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The 3 most important songs in my life

As a working musician, and someone who’s always had a song of some sort spinning around in my head, narrowing down the three most important songs in my life should be fairly easy. Lets see if it is….

I remember hearing the 1968 Jimi Hendrix version of “All Along The Watchtower” long before I heard Bob Dylan’s version. I wasn’t old enough to understand the calling back then, but it was there in Jimi’s guitar. A 12-year old kid, confused about so many things that were calling. Not knowing what to expect when we heard our father coming in from work, there was so much confusion, Jimi sang about it in that song, “There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.” I’m not sure there is any relief, not much in this life anyway, which is as it should be.

Love, yes, that all-encompassing emotion that hit me at an age when I probably needed it the most. Brought to me in part by the Moody Blues and “Nights In White Satin.” This one was out around the same time as “All Along The Watchtower,” 1967. Is that a significant year in my life or what? It appears to be. I fell so hard when I fell in love that nothing else mattered, I think it’s partly responsible for deafening the call of the guitar. It wasn’t until recently that it finally quieted enough to let me hear it again.

And then we jump ahead 6 years, 1973, and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon.” A 17-year old kid, married, in the Navy, on a submarine even! Pink Floyd’s quintessential album somehow guided me through 4 patrols under the Mediterranean Sea. “Speak To Me / Breathe” became my theme song during long days while the Blue Crew was in for R&R. The heady scent of dope hangs in the air of my best friend’s trailer, I can still see his hand paintings on the interior walls, he was a good artist. I wonder what he’s up to these days. He’d often ask to use my car and I’d take his motorcycle, a red Yamaha, 650 CC. I didn’t have a license to drive a motorcyle, but it didn’t matter, nothing much did back then.

“All Along The Watchtower,” “Nights In White Satin,” and “Speak To Me / Breathe” became the three most important songs in my life approximately 1 hour ago.

This post was brought to you and me in part with inspiration from the folks at The Daily Post

Unlock (Writing 101, First Assignment, Stream of Consciousness)

I held the key but deciding what to unlock with it was something I hadn’t given much thought to. The day was dark so there wasn’t much sunlight to judge what I wanted to open. All I knew was that something needed unlocked because I had this key. I don’t remember who gave it to me, or the time of day, or was it night? It doesn’t matter, what was locked needed unlocked and I had to find the lock that fit my key, or the key that fit my lock. I’ve been locked out, didn’t need a key to open the lock. I crawled through the basement window, walked upstairs and unlocked the door to let myself in. I was already in. The lock. I had to unlock something, but what? Where’s the key? What key? The key of C? No, Am, or Em? I think I like Em, I can usually create an etherial sound with just that one key. And when I strum the Martin just so, that key always unlocks the door.

But it was getting dark, there wasn’t much light left. I can’t find the lock in the dark. Feeling is relied upon, eyesight isn’t. Close my eyes and use the key. What key? The key of Em, Am? Em has usually unlocked many doors, but then the door shuts and is locked once again. Having less sunlight, waiting until the next day, or not. I cannot find the lock, but how long have I looked? Or does this require more than one set of eyes? Maybe there’s more than one key for that ONLY lock? Yes, I think there is. If you had only one key, and it fit the locks on three different doors, Door Em, Door Am, and Door C, which door would you unlock?

My key was shaped like a guitar, I knew how to unlock all three doors. But I didn’t know what was behind any of the doors. I knew a carpenter who could make windows. Mirrored windows, you could only see yourself, but from the other side you could see your life, the history of your life, leading up to the time you took the key. I kept the key too long, waited for a time when unlocking Door Em meant crawling through a time tunnel. I needed the key to unlock the door, or the Door. The key I held began to play that Key, the Important One, Etherial One, Em. It will still unlock the other doors. But only if you listen to the Key, the Important One, Em. In the end, there is only one key, the Important One, the Key, the KEYNOTE.

Shting shtang shtung! (Your brain on music)

I’m inspired by most music I hear, especially live music. I carry some of that inspiration around with me, and  when I’m playing out somewhere with my band, Mandolin Whiskey, it’s used as fuel. Music also fuels other things; my writing, gardening, washing dishes, doing the laundry, conversations, listening, and when not to listen. That last one may seem odd but my brain, and your’s, needs a rest every now and then.

I wonder how long we’d last if thinking required physical exertion? Probably not very long. Some folks go on long walks saying that it helps them think better. Does your brain physically exert itself when you say “I’m going on a long walk to think things over?” Do we think too much? Cerebral congestion, hmmm, is there such a condition? Are we at a point where the deluge of data is deafening? Music helps my noggin clear the congestion, ease the flow of traffic, it steers me into the rest area.

I listen to all kinds of music, but tend to shy away from hip-hop, although I can certainly see the art in it. I’m not big on country music either, other genres such as rap, jazz, and classical don’t frequent my play list much. But again, I appreciate the art that goes into it, and there’s been times when a certain hip-hop or rap song will inspire. My son AJ introduced me to a new genre recently called “trap,” I’ve not added any to my playlist yet, but I’ve heard a few of AJ’s selections and they inspired a thought or two.

While digging mulch the other day I unknowingly disturbed a nest of yellow jackets. Two were inspired by the noisy disturbance to initaite defensive posturing, which of course led to a painful experience for me. I wasn’t listening to music when this happened.


What is a career?

My first job was sweeping up hair at a barber shop when I was 12 or 13. I don’t remember how long it lasted or how much it paid. The second job I had was at a veterinary clinic, don’t remember much about it either. There is one memory from the clinic that stands out; taping a cat’s front paws and back paws together so it could be given a bath.

I’ve had many jobs over the course of these 58 years, but no career. I never gave much thought to one. Considering the circumstances of my upbringing, there was no importance placed on choosing a career, there were too many other choices that took precedence. Choices that a kid shouldn’t have to make, but that’s another story.

There comes a time when we all make certain choices about where we might find meaningful employment. Whether or not this leads to a career is circumstantial I think. Does having the same job over a period of many years equate to a career? It might if that job is something you’ve chosen because you enjoy it.

For those of you like me that have worked many jobs, ones that are enjoyable and some that aren’t, arriving at something called a career is an elusive chase. But I reckon that’s part of the hunt, and I’m thankful I still have a nose for it.

Punctuation pet peeves

TC Conner:

If you’ve ever doubted why I cringe when I see bad punctuation, The Doobster will set you straight!

Originally posted on Mindful Digressions:

punctuation typesToday’s Daily Prompt asks us to fess up about our punctuation quirks.

First, this post is written for an American audience. I preface this post with that caveat because I know that you Brits, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders follow different punctuation rules.

And that’s fine. That’s the way you were taught. Who am I, just because America is the center of the universe, to suggest that you’re wrong? Even though you clearly are wrong.

Second, I’ve posted about both of these personal punctuation pet peeves previously. (Hey, did you like that little bit of alliteration right there? And if you have no idea what “alliteration” is, Google it you ignoramus.)

These previously posted personal punctuation pet peeves relate to the Oxford — or serial — comma and to the placement of commas and periods with respect to end quotation marks.

So if you’re a regular reader of my blog and you’re…

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The Most Awesome 30 Minute Organic Gardening 101 Talk Ever

TC Conner:

A new follower and a new friend in gardening with great advice on organic gardening.

Originally posted on HonieBriggs:


A friend of mine who teaches high school asked his students what they think when they hear the word philanthropy. One of the clever students said, “I think it’s when rich people have gas” and without missing a beat, my friend said, “Yes! When rich people have so much gas it becomes contagious, that’s philanthropy.”

Of course the student was trying to be funny, but the teacher got the last laugh. The lesson here is that what we think isn’t necessarily wrong; it may just need to be modified.

Oh, and don’t try outsmart a wise teacher.

Before I moved to Texas I thought, dry, dusty, windy, hot like living in a big hair dryer. Dallas, South Fork Ranch, Patrick Duffy, hot, Houston we have a problem, Tom Hanks, hot, cowboys, hot, oil rigs, hot. Now, after living here and becoming part of a community I know that Texas…

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ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent

From time to time I ask for and receive various garden related items to review. I get no monetary compensation for doing the review, but I do get to keep the item I’m reviewing. Sometimes the item is worth keeping and sometimes it isn’t. Either way, I offer an honest review describing what I liked or didn’t like about the item. The item being reviewed for this blog post is a ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Appliance.


I’ve been a mosquito magnet ever since I can remember. I’m not sure if the attraction is my blood, complexion, height, width, or something I’ll never know or understand, but I do know that as soon as warm weather arrives, and I’m out gardening in shorts and sleeveless shirts, skeeters feast on me! Unless I’m protected with something containing at least 20% DEET, I’m sure I’d be sucked dry in less than 24 hours!

Most of the sprays and lotions out there have that “mosquito spray” aroma, masked with some other kind of chemical ingredient that is supposed to make the stuff more bearable to our noses. And there are other things besides the sprays that work well for some folks, including lotions and oils of all kinds.

I remember a “Spyder Rydge” camping expedition many years ago, along “Chigger Lake” somewhere in Jefferson County, Kentucky. My brother-in-law brought some Avon Skin-So-Soft lotion and was using it for protection from skeeters. Unfortunately, it had no effect on the chiggers!

I’ve not made a final decision about ThermaCELL yet. Initial testing isn’t looking too good, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now. Out of the box prep wasn’t too difficult, instructions were easy to follow and I had the “appliance” (I’m reassessing my idea of what an appliance is) up and running in only a few minutes. I thought about using Deet on one arm and nothing but the appliance placed on a table close to my other arm, but considering the science of this experiment (I’m no scientist) I thought better of it. So, I’m just taking the unit out with me on treks to the garden, and while sitting out by the fire with a beer.

I was intrigued by the technological aspects of ThermaCELL, which prompted me to ask for the product for review. This is the first “appliance” I’ve seen that uses butane as a heat source as part of its repelling abilities. And all the parts are contained within one unit. Gimmicky? Perhaps. My final analysis isn’t quite complete, but so far I’m leaning toward gimmicky.

One initial fireside test has been completed. The unit ignited and began emitting the repellent, however, it had no effect on several mosquitoes that bit my son’s legs.


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