My Report for August (Borrowed from TCM)

I’ve done this type of post before where I write about what I am listening to, reading, and watching in hopes that it might inspire you to share what you’re absorbing these days. Plus, if you’re stuck on ideas, these might be worth checking out at some point in the future.

Musicwise, I am obsessed with the songwriting of Lori McKenna. I’ve trekked home for two days successively with her albums Massachusetts and The Bird & The Rifle. Both are worth picking up if you happen to run across them in a record store. Both are filled with songs that remind me of why I fell in love with music in the first place.

Bookwise, I am about to embark on the latest in the Harry Potter universe with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’m curious to see how this entry matches the tone and feel of the other books in the series (seeing as how it’s actually a stage play authored by someone other than J. K. Rowling).  I’m also extremely stoked to finally have my hands on a little devotional book entitled Seven Sacred Pauses by Macrina Wiederkehr (which I am fully expecting to rock my world).

I’m revisiting the strange and wonderful world of Twin Peaks, the short-lived, quirky, sometimes bizarre series that is slated to finally get around to its third season 26 years after the last episode aired way back in 1991. Maybe this means that Firefly will have a much-belated second season at some point in the near future? A brown-coat can dream.

Moviewise, I seem to be stuck on a Ingmar Bergman kick. Lately, I’ve watched both Through a Glass Darkly and Winter Light, two out of a trilogy based on Bergman’s struggle with God and faith. I don’t necessarily agree with some of his conclusions, but I have to admire that he was a brilliant filmmaker who was much more interested in creating art with a message than mass-producing eye candy that sells a lot of movie tickets.

That wraps up my report for August. Stay tuned for the next time I get around to writing about all the media I’m consuming. As always, I’d love to hear what you’re listening to/reading/watching these days. I just may add it to my ever-growing list.

 

The Further Adventures of Bob Dylan on the Brain

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“Well, there’s voices in the night trying to be heard
I’m sitting here listening to every mind-polluting word
I know plenty of people who would put me up for a day or two
Yes, I’m tryin’ to get closer but I’m still a million miles from you” (Bob Dylan)

As of this report, I’ve made it all the way to the year 2001. In Bob Dylan time, that translates to the album Love and Theft. By this point, his voice has lost whatever velvety softness it ever had and has picked up a growly quality, kinda like ol’ Bob’s been gargling with razor blades.

Still, his voice also has a lived-in quality, like it’s from a man who’s been just about everywhere, man, and seen just about everything and lived to tell about it. Not all of it was pretty, but just about all of it makes for some really good songs.

I have to add that I think the Daniel Lanois-produced album Time out of Mind would have made an excellent musical companion to the short-lived TV show Twin Peaks. Particularly the song “Million Miles” sounds like it could have fit perfectly in with a slice of apple pie and a “damn good” cup of coffee. I especially love the reverb on the guitars. (I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about, right?) I think the Grammys got it right when they made this the album of the year way back in 1997.

He also did a couple of throwback albums, entitled Good as I Been to You and World Gone Wrong, that hearken back to when it was just Bob, his guitar, and his harmonica. I thought he did a fantastic cover of the old song “Tomorrow Night,” made famous by Sun Records-era Elvis Presley, among others. The plaintive song brings out the best in Mr. Dylan’s vocal abilities, at least in this writer’s humble opinion.

I only have five albums to go (six if I run across a great deal on his 2015 album or one of his bootlegs that I don’t have). I guess I’ll have to decide after that who to listen to next. Maybe Neil Young?

Maya Angelou, Twin Peaks, and Other Thursday Offerings

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I found out with the rest of the world when Maya Angelou died yesterday. I was saddened. More than than, I regretted not taking the time to know more about her. I had read one of her autobiographies a few months ago, but I honestly couldn’t say that I still remember much from that.

Her last tweet was “Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

I like that. I don’t think that I listen to myself because I myself am divine, but more like I listen to myself because God dwells in me as much as He dwells out there. I’m reminded of something Ralph Waldo Emerson said: ” ‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

You can’t find quietude and stillness unless you take the time to interrupt your busyness and make space for quiet. You have to turn off the TV, turn off the radio/streaming/music device, and put down your phone. You have to be still and tune out all the distractions that the media is throwing at you from every angle. Then maybe you can hear God.

I can tell you more about Twin Peaks, an early 90’s short-lived TV series that I’ve been watching lately. It is odd and compelling. It’s got David Duchovny in drag. I think that says it all. You probably need serious drugs to understand what all goes on during each episode. At least I think so.

There were only 29 episodes in the series and I have seen 23. I think there was a sort of prequel movie that followed. Only in Hollywood would that last sentence make sense.

But yes, it is Thursday, which makes tomorrow Friday. There will never ever be a time when that is not a good thing. I always love Fridays even when I’m not working. Because Friday always leads to sleeping in on Saturday and church on Sunday. Both of those are favorites of mine.

So, RIP Maya Angelou. And Happy Friday to all of you.

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The Not-So-Super Bowl

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Yes, I know. Super Bowl XLVIII was two days ago. Yes, I watched it. Well, most of it.

If you watched it, you probably know that it wasn’t exactly a nailbiter. There was no thrilling finish. In fact, you might say the contest was basically over when the Denver center snapped the ball over Peyton Manning’s head. The Broncos never recovered after that.

To be more specific, I watched the game right up to the point where the Seattle Seahawks scored to make it a 36-0 game. At that point, I turned off the game and watched a couple of episodes of Twin Peaks, which were much more dramatic and suspenseful than the game ever thought about being.

I’ve never seen a team play worse than the Broncos did in that game. I’ve never seen a team so demoralized as those players in orange and blue.

Even the commercials (in my opinion) weren’t all that great. There were a few that I liked, but mostly they were like the game– overhyped and underperforming.

I do think it’s better to watch a game like this with friends or family or a combination of both. It’s good to have a few board games handy in case the game gets out of hand (sorta like this one did).

I’m glad I’m not a Denver Broncos fan. I’d be really depressed right about now. I’m not really a Seahawks fan either. I just wanted the game to be close and for both teams to play well. As it turned out, it appears somebody forgot to tell most of those Denver Broncos there was a game that night.

As I get “mature” (a nice way of saying “older”), I find that I prefer a good movie to a sporting event. I don’t know why. I just do.

I do however hope next year’s Super Bowl is a bit more competitive. At least make the commercials fun to watch.

 

Another Day at McKay’s

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I spent the afternoon in one of my favorite places on earth. For those who are unaware of my recent history, that would be a tiny used bookstore in West Nashville called McKay’s. And for those of you unfamiliar with Nashville, I use the word “tiny” in the most non literal sense of the word possible. The place is HUGE. It’s ginormous.

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I traded in more movies and came home with a load of new treasures. And yes, I kept my salivating to a minimum. For a book/DVD/CD nerd, that’s not easy. It’s like walking into used heaven.

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I picked up seasons 1-3 of Absolutely Fabulous, the complete series of Twin Peaks, season 2 of The Walking Dead, and the first series of A Fine Romance. I added Billie Holiday. Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, and The Beach Boys to my vast and varied music collection.

It was a very good day.

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As always, I went in looking for one thing and came out with another. Kinda like when you go to Target for toothpaste and walk out with 15 items (but no toothpaste).

I’ve learned life with God is like that. I think I need to be dating like yesterday. He thinks I need to learn to love being me and grow in grace a bit more. I want a big salary and lots of moolah. He wants me dependent on Him in every moment.

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I’ve learned (or am still learning to be more honest) that God’s ways are 100% better than mine 100% of the time. I think I want to much, but God sees my dreams and desires not as too big but as too small. Too limited and narrow and self-focused. God has a much bigger picture in mind, a much better dream, much grander desires for me.

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And I still have $1.33 left over in credit.

PS I had a scary moment in the parking lot. I got to my car and realized I had locked it with my keys inside. 😮 Then I just “happened” to remember that I had stuck a spare key in my pocket this morning without really thinking about it.

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I guess God had this afternoon in mind when He put that thought in my noggin. I definitely outsmarted myself again. One small heart attack and one call to AAA and one possible LONG wait averted.

Life is good, God is great, and I am still blessed.

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