Monday, March 30, 2015

alligator lizards in the air...in the air... (Updated)

Spring in Southern California, the weather starts to warm up in the 70's and low 80's and the alligator lizards start to appear. I first see them on my trail run as they bask in the sun on the dirt edge and scurry off in the brush as my Clydesdale running style announces my presence. Then, they start to appear as little guys on my front walkway and also on the patio in the backyard, just sunning it up. Now the little ones never hang out by the front or back screen door, but the big ones, 8"-12" inches with their impressive tails, want to come in the house. They lay right at the foot of the door, frustrated that they can't find a way in.

This past year, I finally got a new front door, new vinyl windows and screens and a new back slider and screen, all sealed. Ha Ha you stupid little creatures! Every spring or summer until now, I have always found at least one alligator lizard inside my house, just hanging out. So on Saturday, I'm clearing out a small pile of branches that I had trimmed a couple of weeks ago. I pick up a branch and a 12" alligator lizard goes flying in the air and lands back in the dirt next to fence. With a little prompting with the branch, I guide the lizard to an opening spot where it goes under the fence. Yep, my works done here, protecting the wife from such a sight and all, I retire indoors. Well about three hours later, I step out from my sliding back door and just as I'm about to put my foot down, there is Mr. Alligator Lizard, I jerk and jump about 3 feet up and over him, damn, scared the hell out me, you stupid little creature! I guess we're even.




I sit down in a lawn chair and then the harmony comes into my brain, "alligator lizards in the air...in the air..." For the past two days I have been playing that line and the entire 1972 song of Ventura Highway by America, in my head. Can't get it out of my head. This song actually brings back fond memories of early driving days up and down the 101 coast. My friend Bill says he thinks of me every time he hears the song and I'm thinking it probably has good memories for you as well, and thus my feature for the week.




I found the Ventura Highway Wikipedia fascinating because the line, "alligator lizards in the air', is pretty off the wall, but very singable. As a Santa Maria boy, this song had a more in depth meaning than I ever realized.

"Dewey Bunnell, the song's vocalist and writer, has said that the lyric "alligator lizards in the air" in the song is a reference to the shapes of clouds in the sky he saw in 1963 while his family was driving down the coast from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California where they had a flat tire. While his father changed the tire, he and his brother stood by the side of the road and watched the clouds and saw a road sign for "Ventura".[2]
"He also stated "I remember vividly having this mental picture of the stretch of the coastline traveling with my family when I was younger. Ventura Highway itself, there is no such beast, what I was really trying to depict was the Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1, which goes up to the town of Ventura."[4]

And, if you've ever wondered why you can't get a particular song out of your head, watch this.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Touch of Grey

Well it's actually a bit more than a touch of grey, more like full-on grey (see my profile picture, oh boy). This Thursday, I turn, turn, turn 60 and I've got the B-cards coming in. This card was LOL funny and thought it would make for a great playlist of songs for this week's blog. Also thought I'd add the large size font just to play along with my children. Anyway, here are two songs each from the real bands that made us sing and dance when us boomer's had our original hair color. Enjoy!





Monday, March 16, 2015

Hot town summer in the city (Updated)


Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.... Yes living in the drought years, winter is spring and spring is summer. Yesterday I was watching the LA Marathon on the news and people were just literally melting in the heat. That is why the LA Marathon is scheduled for March, because logic says it's not going to be in the low 90's in March. Oh well, two songs came to me quickly in the past 72 hours. The first I'm sure you've surmised from the title, The Lovin' Spoonful's Summer in the City.



 Second up is Linda Ronstadt's Heat Wave which came to me last night while contemplating a run for this Monday morning. Well I'm keeping this short today so I can get that run in before I melt. Stay cool!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Always with the negative waves, Moriarty (Updated)

Like most people, I feed off positive words, energy and action. We humans are social creatures who tend to huddle with folks we like. We like them because they give us a sense of being, they share their humanity with us and it helps us grow, together we are happy. But in our quest of riding that train of happiness, there are always unkind and flat out mean people to disrupt our trip. For me, this past week has been full of disruption. I've was having wonderful breakthroughs in getting a new business off the ground, but it was coupled with a surrounding negative vibe that was throwing me off my game. As I proceeded through my week, I couldn't help but think of the movie, Kelly's Heroes and feeling like the character Oddball. Here is a great compilation clip from YouTube that just sums it up.


So to combat these negatives waves I turned to John Prine to give me inspiration. He is a genius at getting to the core of our souls through his words and music and I needed his help. He just laid out the problem for me with his song, Some Humans Ain't Human. Please stop reading and listen to this.



After that, I started listening to some of his more upbeat and humorous songs including, It's a Big Old Goofy World. The world's a funny place, let's go through life with a sense of humor and respect and just enjoy the ride.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Breaking Format - Updated



If you listen to music on your car radio, you probably are constantly flipping your preset station buttons. I often just turn off the radio and listen to my own tunes on my smartphone. I live in San Diego and after all these years of trying every station up and down the dial, I always fall back to just one station now. I love rock, pop, jazz, blues, folk and americana to name a few genres, but a lot of the music I want to hear is just not on FM radio today. This month I turn the big six oh, so I've heard a lot of rock n roll in my time, but on the radio you are only going to hear the big big hits from the narrow narrow radio formats.

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So what music do I listen to on the radio? KSDS Jazz 88.3. It is bar none the best music radio station in San Diego County. Why? Because they play such a variety of jazz and blues. On Jazz 88.3, you will never hear the same song twice in a week and probably not in a month. As people get older they tend to get more conservative in life, with the exception of music. It is one of those magical things in life as most people actually expand their musical tastes over the years. With many young people, it is just the opposite. I strongly recommend Jazz 88.3 to anyone young and older who were just raised on hip hop or rock n roll, respectively.  If you live in San Diego, give it a try for week and let me know if you have ‘expanded’ your radio listening.

Now to television, a medium that is actually getting better with cable and pay for view programming. Last week, I got a couple of pleasant surprises to shake my 'ol preconceptions about two current and very popular music artists. Gotta love it when that happens.

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First, I'm watching my favorite music tv station, Pallada owned by VH1 (Time Warner Ch. 286, San Diego). Pallada gets it, they play shows and concerts from a very eclectic range of pop and rock people, good stuff. I came across, You+Me: Live in Santa Monica (check TV scheduling) , a folk duo project by Dallas Green and Alecia Moore (better known as P!nk or Pink). What? Pink doing folk, I was shaking my head, this should be interesting. Well, it was. It was better than that, it was damn good! These two artists and their vocals together are a perfect match and it blew me away. I actually got the goosebumps tingle. You know the tingle, that feeling that goes up the back of your spine to your neck hairline when you witness something special.



Second up, it’s the 2015 Academy Awards, not a great show this year, but then came on Lady Gaga. Like Pink, not a person I sit down and listen to (like change the preset button or channel). I know she has being doing her thing with Tony Bennett, doing standards and I was getting to start to appreciate her range, but then this The Sound of Music film tribute...and I'm stunned. Hey, I was also getting the goosebumps tingle again and with music coming from network TV! It was something like watching a great scene from Breaking Bad, it was that good. So just sit back and appreciate the work and respect she gives.