Roadsides and Mountains, taken near Taos, NM by author
Roadsides and Mountains, taken near Taos, NM by author

“What have they done to the earth?
What have they done to our fair sister?
Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
And tied her with fences and dragged her down”   by The Doors from When the Music’s Over


Earth is the third planet from the sun and in reality it is the only place in our solar system that we can easily call home. Presently, this planet supports a human population of just about 7 billion people….That’s a lot of people……..Still, it remains to be seen if our quality of life can be sustained with this many people on board.

earth at night
earth at night



Prince on the Mountaintop, artwork and photo by artist
Prince on the Mountaintop, artwork by author


Prince Rogers Nelson died last week and it wasn’t til his death that I realized that Prince was his real name, not a stage name. Though he looked many years younger, Prince Nelson was actually 57 years years old, approximately the same age as my youngest brother, who happens to be a big Prince fan. It’s always sad to see someone younger pass away, especially someone who probably had a lot of creative music left inside him. Nonetheless, his musical output was prodigious and plentiful and as a result there will be lots of Prince recordings and videos to enjoy for years to come.

About The Drawing

Done primarily with art markers, this quick sketch depicts PNR standing on a mountaintop holding a traveler’s umbrella to shelter himself from the “purple rain”. It is meant as a tribute to a talented artist, who was able to ascertain a certain amount of greatness which his fortuitous skill and talent. Not many are able to do this, thus Prince is pictured alone.

Lou Reed Dead at Age 71

In the Center of the Trifid Nebula
Image Credit: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Hubble Space Telescope, Martin Pugh; Processing: Robert Gendler

Velvet Underground No Show

As a college student, I once went to a campus (Syracuse University) rock concert that featured the Velvet Underground along with Boz Scaggs and Nils Lofgren. The Velvet Underground was a no show, but each of the other two put on a knock out show that I have never forgotten. For the longest time I always held that no show against Lou Reed and his fellow musicians. However over the years I have come to realize that the VU failure to appear may not have been such a big mistake. Simply said, it was just the wrong venue for Lou and his fellow members, who were already carving their own path away from the mainstream of Rock’n Roll.

Candid photo of Lou Reed and Patti Smith, from Wikipedia

The Bard of  Long Island

Actually, Lou was the vanguard of a whole new genre of lyrical poetics that stretched far and wide. Even before his death the number of musicians who claim Reed as major inspiration is astounding. Reed’s influence embraced such diverse musicians as Tom Waits, Suzanne Vega, Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Robbie Robertson. His greatest track, Walk On the Wild Scene, is still popular today and is widely regarded as a successful blending of poetry and popular music.

Remembering John Lennon

John Lennon rehearses Give Peace A Chance by Roy Kerwood, courtesy of Wikipedia
John Lennon rehearses Give Peace A Chance by Roy Kerwood, courtesy of Wikipedia

Yesterday marked the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon’s death, or assassination, as some people like to call the tragic event. I missed the hour long CNN special that was broadcast over the weekend airwaves, but did get a chance to see Chris Mathews jump  into the subject with both feet on “Hardball”.

As usual Chris was his old, brassy self, as he put together a rousing tribute to the fascinating personality that has been sometimes called the true songwriting genius behind the Beatles. Leaving this little bit of controversy aside, Chris tackled full-heartedly the emergence of the Beatles at a time, when the country was mourning the death of JFK and in desperate need of an uplifting event. And according to Mr. Mathews that uplifting event came in the form of four mop-topped musicians from Liverpool, England.

The JFK event was an interesting analogy that definitely caught my ear and gave me something to think about, especially since I am old enough to remember both the JFK assassination and the release of the first pair of Beatle songs (She Loves You & I Wanna Hold Your Hand) in America just a few weeks later.  Whether the two events are related or not, I don’t know, but they are without a doubt important cultural happenings that occurred in close proximity.

The other interesting point that Chris brought up was the distinct, yet sometimes discrete, anarchistic and revolutionary tone of the Beatles, in general, and more specifically the funny and irreverent attitude of John Lennon.  All in all, Chris’s presentation was a fascinating read on a stormy time in history.

Moreover, through the backward gaze of time, the Beatles stand out not so much for their musical accomplishments (which were many), but for the fact that we got to see all four band members as distinct individuals. No major musical group since that point in time has ever the matched what the Beatles did in the mid-sixties. The Rolling Stones were overshadowed by Mick Jagger, the Police by a bass player named Sting, The Band, featured Robbie Robertson, and Diana Ross was the big name to survive the breakup of the Supremes, but the Beatles remained the “Fab Four”. John Lennon came closest to eclipsing the Beatles as a single performer, but he never really succeeded in that regard and it is quite possible that he was just being himself during the years after the Beatles broke up.

View of Montreal, the city where John and Yoko Lennon recorded "Give Peace a Chance".