Today is Father’s Day, with all of the commercial hoopla that usually accompanies American holidays. Love your father? Prove it by spending money. Publish your advertising saying “Happy Father’s Day! Come spend money with us!”
Here’s the thing: for many of us, there is no “happy” in Father’s Day. I lost my father when he died a year and a half ago. But in a larger sense, I had lost him several years before that, when I was outed to him as being transgender. This turned out to be a larger truth than his parochial worldview could encompass, and he cut off all contact with me. That was his interpretation of Biblical scripture: no matter what Jesus said about love, my father decided instead to follow a vaguely-worded Old Testament verse and disowning me completely.
But the time came when he reached out to me in an attempt at reconciliation. We spoke for over an hour on thee telephone, and concluded by saying we loved each other. That was our last time: he died four days later.
If there’s a point to all of this, I think it’s this: don’t give up on love. Don’t give up on your parents, don’t give up on your children. And don’t base your acceptance of each other on the words of primitive sheepherders who thought everything they couldn’t explain was attributable to gods.
Remember, these people didn’t even know where the sun went at night.
Monday afternoon found Constant Reader checking in to the Emergency Department (ED) at Strong Memorial Hospital. I’d been feeling poorly for the past couple of weeks, and I was finally sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. After several tests—including an ultrasound—it turned out that I had a urinary tract infection (UTI). Not just any UTI, mind you. Oh, no: I never do things half way.
Urosepsis. In other words, the infection had spread throughout my entire system. Time for intravenous doses of strong broad-spectrum antibiotics. Three days of that and I was on the mend.
But here’s the thing: although I was admitted Monday night, it wasn’t until Thursday morning at 2 a.m. that they were able to find a bed for me on the medical ward. Until then, I was stuck on an examination table in the ED.
But they let me go this afternoon (with a bottle of antibiotics), and I’m going to spend the next few days catching up on my sleep.
June 2, 1967. That’s when an amazing album was released in the USA:
50 years ago today. 70 years since Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.
Just a side note to you purists: the first song in the album says “It was 20 years ago today,” so why am I saying 70? Simple: 50 years ago they said 20 years ago. It’s simple math: 20 plus 50 equals 70.
I was 17, less than a week from my 18th birthday. So it was my birthday present to myself—along with a copy of the debut album of a new group out of San Francisco:
Sometimes I wonder what these albums—neither of which I own anymore—might be worth today?
Many fans if the Fab Four as they were sometimes called credit the Beatles with producing the first-ever concept album. Nothing could be further from the truth. This was the first concept album in the rock ‘n roll world:
The Beatles themselves credited “Pet Sounds” with being the inspiration for “Sgt. Pepper.” But if you want to know who had the very first concept album ever, you’ve got to go back several decades to a young Italian-American singer named Francis Albert Sinatra:
Starting in the 50’s, Frank Sinatra embraced the notion of putting out albums that had a unifying theme. And he continued the idea over the years with many great collections based on a single concept. As a result, he may be more associated with the concept album than any other recording artist. (https://franksinatratribute.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/frank-sinatra-and-the-concept-album/)
And Beatlemania? Yep, Ol’ Blue Eyes was there first, too. Female fans had to be carried out of his concerts because they had fainted. Ushers from his venues said they hated his concerts because of the messes they had to clean up afterwards from the girls who had wet themselves (and the theater seats).
So, Yeah Yeah Yeah
Don’t misunderstand me: to this day, Paul, Ringo, and the late John and George remain my all-time favorite band and Sgt. Pepper still makes me smile every time I play the CD.
And the four lads from Liverpool are still influencing music to this day.
Remember the analog world? Back when clocks had hands? When you had to have a modem in order to talk to another computer? You remember modems, right? A device that converted the digital signal your computer produced so it could be sent along analog telephone lines?
How about vinyl records? Do you remember how superior the sound was to CDs? That’s because the analog signal from the record was a continuous wave, while digital CDs are a series of discrete chunks of sound…no room for the in-betweens of a record.
What Brought This On?
Back in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, my connection to the Internet was via a landline. My connection was always reliable and strong. Right from my computer to the Internet.
Today my connection is wireless via a cable modem. Basically, that means my signals go from my computer to the wireless router, but from there, they compete with every other Internet user in my area.Think of it as a water main: when you’re the only customer in your neighborhood, your water pressure is excellent. But as more and more people move in and attach to the same water main, your pressure drops with each new customer.
And if the main breaks or gets clogged somewhere, the entire neighborhood is without water. And that’s the situation in my neighborhood right now. In more technical terms, the Internet is down.
Technology Isn’t Perfect
Nor are the people who create and implement new technologies. Want an example? We put a man on the moon in 1969—and then it took us another 20 years to figure out how to put wheels on suitcases. Houston was able to talk to Neil Armstrong and his crew, but I was lucky to telephone my grandmother in the Bronx from where I was living in Juneau, Alaska.
Well, it looks as if the ‘Net is back up just in time for me to finish this rant and post it. Thanks for reading, and see you next time.
Unpacking the face of the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess. It was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States.
When I look at Liberty’s face, the first thing I see is compassion. That’s what first struck me as a child, and that impression has stayed with me ever since.
Losing Liberties in the Name of Freedom
But over the past decade or so, our liberties have been curtailed in the names of “freedom” and “safety.” The so-called “War on Terror” has whittled away at our personal freedoms, and to what avail? One idiot tries to blow up a plane with a bomb in his shoe, and now we all have to take our shoes off to fly. How many more school shootings have to happen before we institute meaningful gun control?
“But it’s in the Constitution!” Yes it is. But so is freedom of speech and public assembly, both of which have been restricted. My right to vote was never before predicated on whether I had a driver’s license. And what kind of country allows its elected representatives of the people to exempt themselves from the laws they pass to control the people who elected them in the first place? Am I the only one who thinks about these things, and thinks they’re wrong? Am I crazy?
“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
Jefferson is also reputed to have said that every generation needs its own revolution. Is it time, do you think, for our revolution against the lawmakers who no longer represent the interests of the voters but instead are nothing more than whores for the rich and the multinational corporations?
I say let the people decide.