Its the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)

R.E.M. – It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine) – Providence, RI, 10/19/1987

I posted this song back in November, when we had an earthquake on the morning after Pennsylvania put Joe Biden over the top. I had really wanted to wait to post it until today, once we were sure we had actually rid ourselves of the Orange Menace, but how can you overlook the rare occurrence of an earthquake in New England?

In that post, I mentioned that I had a live recording from the best show I’ve ever seen, R.E.M. at the Providence Performing Arts Center, on the night of the stock market crash, October 19, 1987. I picked up the bootleg cassettes a year or two later at a record store in New Haven. This morning, I fired up that USB tape player I got for my birthday and transferred it over to SoundCloud. I think the intro to the song is especially relevant today, please give it a listen.

I am so relieved that today went off without a hitch. I am so glad we have a woman vice president. I am so thrilled that Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, killed the Keystone XL pipeline, revoked the Muslim travel ban, and on and on. In the Oval Office, he put up a big portrait of FDR and a bust of Cesar Chavez. His cabinet appointments are diverse and inclusive, and science and experts are welcome once again. That deserves a standing ovation.


Disturbance at the Heron House

R.E.M. – Disturbance at the Heron House

Today should have been a celebration of Georgia electing two Democrats to the Senate, and a final formality of pronouncing a Democrat as the next president. Instead we had GOP Senators and Representatives making treasonous statements, and a deranged narcissist unleashing his rabid base of lunatic QAnon radicals on the Capitol.

“…The followers of chaos, out of control…”

I wonder if any of those Republican senators and representatives, who had to shelter in place today from armed white supremacists that had stormed the Capitol, ever stopped to think to themselves, huh, this must be what children feel like when they’re in lockdown at school. Except, you know, those are children and not full-grown ass-lickers that created and enabled the conspiracy-theory, crazed, cult members running around DC in mountain man militia outfits while Capitol police just moved the barriers aside and let them in.

Why are people surprised? I’m more surprised that it took this long for this to happen. Since NaBloPoMo falls in November and I’ve been doing it for many years now, I can go back and see that since Trump was just a candidate for the Republican nomination, I have feared something like this would happen. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back for being right, I truly would have been happy to have been wrong about Twitler and his supporters, and the GOP, but as an explanation for why I’m not shocked and why I’m not posting things about the unbelievable events in DC. It’s totally believable. They lied and misled and winked and fanned the flames and never once worried that this would somehow backfire. Meanwhile peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors were tear gassed, hit with rubber bullets and worse, indigenous people trying to stop an oil pipeline on their own land were blasted with fire hoses in freezing temperatures.

“…try to tell us something we don’t know…”

I’m not hopeful that we’ll see any meaningful accountability for this, not amongst members of the GOP or even those with their faces completely visible, caught on multiple cameras parading through the Capitol with Confederate flags, stealing things from congressional offices, breaking multiple laws. They should ALL be arrested and tried for sedition. This is a coup.

Same Old Scene

Roxy Music – Same Old Scene

Much like the rest of 2020, this month has defied any sense of normal time for me. The election was this month? The interminable wait for the results of the election was this month? My daughter’s only been home for just over a week? NaBloPoMo is often a struggle to get through because it’s day after day of the same thing, at least the way I do it. But in this pandemic life in the dwindling days of the Cheeto administration, hasn’t every day been like that for months now? I can’t tell the days apart at all anymore. If I didn’t have a calendar on my phone, I’d be lost.

Thanks for following along these past 30 days of Marchtober. Here’s hoping next year’s NaBloPoMo is more like Novembers of year’s past.

Can’t Hardly Wait

The Replacements – Can’t Hardly Wait

Now that my son is into having physical copies of the music he likes, he gave us a list of things he wants for Christmas that is all records or CDs. I managed to get out by myself for a bit today and went down to our local record store to pick up one or two things.

I was hoping to find something used that wasn’t too much money to go along with the new (reissued) album I grabbed for him. Something he wouldn’t know to ask for but that he might like anyway. Then I spied the small section of cassettes and since he has that Walkman, I thought maybe I could find a stocking stuffer. Much to my surprise, there was a cassette of R.E.M.’s Document and The Replacements’ Pleased to Meet Me. All cassettes were $2 a piece or 6 for $10. I didn’t see six that I wanted so I just went with those two.

I brought them up to the counter and told the owner that I was getting the cassettes for my son’s stocking and he said, “oh, I’ll just throw those in for free. He’s a great kid, smart. He’s been down here checking out all the things he’s interested in, took pictures so he could make a list, it’s great to see kids still getting into it.” I’ve got to say, that really made my day. Parenting these days is a real challenge and I’ll take any signs that the kids are alright.

Everything is Everything

Phoenix – Everything is Everything

We ate all the foods. I cooked turkey, albeit not a whole one, just a turkey breast, and it came in a bag that you just had to put in the oven. As a vegetarian, I appreciated not having to handle the meat at all. And the meat eaters said it was very good. Win-win.

No Time for Love Like Now

Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine – No Time for Love Like Now

When this song came out back in the spring, there were a couple of different performances, varying only slightly by where did Michael seem to be? What was he wearing? Glasses or no glasses? There were interviews where he said, yes, it fits this moment really well but I actually wrote it back in the fall before we had an inkling of the pandemic to come.

The couple of songs he had released prior to this one didn’t really do it for me. I listened/watched the videos, but they weren’t going to be songs I put in my regular rotation. No Time for Love Like Now was different. I’m sure being cooped up in our houses, working from home, doing school from home, afraid to go anywhere, definitely contributed to my feelings about it. Here was Michael, just Michael, singing directly to me. Like a private little concert from his home to my living room. In the middle of a pandemic, in lockdown, in the midst of political turmoil, he was reaching out with a song that felt like a steady hand. Calm reassurance. And yet, at the same time, the power to completely destroy me. We were so fragile. I was trying so hard to hold it together, be strong for the kids and try not to let the worry show (I don’t think I succeeded well at that at all, btw). When his voice has that particular Michaelness about it, which not all the songs do, he still has the ability to just cut right to the very center of my being, exposing all those things I normally keep buried deep beneath the surface.

So now it’s November. We’re heading into winter, which you all know is my hardest season in the best of circumstances. Though we know more about the virus now, it’s still just as random who suffers greatly from it, who dies, and who doesn’t even know they have it. My worry about the pandemic is less panicky but my concerns about our ability to get through this winter, in round two (or whatever number it is) of COVID-19, are weighing on me. I don’t want a repeat of those first couple months from the spring. Everyone is weary after nearly 9 months of just holding on and nerves are frayed, tempers are short. I think this song will be even more important to me for the next few months than it was when it first came out.