Coming to Terms with “Someday”

The other day, for no apparent reason, I was struck by the concept encompassed within the word “someday.” The dictionary makes it short and sweet, defining it as “at some future time,” and noting such synonyms as “eventually” and “sooner or later.” Though it was “finally” that perhaps was closer to my own thoughts.

I believe what triggered this unexpected examination was thinking about a place I find wonderfully alluring—Big Sur in California—and telling myself, “I’d like to live there someday.” Then I suddenly recognized that now, much closer to the end than the beginning, my “somedays” are limited. What would have been at age 25 a reasonable fantasy that could realistically be translated into a reality, now must be tempered by a true expectation of how many days remain.

“Someday” is a word that defines itself differently depending on age and perspective. It roots itself in the concept of time, that relentless ticking of the clock and the cold fact that life makes no promises, offers no guarantees. Which leads to either willing acceptance of the inevitable end, or blind denial based in fear of the unalterable fact of death.someday01 Continue reading

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Neil Young’s Candid Memoir Reveals the Heart & Soul of a Renaissance Man

I can’t recall with certainty when or how I heard Neil Young for the first time. It was probably through Buffalo Springfield, a short-lived yet influential group that still stands up well. I definitely recall Neil’s first solo effort in 1969, but it was the next two–“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and “After the Gold Rush”—that firmly implanted his voice and guitar into my soul. I distinctly remember Neil’s singular company while driving fast and hard through rural North Carolina late one night to visit a girl whose well-heeled parents had little interest in a long-haired kid in ragged jeans stopping by: “I was lying in a burned out basement with the full moon in my eyes…” Continue reading

“Blues for Two” — Sometimes You Just Let the Music Flow

Accompanied by a robust gin & tonic, I retired the other evening to a quiet spot in front of the fire to ponder the fate of the universe and perhaps consider my own as well. It was deepening twilight, or, as the Scots would so sweetly term it, in the gloaming. It’s always useful to peace of mind to find a moment for reflection, or to think your way through whatever’s tumbling around in your head—or at least try.

And I did make a valiant attempt to wrangle disparate thoughts whirling around like a Hendrix solo. But I found myself succumbing more and more to the music I’d clicked on, without real consideration—just what was already in the box.

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A Simple Bumper Sticker Says It All: Don’t Postpone Joy

My adopted home of Asheville, North Carolina continues to make lists for best of this and best of that, which makes some people happy (particularly those in the tourism and real estate industries). There are others among us who would prefer to be a bit further off the grid.

However, one list the town hasn’t made—as far as I know and assuming there is such a list—is as the place with the most cars bearing multiple bumper stickers. There are vehicles on the streets here on which literally the entire rear is covered with all manner of messages in an array of colors. It may well be part of the eclectic, bohemian joie de vivre here in which letting your freak flag fly is both condoned and encouraged. Or maybe it’s just a subtle, and not so subtle, way to make your feelings visible. And, like a good quote, the quick, pithy bumper sticker message may have more clout and perhaps even produces more contemplation.

There’s one I hadn’t run across previously, but seems to abound here: “Don’t Postpone Joy.” I can’t say how many times I’d probably seen it before I actually paused and considered the sentiment. Continue reading

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Wants (Sorta) Your Input (Kinda) on 2013 Inductees

For the first time in its history, the supreme rulers of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have decided to allow input from the humble listening public on the 15 nominees for induction in 2013. To accomplish this, an online fan poll has been posted that allows the public to “vote for the five nominees they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

The five nominees receiving the most votes by the December 3 deadline will comprise a “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied with other ballots to select the 2013 inductees. Which sounds pretty good until you dig a bit deeper and discover this will be just one of the more than 600 others submitted by artists, historians and music-industry executives. That means our humble ballot—the fans—will count a bit less than 1% of the total. According to Terry Stewart, the hall’s president, “This is not ever going to be American Idol, no matter how much some people want it to be. But we thought it was important for fans to have a way to express themselves and for it to have some legitimacy.”

While the concept of “some legitimacy” leaves something to be desired, it’s better than sitting back and wondering just what goes on behind the scenes in this sometimes baffling process. Like 2011, for example, in which Leon Russell was finally inducted, but not as a “performer” but as a “sideman.” Okay, Leon is, without doubt, one of the finest and most versatile session players in the business. But his songwriting, solo career, and participation and influence on some of rock and roll’s greatest albums certainly deserve recognition as a “performer.” After all, the Hall of Fame says its process considers “factors such as an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique, but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.” Continue reading

Terry Gross + Doris Day = Fresh Air?

If you’re a devotee of NPR, it’s likely you’ve enjoyed the interview skills of Terry Gross, who’s hosted “Fresh Air” for the past quarter century. Even if you’re one who believes NPR stands for “Nationalized Pinko Radio” (you know who you are), you should give Gross a chance because, first, you will find she has no agenda, and, second, she attracts a range of individuals who open up under her subtle probing and offer insights that are both entertaining and informative. In other words, you might learn something and have a good time in the process.

Gross is the subject of the always enlightening final-page “Proust Questionnaire” in the September issue of Vanity Fair, and several of her answers were sterling:

What is the trait you most deplore in others? The inability to stop talking about themselves when they’re not being interviewed.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Entrepreneurialism.

What is your current state of mind? Like someone is hitting the Delete button on the things I’d like to remember, and putting the things I wish I could forget in boldface.

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