Friday, March 03, 2006

Down "Off" the Farm

I've been writing so much about the farm since Christmas it seems like a good time to talk about some other things. There is no order to this.

This Blog

As one sees in other blogs, a small community develops around the blog and a lot of chat goes back and forth between the blog contributors. Not so with this blog. This blog is set up as a journal where only one person can add to the blog. I chose to build it this way so as not to drain conversation (via blog chat) that you and I would otherwise have when we speak. This route seems to be working well and I'm glad I chose it.

So, how am I doing?

These are very good days. Things are moving very fast right now. I like where I am, I like the new people I'm meeting, I've found a place to be integral with animals, and I'm looking forward to a very long Spring, Summer, and Fall. I've put down several solid roots in the area between the people I've met, my housemates, the soup kitchen, and the farm and I look forward to adding more soon. The camera and tripod are out and I'm looking forward to hitting the road this Spring. I have an idea for a camera journey which should take me to some unusual places in the area this year. I also want to look into other volunteer opportunities and I've been threatening to take East-Coast Swing lessons for so long now I really just might do it! (Thanks to Sue and Judy!)


You know the 70's "Classic Rock" that many of us grew up with? Funny thing, I think I've heard enough. At least for now. Whenever I come across a "Classic Rock" station on the radio I just skip over it. "The Who", "Stones", "Tull", etc. Perhaps it makes sense. After nearly 30 years of listening to the same songs, played by mostly the same radio stations with the same song lists, they were bound to lose some magic. Perhaps I need to just put them away for a while and let them come back on their own.

Another plug for WDST 100.1 FM out of Woodstock. They play tons of terrific new stuff. Even when they play the classic stuff, they tend not to play the same old 4 or 5 smashiest hits. You might be surprised that the Eagles did do at least a few more songs besides "Hotel California" and "Life in the Fast Lane"! DST streams off the web so anyone can get it.

Of course there are faves that I still listen to. Neil Young has always been my single most important artist but he never received the airplay that others have so he's not overexposed for me.

Also, I've been getting into "cover versions" over the last year and since many of these covers are relatively recent, they're still fresh.


Something struck me the other day while working at the farm and listening to Coldplay (an appropriate band considering last Sunday's weather!) on the truck radio. Is it me or is every Coldplay song perfectly synched to cloud movement? No matter the cloud speed. Even if the cloud(s) are at a near standstill, it still works beautifully.

Give it a shot! Throw on any Coldplay song and look up at the sky (umm, provided there are some clouds when you do). I think you'll find the same thing.

Five songs you might want to fling into your Ipod:

* Elton John & Allesandro Safina "Your Song" (2002)
We all know "Your Song" by Elton John. This is a 2002 reworking of the song with full orchestration and with Elton John supplying new vocals backed by opera singer Allesandro Safina singing new background lyrics to the song in Italian. A chorus of children (but possibly women, I can't tell) is also featured. The chorus is heard briefly but it will stop you cold. If you're a fan of the original song, this is an enormously powerful version that you'll want to know about.

As with any other song mentioned here, if you can't find it and would like to hear it, just let me know!

* Van Morrison w/ The Chieftains "Star of the County Down"
Van has his Irish up for this song. If you're a guy who remembers a girl that you once saw getting on a bus or crossing a street many years ago, just for a brief moment, and you never spoke to her, and you never saw her before or after that moment, and you still remember her to this day, she just might be in this song.

* Paul Simon and Bob Dylan "Sound of Silence"
An absolute "gift" to hear these two do this song together. Is "Sound of Silence" the best song that Dylan never wrote?

* Tom Waits "Tom Traubert’s Blues"
This song carries a sadness that's tough to peg but easy to identify with. (Did that make any sense at all?)

It's the type of song where anyone can lay their own "bad stuff" on and make it personal. It's also one of the most beautiful songs that I've ever heard. I've always found a beauty in sadness. This song plays to that I think. It's beauty lies in it's sadness to me.

Whenever asked what my favorite songs of all time are, I've always given the same 5 songs:
All Along the Watchtower (Hendrix version)
Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkle)
Cowgirl in the Sand (Neil Young)
Fire and Rain (James Taylor)
Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin or Rod Stewart versions)

The order may change, but the same five songs have been there for many years. I need to add "Tom Traubert’s Blues" to this list. It's that strong for me. You might like it as well.

Not a very pretty round number is it?! "6 favorite songs"? I'll have to now call it a favorite "half-dozen", or take the list all the way to 10!

* Johnny Cash w/ Joe Strummer "Redemption Song"
I was never a huge Johnny Cash fan until a year or so ago when I discovered some of his newer covers of U2, Tom Petty, Nine Inch Nails, and others that he did shortly before he died. If you like the Marley original, I think you'll be impressed with this version. It has enormous heart and Strummer of "The Clash", not someone who might quickly jump to mind to pair with Johnny Cash, contributes simple, stripped down, no frills vocals that have a magic when added to Cash's.

As before, if you'd like to hear any of these songs just let me know.

Arm. No Hammer.

My right rotator cuff seems to have bit the dirt. I could always peg a softball or a snowball. Last Winter I could throw a snowball as easily as ever. This year, forget it. The arm's gone. If throwing snowballs is any indication, I don't think I could throw a softball at 20% of what I used to. (Sigh.)

The Food Bank

I haven't been to the "Food Bank" in several weeks. I'm going to go back but I'm going to give it a few weeks more. What has happened at the Food Bank, probably owing to the recent Christmas season, is that it's swamped with volunteer "groups". Three or four times in a row I'd show up at about 8:30 or 9:00 and by 10:00 a group (a Bard basketball team, a Marist lacrosse team, a church group, a high school group, etc.) would come in to volunteer. One really can't just send them away so they wind up doing the volunteering for the day and those of us who are there volunteering previous are left with nothing to do, so the day ends for us. I get the feeling that as Winter wears off there'll be less groups coming in so it'll be worth going back. In the mean time, my walking partner Debbie pointed me in the direction of some kitchens that MIGHT serve dinner to the same clients. I say "MIGHT" because nobody knows for sure if any organization serves dinner in the area. Neither Debbie, who works in a related field, any of the staff at the kitchen, nor anyone at the Social Services office downtown know if there is a "dinner program" in the area. I'm hesitant to ask one of the clients where they might go for dinner. It feels like an insulting question though I'm beginning to feel like I might be wrong with this thought. Anyway, the Social Services people gave me a list of local churches that I need to follow up on. There may be an answer there. If not, I'm sure work will be needed at the Food Bank soon.

Food for the Gluzzies

Here's some web videos you might want to look at:

* Harpo Marx speaking (this one's audio only):

* If you're a fan of Monty Python, here's a clip of mainly John Cleese and Eric Idle at Graham Chapman's memorial service (can you say "fuck"?):

* Barking cat (really funny!):

* "While my Guitar Gently Weeps" video w/George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Phil Collins, and Jeff Lynn. Possibly from a "Prince's Trust" concert(?). The song is given a choppier, harder edge than usual and it works wonderfully! A funny side note, Ringo Starr and Jeff Lynn are still wearing their backstage passes on stage.

The "Catskill" Farm Animal Sanctuary

I visited the "Catskill Farm Animal Sanctuary" a few weeks ago and was given a tour by "Julie" who helps run the office. It's a 100+ acre farm that also has horses, rabbits, geese, rams, and pot-bellied pigs. Julie was really nice about taking the time to show me around and I'm sure I'll visit there again soon to volunteer for some shifts after the barn has been completed in Woodstock and the new animals are settled in.

Shower to Shower

It was never a prediction of mine that at this point in my life I would be living with a housemate (Ken) who sings "Moon River" in the shower! It's pretty funny!

Rap Wrap

Well, that's what I got for now. As before, I just wanted to yack about some "other than farm" things.

More farm next time. With better weather the new barn would be finished by now, but it's getting there and will be finished soon. New animals on the way.


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