Reviewing lyrics and Living on the Edge

As a young teen, I was pretty fixated on Aerosmith’s 1993 album release “Get a Grip” and the hits that came from it. It was such a mix of Hard Rock and Pop, along with a mix of Steven Tyler’s attitude (which was most shown off during video performances – but that’s acting in part; lyrically it showed up in songs like “Flesh” or “Crying”.

The song that won me over was track #5 on the album, “Livin’ on the Edge”

In 10th grade I wrote an essay about the song and how it seemed to be an overall view of life and how we “live on the edge of sanity and sobriety”.  From the viewpoint of a 15 year old, that seems to fit just fine. And in a way, it’s still something that goes with the song.

The thing is, sitting here oh-so-many years later and thinking about the music (and listening to it), I’ve gone a few more inches regarding the song’s overall meaning. It’s fitting now with how we’re all reacting to things in the political world or social sphere…. But it’s been that way for a long, long time. Hell, its human life.

There’s something wrong with the world today
Don’t know what it is
Something’s wrong with our eyes
We’re seeing things in a different way
And God knows it ain’t his
It sure ain’t no surprise…
We’re livin’ on the edge

[Chorus]

Something wrong with the world today
The light bulb’s getting dim
There’s meltdown in the skies
If you can judge a wise man
By the color of his skin
Then mister, you’re a better man than I….

Those are the first two verses of the song and they give an overall view of an honest, everyday life in US society. We’re always pushing for something or seeing a wrong transpiring with the news of someone else’s accomplishment or met benchmark. And while we strive to achieve or right a wrong, we feel or see more wrongs, more doom and gloom that make us wonder just where the hell we’re going as a world.

Perhaps the most profound and murkiest line of these two verses is the wise-man declaration. The statement irons down the fact that this is everyone. Not just groups you prefer. That fact and we all have high points that need to be seen instead of where we came from.

This is the last verse of the song:

There’s something right with the world today
And evrybody knows it’s wrong
So we can tell’em no or we can let it go
But I would rather leave it hanging on

We’re all living on the edge. It’s life. And life itself – having it, experiencing its achievements, pitfalls, horrors, celebrations, comics, remorse, adventure, frustration, etc… It’s what’s always been there. It’s also society; it’s the social sphere of humanity. Its life, and it’s damn well better lived than mourned as if the end was here.

I think it’s a middle verse, sung twice, that nails this down:

Tell me what you think about your sit-u-a-tion
Complications, aggravations, it’s getting to you
If Chicken Little tells you that the sky is falling
Even if it wasn’t, would you still come crawling
Back again?
I bet you would my friend
Again and again, and again, and again and again…

For everything you see as wrong, for every doom that tells you the end is nigh, you’re going to keep going. You have things to accomplish, social gains to achieve or to support, political gains or protests to vent.

And while we’re Livin’ on the edge, the backing vocals of the chorus seem fitting:

Livin’ on the edge
You can’t help yourself from falling
Livin’ on the edge
You can’t stop yourself at all

… With a double-deep vocal simply repeating everybody behind the “You can’t” lines.

We see peril, doom, and upheaval. You might be on the political left or right, you might be a vegetarian or a meat eater, you might be a guy, girl, transgendered, gay, bisexual, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Indian, militant, pacifist, etc, etc… We’ve all got our places to go, people to see, things to do, and items to achieve. It’s what’s driving us and dividing us all at the same time. It’s the edge of life – it’s the world happening. And happen, it’s going to do. That’s living,

 

Musical Demo: Picture Perfect (aka Picture Perfect Love Affair)

In the late 1990’s I was a poet and lyricist first and foremost. You can find some of the poetry I wrote and have written over the years on the site (click the writing tab above and move down to the poetry selection). That’s not the point though. One poem I wrote, just a lyrical mash-up inspired a bit by Green Day, was “Picture Perfect Love Affair”, a crazy guy in love with a girl in a photo. In fact, that story sort of mocks me at the time, as girls from High School still mattered, and I only had their photos to look at.

Years later, I forget when exactly, I had a little edit of the poem.  “Edit” being the addition of a chorus to use between stanzas:

It’s a picture
Picture perfect

Picture perfect love affair

It’s a real simple build up and filler but it does the job that is expetec of it – it moves you forward and transitions you.

The summer of 2016 had me meet (online and off) Nick from the Pretty Voices. At one point or another I ran lyrical verse past him in a conversation and lo and behold, Nick delivered a demo of my work.

As it stands right now, I don’t think the Pretty Voices are going to record this thing, but it IS nice to have something I wrote put to music.

Loving thyself: The resurrection

[This story isn’t front page for a reason: It’s a little perverse and talks adult-like things, even if they come off mundane.  I needed to get this off my chest, thus the write up that’s been posted. I also don’t want everyone seeing it, thus this isn’t being promoted on social media by me]

Continue reading “Loving thyself: The resurrection”

Regarding surgery and the menace that is NF2

There’s another aspect to talk about regarding life and where things for me stand at three weeks after I had an emergency brain operation which I talked about last week. What I focused on squarely during that write-up was post-op and the world I was involved in as I tried to grasp reality again. Just for the sake of throwing out the key words: Delusions, mental lapses, reincarnation.

Yeah, but what about before all that, what about pre-op?

While I have no recollection of Tuesday, December 6th and the events that led to surgery, I can remember life leading up to this incident just fine. And in the days before December 6th, it did come up where I thought of grander concepts and my medical condition in general. And I didn’t want anything to do with a process of medicine.

Let’s take a step back here and start with my condition: A rare neurological disorder called Neurofibromatosis Type 2. I’m deaf by way of it. I’ve had a few operations to remove tumors in my back and head. I know all the fun and games of the hospital (…which further makes me pissed off at the “ICU” I dealt with earlier in December, which was nothing of the sort, but I digress). At 37 years old, the concept of NF2 treatment is what pre-op was about. My thoughts leading to Tuesday, December 6th were a shrug and a rude hand gesture or two toward NF2. While the menace was and is part of my life, I wanted to live my life firstly and forget about the medical condition. I wanted to be and not get lost in MRIs or neurological clinic visits and such.  It’s those aspects that dominated thoughts of pre-op: The fact I was overdue to have a scan or see a neurologist just for shits and giggles.

Being is what life is about; most of us toil through what our world offers. That’s what I wanted; not to get distracted by what could happen if I don’t, but to foil away against what was happening with life. NF2 can go fuck itself, and if it was going to kill me then oh well, too bad, so sad.

Yeah, and then we move to today and where I am at the moment and I’m ready for war. Like I said in the write-up the other day, I was dead post-op. Knowing that (or experiencing that) riles me up inside.  I had to experience this shit and you’re still a genetic menace in my body? Fuck you.  Fuck you, dearly [Editor note: f-bombs are fun sometimes and fitting]

I’ll have an MRI in the next six months, I’m sure, and will likely see one neurologist or another just to have a social sphere and good times… All because tomorrow is dictated by what the disease brings to the table. I’ll still foil and toil away at life as it matters, but this genetic condition ain’t playing well with me and I sure as shit don’t want to be nice in return.

 

Surgery, mental state…. All the fun and games of an emergency operation

Where I am sitting tonight is two-weeks after an emergency brain operation that came out of nowhere.  And in reflection, two weeks ago immediately post-op, I was dead, due to be reincarnated. I didn’t know about surgery, I just knew that I was waiting to be picked up by someone else and move forward into a new life with them as a partner.

I keep reflecting and can just assure you very much I have no recollection of Tuesday, December 6th [editor’s note: I got dates wrong for the week this went down; I have the 5th listed over and over again. That was Monday. This edit is correcting things]. One piece of news I found out was that I was ambulanced to Tampa General Hospital, and that memory actually surfaces (but not clearly).  Truly, though, things did not clarify at all until I was in a supposed ICU area on Wednesday that was to be the centerpiece for reincarnation. As someone who has had many a surgery in the past and knows Intensive Care Units, this wasn’t one. This felt like the dorm at a college, minus the social interaction. This wasn’t a high-end facility either, it was a waiting area with TV promo video.

Folks, does that seem random? It’s delusional, and that’s where I was for most of that week. It’s how far gone I was. Oh, and Wednesday I found out that I had died in a car accident with my parents. That’s what I remember. I’d find out I had nails in my head and such and didn’t know the extent of my injuries (or what really happened). I just was gone and in a process of becoming again.

I write this random stuff down and it sounds crazy. That’s how far gone I was post-op.

It wasn’t until Saturday, December 10, that I knew I was alive (and the reincarnation thing was a delusion). I had moved to a show-area on the Tampa General Hospital 4th floor and things had taken a more life-defined theme. Things were happening and everything was go-go-go, not the ultra laid-back, no-interaction crap of the days before. I wasn’t lost. At the same time, I still didn’t get what had happened to me. It wouldn’t be until later that weekend where I got told directly by family and friends about what I had gone through.

Does any of this make sense? It shouldn’t. It just shows that John J. Fonts Esq. was in a very odd place the week of December 6, 2016. Where he is now is recovering from surgery. Mentally, I’m spot on and ambling forward as I should, with physical ailments holding me back mightily (a fight to deal with).  Two weeks ago? I don’t know how it started, and in general I ambled through crazy until reality reintroduced itself to me and I got back to the land of the living.

Airplay and fans for a certain band

Since August 2016 the Pretty Voices have been available on Jango to listen to. It’s already a subject that’s been touched on around here but what I’m going for now is to note something about the site that better reflects listening habits: Popularity.

There have been 17 total tracks made available from two albums; the pretty voices ep and Jangular. The latter album was released in May of 2016 while the former was released in December 2010. The band has really been pushing Jangular pretty consistently and my inclusion of their debut EP album wasn’t requested but I did feel like the rock fans wouldn’t mind hearing the whole enchilada and not just the most recent album.

I can’t say airplay has been consistent on my part. Two tracks have over 600 airings (Radishes and Control) while there’s one track that has only gotten 10 airings (Nancy Boy). Popularity does have a bit of influence over airings though; Radishes has 12 “fans” while the song that leads Pretty Voices on the network is El Camino with 14 fans (fans or the more common Facebook “Likes”).

I could keep sharing information here but let’s just go to the data and work from there. Note, this is listed by popularity order (most popular).

Song Name Album Plays Fans  
El Camino Jangular 577 14
Radishes Jangular 613 12
Grease Fire the pretty voices ep 443 10
Haircut Jangular 581 10
Crackle Pop Jangular 574 8
Control Jangular 662 8
House Party Jangular 371 7
Britney Jangular 572 6
Senius Genius Jangular 513 5
Hush Yer Mouth the pretty voices ep 220 3
First Rate the pretty voices ep 110 2
Uphill Tack Jangular 147 2
Pin Prick the pretty voices ep 100 2
Lost Weekend the pretty voices ep 120 1
I Found the Essence Rare Jangular 124 0
Mean Song Jangular 140 0
Nancy Boy the pretty voices ep 10 0

 

With the exception of Grease Fire, the pretty voices ep’s tracks haven’t had its content played much. Pin Prick has only gotten 100 plays (despite earning fans), so keep that in mind with the lack of plays for Nancy Boy.

All of this is more airplay than what happens with people surfing around YouTube. While I recently added the pretty voices ep tracks to YouTube, the tracks from Jsngular have been out there for a while with scant use.  Does that hinder the songs? No, it just shows that people have different habits with listening than using YouTube.

Nancy Boy will get more airings, as will other tracks in time…  but for the meantime, El Camino is ruler (online) of the band.

The missing hit: “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”

My first exposure to the Beatles, the most influential pop/rock group of the 20th century, came by way of a VHS tape. As a younger child before that, I’d probably already heard the group countless times on the radio; my father listened to oldies all the time on 101 WCBS FM in New York and I was exposed to a plethora of oldies through the first 6 years of my life while being driven around in the car. Dad also had a knack participating in call-in contests on WCBS and winning himself DJ autographs and other things from the station.

I don’t remember details of when and how, but I do recall my father sitting me and my brothers down to watch a VHS tape that he won from the radio. I also remember the fact it started with a black-and-white trailer for another movie and how it turned me off at the time… I mean, I was a kid! We had cable TV! I don’t remember what I wanted instead but I do think it was just expectations and that trailer didn’t catch my interest. That music-driven, black-and-white trailer was “A Hard Day’s Night”, the Beatles previous film.

Then the main picture started and my attention and interest was drawn in. I won’t go through the lead-in scene to Help! But between me and my two brothers who were watching, we got locked in with curiosity….and became enthused with the musical performances within the movie.

I could talk about Help! in-depth here as a film, but my focus isn’t on the entirety of the flick but a 2:23 performance that is, in my humble opinion, the greatest song not released as a single by the Fab Four in the group’s history (as an active band and after the breakup): “You’re Going to Lose That Girl.”

My brothers and I would rewind the movie and watch the performance of the band over and over again. John Lennon was on lead vocals, Paul McCartney and George Harrison backed him vocally in a harmonious fashion, repeating him and singing with him. Heck, the performance in the film itself was the band recording the song with the scene framing in-studio mystique (and before you ask: No, this was not filmed at Abbey Road).

I’d simply post the movie clip here but the powers-that-be (be it film industry or Apple Corps LTD) has removed the video from YouTube. In protecting copyrights and ownership, irrelevance is hoisted. It’s an ironic truth. Of course, if you know of the song and like the song, then that statement is not an attempted dressing-down of its value as-so-much an admission of where it has gone by being profit driven and thus hidden from the masses.

I don’t know how long covers of the song are going to be allowed to exist on YouTube (blame that on the powers-that-be if it isn’t long) but I post one of the covers of the song below. The biggest audio-difference between this and the original version is the depth of the sound and its richness.

Contention, mediocrity, and the future of Tampa Bay sports

The storied franchise of each city in the United States is different.  There’s a chance they are all on part, but that’s basically a decree toward the mega-markets – the New York Yankees, Giants, Rangers, Mets, Jets; The Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, White Sox and Cubs (congratulations, Cubbies, on your World Series championship); the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, they-have-an-NFL-team-again-in-the Rams. That’s talking market size and not what I’m touching on here.  The storied franchise of Tampa Bay is the Buccaneers of the NFL, that one ruling force of the region for its longevity and its beholden nature to the sport worshipped by the region.

Yeah, yeah, Florida loves itself some football.  If it’s not the Bucs then the sport is dominated by college antics, high school efforts, or even the twisted spring and summer interests of Arena Football (that’s not trying to put it down or undermine it as so much admit the fact the league was adopted because of the fallacies of the Bucs).

The thing is there’s a very big breaking point in Tampa Bay sports history on the cusp of coming into existence. It’s already happened, really, but this enigma becomes a fact within the next 5 months. How many NFL fans would expect their NHL teams to be more apt than their NFL clubs are? How many NHL towns can boast that their hockey team is just as often a playoff contender than their NFL team?

Indeed, the Tampa Bay Lightning professional hockey club is close to matching the number of playoff berths the Buccaneers have accomplished in their 40 years of existence. The Lightning can already crow about going to the cusp/brink of a championship more often than the Bucs – the Bucs made the NFC title game three times and advanced to the Super Bowl all of once; the Bolts have been in the Eastern Conference finals four times, playing for the Stanley Cup twice, winning once.

The Bucs made the playoffs all of 10 times in their 40 year history, accomplishing it for the first time ever in 1979, and then crossing into the playoffs twice in the early 1980s (1981, 1982) before failing for 15 years.  Tony Dungy resurrected the Bucs competitiveness in the mid-1990s and got them back into the playoffs in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001… He was then replaced by Jon Gruden as head coach who grabbed a Super Bowl title in 2003 (his winning season as coach was 2002) before things started growing awkward. The Bucs made it to the playoffs all of two times after the championship (2005, 2007).

For the Lightning, the franchise has existed for 24 full years (but, with thanks to work stoppages, seasons have been abbreviated twice and stopped all together once in that span). They cracked the playoffs for the first time ever in 1996 and didn’t make it again until the 21st century (2003). They won Lord Stanley’s Cup the very next year (2004) and have made the playoffs most of the years following (2006, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016).

I could elaborate on stats a bit, or about schedule shenanigans brought on by Players Association / league conflicts in both the NFL and NHL, but the technical stuff doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the Lightning has made the playoffs nine times in their history while the Buccaneers have made it 10 times.  The NFL season is more brief compared to the NHL, the NFL makeup has been thicker over the years (number of franchises) than the NHL (though the NHL has grown in size; they’ll be at 31 teams next season, just shy of the NFLs 32 teams).

The Bolts are likely to compete in their 10th NHL playoff appearance in team history (subject to change under certain circumstances) while the Buccaneers…? The Bucs are at this position internally and competitively where things don’t matter besides what the market and the league provides for them. That’s not a knock on the market as-so-much a knock on the Glazer brothers who have kept a status-quo of the franchise that mimics Hugh Culverhouse; business first and competitive futility second.  The major difference between Culverhouse and the Glazers is that Culverhouse was not a silent individual whereas the Glazers are mutes in control of the sport the market is in love with. If they want more at a cost to the market, they’ll get more upon demand. If the market expects from them, keep dreaming. That’s all we’re allowed to do.

It’s part of why Jeffrey Vinik, who took over the Lightning in late winter 2010, is such a champion of an owner. Vinik has his hockey team competing at the pro sports level but he is also accomplishing in-market with what he seeks and accomplishes downtown… That’s a far, far cry from the Glazers (who have own the Bucs a much longer time than Vinik and the Lightning).

The Lightning tying and potentially topping the Bucs in playoff achievements is long overdue. Some football fans might see that as a moot decree – the NFL is much more competitive and influential than the NHL – but to strive to achieve is a grandeur accomplishment than accepting mediocrity.

Where on Reddit to promote your hockey writing

As one of the longest tenured bloggers tied to the sport of hockey (well, at least up until a few days ago when I stopped for the most part), I’d like to take a moment to try to make mention of a category on Reddit where you can have feature content from your blog posted.

If you’re a fan of the NHL or the sport of ice hockey in general, you’re going to go with the no-brainer of /r/hockey, which is the top spot for hockey coverage on Reddit…. and it gets bogged down with at-the-moment coverage, chatter, videos, etc.

Promoting feature writing, though? There’s a subreddit aimed specifically for doing that (though few people are posting within the group) called /r/hockeywriters.  Yeah, the name makes you think that this is specifically for The Hockey Writers authors, but it’s not specifically for them (unless I missed a memo).  It’s to help promote content from hockey bloggers who do feature write-ups on just about any network.

If you’re looking just for feedbavck (and that’s the last post done on the group), it’s probably wiser to post the request on a different group.  If you’re looking to promote a specific write-up you’ve done? Or promote a featured article written that you enjoy (not news — feature article) that sellsyou on the author of the piece, then /r/hockeywriters may be the place to go.

Downside: Less than 100 subscribers at this point. That can be remedied, can’t it?

Mediocre instrumental marked as top rock…. again

I’m not against art as music or as pop music for that matter… The Beatles give society enough reason for that.  I’m not against fans voting for songs online either.

That being said, another installment of avantgardeaclue has christened a mediocre instrumental as the top Rock song on Jango / Radio Airplay.  Solar Wind by Michael Wark is art, at best.  Sadly, it’s proof of corruption on the system at its boldest. This ain’t Rock.  It isn’t nearly so.