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.


"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.


"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."


"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."


"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?


"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."


"They're gonna be in every game they play!"


"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."



"The game ended in the final seconds."


You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?


How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"


"If they score runs they will win."


"I think the matchup is what it is"


After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?


"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."


"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."


"That was a playmaker making a play."