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Saturday, June 02, 2007

It was forty years ago today..

The end of May 1967 was a time of barely constrained exuberance for me. Graduation from high school was imminent and all that I hated about those years was about to be over. All that I imagined might be possible lay ahead of me right after the caps, gowns, and final formalities of finishing school were done. I was eager to get on with it specifically because I was going with three buddies- for a whole week at Gary's parents' beach cabin at Sunset Beach. No grownups along for the ride. The summer weather was rolling in, I had a girlfriend who liked me, and life felt good. That was the context in which Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Bank arrived. That week at the beach was full of great memories all of them colored with the background tones of Sgt. Pepper's. I don't think we listened to anything else the whole week.

So this week we are all reminded that it's been forty years. Not the twenty that seemed unimaginable in the title song. And the line 'Will you still need me? Will you still feed me/ when I'm sixty four?" resonates amazingly. I could ask my wife this question and it wouldn't be very abstract.

I loved the album. I've listened to it several times today and still love it. However, I'm amazed at some of the commentary I've read and heard. Sgt Pepper's is being pitched as a revolutionary piece, completely different than the previous Beatles work. Not to be contentious, but there was an extraordinary album spinning into our lives the year before that presages dozens of elements of Sgt. Peppers. Revolver made our heads spin and, in my opinion, doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Songs that tell stories. Complex use of new and unexpected instruments, sound samples, and electronically distorted sounds? They all show up on Revolver.

When all's said and done, though. I am truly glad that I hit 13 just as Meet the Beatles came out and surfed the grand slam wave of their music right into the present. I love 'em.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

This morning while I was busy working on tiling the dining room floor, I heard the roar of jets. I scrambled out on the back porch in time to see the two fighters streaking south to fly over some community's ceremony honoring our dead. I thought about the only people I have contact with in the military: my nephew who's training in medical services in the Air Force and my daughter's partner who just came home from her three years in the Marines. She spent several months at Al Asad in the western Iraqi desert. I opposed going into Iraq. I am cautious about how we wield our military might. I don't have a family member in harms way right now. And so I'm like most Americans today. The 'war', the 'surge', the 'insurgency' and so many other terms are theoretical to me. I don't have a person who's close facing off in the Afghan/Iraq theater. And I find myself struggling with that reality. Because this is a shooting war- more so in the last couple of months as we put forces in place to take on the insurgents in Iraq. I don't have to give up anything, ration anything, or keep a light in my window. This war doesn't even demand that I pay attention to the daily bulletins, the skirmishes, the bombs, or the names of the dead. This war has not been--from day one--America's war. It's been a cheap war bought without demanding that we all be part of it. And I am sad and shamed by that. The young men and women, like those few I know, who are the pointed end of the spear we have thrust into the maelstrom of Iraq, deserve all of our attention, every day. Deserve all of our support when they return. Deserve our thanks. Whether or not this is the wrong war, they go out to fight it on our behalf with the best of purpose into places that are unimaginably horrific. I pledge to do more to support their sacrifice in this coming year.

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