Mercy Spurs Imagination

I don’t know if I’ll ever figure out how when and why music affects me (or anyone else) the way it does.  I have been on kind of auto-pilot as far as music choice lately; The Dead, Dylan, a little Marley, but the other day I was driving home and I heard about 20 second of Cannonball Adderly’s “Mercy Mercy Mercy” while someone said, “Your listening to WNHN, community radio of the Capital region,” and my tastes were instantly transformed.  I got home and plowed through all the old jazz / funk I used to listen to endlessly.  Every song is THE best.  Oh, this part right here, there is just nothing better.  Wait, wait…. Isn’t that the coolest.  And while my three- and one- year old daughters did not respond with anything close to, “yeah daddy-o, this hip cat really knows how to lay it down,” the mood in the house was just ever so slightly lighter.  My mind raced, my imagination took me back to 1974.  Imagine seeing this shit performed by the original artists, in a 250-300 seat, smoke-filled club where you can see the sweat bead up and drip off the band members’ heads, you can hear them discuss what to play next, you can feel the bass in your chest, all your troubles and cares in and about the world are miles and miles away.  I wanted to hear more and more and more.  There is just so much out there and I need to hear it all right now.

How does this happen?  Like I said, I literally heard 20 seconds of a song, and it like flicked a switch upstairs or something.  Does anything else in life have a hold of the human brain like music?   I’m sure there is a neurological explanation for it, but part of me doesn’t want to know, it might dim some of the mystique behind it all.  I have begun to use it as a self-assessment tool to see where I am at in life.  A couple weeks ago, in my Dead-Dylan-Marley phase, things were kind of smooth sailing.  The summer was coming to a lazy end.  The entire family was healthy and happy.  All the bills were paid.  Now, the autumn is headed our way, and I always seem have a combination of nostalgia for years past, and anticipation for the one arriving.  I guess the jazz / funk I was just bumping has the same effect, thinking about the history behind the music while getting the creative / imaginative juices primed as well.  Just the thought provoking motivation I need to design the winterized edition of our chicken coop.

Ya know, this might just be what motivates people to play music for 30, 40, 80 years.  Exploring within oneself must be great, but being able to touch the lives of people in the same room as you, across the country, and people not yet born must be a phenomenal gift.  While I have no chance to ever come close to playing a cohesive note, I am thankful for the artists in the past, present, and future that will share their gifts.

Couple other musical thoughts:

1)      How is it that when we hear good songs repeatedly over a short period of time we get sick of it (anything by Adele), but when a horrible song is played over and over, we grow to tolerate and even sorta like it (anything by Katy Perry)?

2)      I find it amazing that musicians have not run out of things to play on the guitar.  There are six strings.  How many hundreds of years has the guitar been around?  And people keep coming up with new stuff?  I know the type of guitar has something to do with it, but with the millions of people who have learned guitar over the last couple of centuries, I am just amazed that artists keep inventing new sounds, rhythms, and styles out of one instrument with six strings.


A Reminder

I’m listening to a book titled “Man Made,” by Joel Stien (available on Amazon.  get it by clicking through the link on the top of the page).  In it, the author, who was raised upper middle class in New Jersey and hadn’t spent much time out of the NY/NJ area, had a son.  Leading up to and shortly after his birth, Stein decided / realized he was not “manly” enough to raise a son.  In an attempt to improve his manliness level, he puts himself in all sorts of different scenarios with outcomes ranging from zany to uncomfortable to heartfelt.  While caring for a dog for two weeks (something he’s never done before), he describes a feeling many people have had when living in a full and warm household.

“Everything feels slow, which I hate, only right now I don’t.  I thought having a dog and a kid would be slobber and barking and running back and forth, but it’s calming.  I feel something that’s not the absence of loneliness but something more tangible. Like anti-loneliness, like Sean Greene* and Matt Nadal* the day trader had, and I’m finally getting some of it too.”

*both appeared in earlier chapters

I have had moments like this, and our lives have certainly been made even fuller with the addition of backyard chickens to our household.  Seeing these ladies grow, introducing them to the delicacy of mealworms, and finding their first eggs have been such marvelous experiences.  I could not have imaged life without them… until today.  While playing in the yard this evening, in our “slow” moving merriment, my wife and I, our two wonderful daughters, our wonderful dog, and the four chickens were all going about our business, enjoying our time together, when one of those little fuckers pecked my baby girl!  Right then and there, I lost all love for that stupid bird (If it even is a bird! I feel like a “bird” should be able to fly more than like 5 feet at a time, so I pause to even call it that).  While I’ve cooled off a little because my baby was ok, at that exact second I heard her cry, I wanted to run up and just give the thing a good ol’ “Adam Venitari in the snow” special, if it only wasn’t mildly fleet of foot.  Things moved from “lovingly slow” to “oh shit screaming kid” fast very quickly, and it was an important reminder.  Some things in life you just can’t control.  That chicken was acting on instinct; she saw another creature about her size and felt the urge to place it in the pecking order.  She is lucky she wasn’t then placed in an order… of Buffalo wings (thank you, thank you, I’m here all week).  I guess the key is to find creatures that can exist naturally with you.  When co-existing with someone or thing forces one party to greatly alter the behavior of the other, is it really worth it?  These next 24 hours will be an important test for my love of the chickens.

1st Post – Why should I?

Well, why should I NOT?  Ha, nothing better than answering a question with a question.  I am starting to write more and more, and am trying to get some thing published, anything. This blog will give me the structured space to write whatever is on my mind at any particular time.

Trying to think of topics to write about has been the most difficult thing about writing.  I know how ridiculous that sounds, but I have plenty of experience writing in detail about what is happening in my life, or something of note that happened the other day, but there;s no point to starting a blog to simply tell the world what I’ve been up to… I can join Facebook for that.  So for my benefit as much as anyone else’s I am going to list some of the general topics I plan on writing about here at Firecat Central.  I am all inspired and stuff right now so I want to get these ideas out so I can refer to them later.

family / dad / kids stuff 

travel                                 sports

music                                cooking

observations on how people act

politics                              “the man”

spirituality                          dog ownership

home owner issues             movies

I’m excited.  Let’s get it on!!