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Joseph E Bird

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Joseph E Bird

todo esta bien chevere

It’s cool, baby.

A loose translation.

A song from back in the day by Steveland Morris, aka, Stevie Wonder. He’s laying down the patter at the very beginning of the song, trying to impress a lady by telling her everywhere he’s been, including Ufrasia, wherever that is. Then he tells her he speaks very fluent Spanish, proving it to her with the phrase, todo esta bien chevere. That’s cool, baby. Don’t you worry ’bout a thing, sugar.

A little Latin flavor for my six-string. A fun song to learn to play.

i killed sally’s lover

So here we have a provocative headline. And also a dramatic photo that has nothing to do with the headline. Except it does.

I haven’t killed anyone. Don’t even know a Sally.

It’s an Avett Brothers song. Yes, I do listen to other music but the Avetts just keep drawing me in. This song is a cautionary tale about getting caught up in a crime of passion.

Now all you ramblin' fellas
You listen close to me
That woman gonna bring you pain
Your heart is gonna bleed
But it ain't worth the trouble
The sufferin' or the grief
A bleeding heart is better than the penitentiary

So, yeah, don’t do it.

But it’s a heck of a fun song. Just watch this live version.

Ok, so maybe this is just backwoods hillbilly music. But it looks like so much fun, especially when played at the frenetic pace of their live version. Naturally I want to learn to play it like that.

I’ve been playing guitar for most of my life but it’s only been in the last six months or so that I’ve really begun to learn songs from beginning to end. I’ve even learned to sing while I play. That may not sound like a big deal, but try patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time. That’s playing and singing. It doesn’t come easy.

I’ll never be a star. But there’s a great deal of personal satisfaction in trying and learning and getting better and reaching your goal. I’ve got a play list of 12 songs now.

Sally’s Lover will be one of the harder songs I’ve learned. The chords are easy – G-C-D – but there’s some fast picking I have to learn that’s really going to be difficult. But I’ll get there.

The photograph?

A relatively simply structure I built on the back of my deck. It’s a result of my experience over the years with even simpler projects.

I’ll never be a contractor. But there’s a great deal of personal satisfaction in trying and learning and getting better and reaching your goal.

Now all you ramblin’ fellas
You listen close to me
This life is gonna bring you pain
Your heart is gonna bleed.
But it’s surely worth the trouble
The sufferin’ and the grief
To do that thing you want to do, don’t quit till you succeed.

kangaroo

old shoes
cheap booze
jumping like a kangaroo

gimme this
gimme that
ink another tattoo

i’m bored
ignored
hatin’ like a warlord

pop a pill
do the shot
headin’ for the psyche ward

the lambs are young and still so
innocent
their dreams are pure and hope is
infinite
the shepherd’s blind and speaks with
insolence
the wolves are close, destruction
imminent

sweet bread
silk thread
actin’ like a godhead

drive your ‘vette
fly your jet
all i got is cornbread

it’s not fair
you gotta share
baby needs the daycare

give me yours
and i’ll have mine
i don’t want no welfare

the lambs are young and still so
innocent
their dreams are pure and hope is
infinite
the shepherd’s blind and speaks with
insolence
the wolves are close, destruction
imminent

low pay
you say
i don’t need it anyway

take from her
give me his
all about the green way

lip sync
group think
preachin’ just a hoodwink

yes i do
no i don’t
throw me in the precinct

the lambs are young and still so
innocent
their dreams are pure and hope is
infinite
the shepherd’s blind and speaks with
insolence
the wolves are close, destruction
imminent

hard rain
fast lane
working up the food chain

i will work
sweat my brow
i don’t want no slow train

take a stand
hold my hand
a better way we should demand

pray for peace
and sweet release
let’s walk into the promised land

the lambs are young and still so
innocent
their dreams are pure and hope is
infinite
the shepherd’s blind and speaks with
insolence
the wolves are close, destruction
imminent


copyright 2020, joseph e bird

born to run

This happened a couple of weeks ago:

It’s summer. 11:00 in the morning and it’s already 85. I’m running up Baier Street, one of the steep hills in the neighborhood. I’m about halfway up and I see a guy unloading a lawnmower getting ready to get to work. I say something to him about how hot it is and that it’s only going to get hotter. As I pass him, he says something about pain and never being alone. Yeah, that’s appropriate for both of us.

As I reached the top of the hill, I began to wonder if what he said was a quote. So this evening I looked it up. Here it is:

Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.

You’ll never guess where it comes from. Christopher McDougal.

Does that name ring a bell? It won’t unless you’re a runner.

Christopher McDougal used the quote in his book, Born to Run, the story of the ultra-distance runners of the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. A fascinating book, especially if you’re a runner. In the book, McDougal quotes Ken Chlouber, Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100-mile race.

Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.

Now I wonder. Is the guy with the mower a runner? A reader? Both? Or did he just pick up the quote along the road of life? I hope I see him again. I’ll ask.


So today I’m out running again. Just the flats today.

Is that him? I think it is. So I stop. He’s trimming a yard and when I approach he turns off the trimmer. I remind him of our encounter a couple of weeks ago. He remembers. Tells me the quote again.

I ask him where he got it. A podcast, he says.

I tell him that its from Born to Run, the story of the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico.

Yeah, the barefoot runners, he says.

He tells me he used to run. Ran the Charleston Distance Run. Now he lifts weights. And mows grass.

He pulled the cord on his trimmer and he was back to work.

And I ran on down the road.

give me leave to do my utmost

“I am going away forever – and I shall never, never see you again. For I have learned here that life is hard and cruel and that in this world there are things that are – impossible.” — Lt. Lorens Lowenhielm, from the short story and film, Babbette’s Feast, by Isak Dinesen.

“And, I shall be with you every day that is left to me. Every evening I shall sit down, if not in flesh, which means nothing, in spirit, which is all, to dine with you, just like tonight. For tonight I have learned that in this world anything is possible.” — General Lorens Lowenhielm Dinesen, from the short story and film, Babette’s Feast, by Isak Dinesen.

I’m not a fan of subtitled movies. I have a hard enough time following stories without trying to read the subtitles instead of watching the scene. Babette’s Feast is a 1987 Danish film (and a short story by Isak Dinesen) about two sisters who live in a small village in Denmark. It’s without dramatic action, crazy plot twists, or wildly eccentric characters. It’s subtitled for English speakers.

And it’s terrific.

The quotes above are from the same character, the first when he was young and impetuous. The second when he was older and wiser.

And then there’s Babette, a secondary character without whom there would be no story. Her motives are pure.

“Through all the world there goes on long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost.”

If you can find it, give it a chance. You won’t be sorry.

through a glass darkly

Normally, especially as of late, when she steps in front of a mirror an automatic mental process kicks into gear that prepares her to greet her older self. It buffers her, dulls the shock.  But in the shopwindow, she has caught herself off guard, vulnerable to the reality undistorted by self-delusion.  She sees a middle-aged woman in a drab floppy blouse and a beach skirt that doesn’t conceal quite enough of the saggy folds of skin over her kneecaps.  The sun picks out the gray in her hair.  And despite eyeliner, and the lipstick that defines her lips, she has a face now that a passerby’s gaze will engage and then bounce from, as it would a street sign or a mailbox number.  The moment is brief, barely enough for a flutter of the pulse but long enough for her illusory self to catch up with the reality of the woman gazing back from the shopwindow.  It is a little devastating.  This is what aging is, she thinks as she follows Isabelle into the store, these random unkind moments that catch you when you least expect them.

          Pari, from And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

we americans

someone said in the comments, if they don’t play at my funeral, i’m not coming. i agree.

victory

the boys are at it again.

from their upcoming album Gleam III.

my father will say they need a haircut and a shave. and it’s a shame they can’t finish out that garage. but wouldn’t you like to be hanging out with them while they sit around and play?

pain

It’s summer. 11:00 in the morning and it’s already 85. I’m running up Baier Street, one of the steep hills in the neighborhood. I’m about halfway up and I see a guy unloading a lawnmower getting ready to get to work. I say something to him about how hot it is and that it’s only going to get hotter. As I pass him, he says something about pain and never being alone. Yeah, that’s appropriate for both of us.

As I reached the top of the hill, I began to wonder if what he said was a quote. So this evening I looked it up. Here it is:

Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.

You’ll never guess where it comes from. Christopher McDougal.

Does that name ring a bell? It won’t unless you’re a runner.

Christopher McDougal used the quote in his book, Born to Run, the story of the ultra-distance runners of the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyon. A fascinating book, especially if you’re a runner. In the book, McDougal quotes Ken Chlouber, Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100-mile race.

Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.

Now I wonder. Is the guy with the mower a runner? A reader? Both? Or did he just pick up the quote along the road of life? I hope I see him again. I’ll ask.

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