Cathedral of Ghosts

Shortwave Radio

I participated in an online Zoom “Happy Hour” of everyone who graduated Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania in the 80’s. It was great – I actually knew several people in the chat, and we shared some fun memories.

What I have realized since then is that we were all “Radio Kids” – our generation was informed by both AM and FM radio – and a few of us “outliers” also listened to shortwave radio. While I have some favorite “Internet Radio” stations – nothing beats the old time “real” radio.

I didn’t have a favorite band that influenced me, but used my “chord wheel” to see what chords are in the key of B. I then used a lap steel with a cool Zoom effects pedal to get that fading radio sound.

I can hear the station
In between fades
Playing my favorite song
On the radio

Like a marker of time
Music on the radio
Our Great Cathedral
Our Cathedral of Ghosts

Sailing through the airwaves
Our histories past
We hold our memories dear
On the radio

Chorus

Fading out now
In my dreams
Fading out now
And forever

“Cathedral” Radio . . .

The Wall

I built a wall – and didn’t scam anyone

This song was influenced by another favorite band, The Feelies. By the way, the Feelies were movies in Aldous Huxleys famous novel, Brave New World.

Lyrics

Yards from my desk
There’s a gurgling creek
It gives me great solace
Where I write tongue in cheek

During the Fall
When the season will change
The trees turning color
A glorious range

I can’t get too serious
Or red in the face
Nature doth humble
With incredible grace

The wall is a rebuild of a retaining wall that was falling over – into our creek. It was made using old broken up patio slabs. Rather than stack them as the previous wall builders did – I turned them on their side – since they were thick and heavy. I also used the footing of the old wall as a rock path – and set the wall back several feet into the hill.

The end of the wall and path that runs along our creek

Since Covid-19 started, I have been quite prolific in my gardening / hard-scaping and also learning a lot about music theory and have stepped up a big level where I can now easily write simple lead lines and melodic counterpart bass parts.

Dried out leaves making a small composition along the rock wall path

Years ago I read a book by Freeman Patterson – who challenged the reader to take photos every day around your house and yard – and it was a great exercise. The world is constantly changing – and even in small ways – right under your nose is a whole universe – waiting for you to see and enjoy.

Potatoes

Who Will Save Us From Ourselves?

I have always liked The Fall, and so I decided to try to write a Fall-ish sounding song.

The Fall were always that band that had that “something” and where they used repetition in a way no other band I know used – and more than just got away with it. Of course, Mark E. Smith and his vocals / delivery and lyrics are probably something that I’ll bet were taken for granted – and now that I have at least made an attempt – I think I do know why some have called him a genius.

He passed away January 2018, but he did leave an impressive catalog and legacy.

There’s potatoes in the north
Bugger off at all costs

There’s a bad president
He was not heaven sent

There’s a plague in the world
It will make your blood curl

There’s a racist police state
Helping keep America Great

There’s a Q in Anon
Cuz the followers like to be conned

There’s a priest in the news
Exposed himself in the pews

There’s a kid in a cage
Stoking fires of outrage

Maybe Tomorrow

Does Hope Have a Statute of Limitations?

This is an instrumental piece, but I do have a little lyric or haiku.

Maybe tomorrow
Ill feel a different way
Maybe tomorrow
Hope will be here to stay

Empathy

A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way Toward Healing

This week I have written a song using every instrument I have – guitar, bass, violin, piano / synth, lap steel, speak-vocals (German “Sprechgesang“) and mandolin. Its been a blast. Today I wrote this song using a mandolin – which is a challenge – because it screams “Bluegrass” and as much as I love Bluegrass, I wanted something more “modern rock” or “modern Americana”. Also – with these trying times that we have, I wrote some lyrics that I am happy with.

There’s danger all around
In the sky and on the ground
What keeps us up at night
Is a world of a thousand frights

There’s danger all around
Its easy to see
What the world needs most right now
Is a little Love, Care and Empathy

The enemy is the one within
The one filled with sin
While we care about mankind
Others walk around blind

There’s danger all around
Its easy to see
What the world needs most right now
Is a little Love, Care and Empathy

 

The Art Police (Art Worth Stealing)

Uncle Thaddeus and Aunt Mabel

Maybe 10 years or so ago, I had an Assemblage art show at a goofy gallery in The Mission. I don’t remember it’s name, but it was two storefronts – one was a Tacqueria and the other a sort of nightclub / gallery. I think they could sell beer and wine.

Anyway, it’s the only time I had an Assemblage or Photo stolen during one of quite a few shows I had back in the day. I remember being a little pissed but more flattered. Nothing says “Art Appreciation” more than having your art stolen!



It was August Third
When the heist went down
At a gallery in SF
Uncle Thaddeus and Aunt Mabel
Victims of the Theft

Just the facts, mam
The detective said
As he scribbled in his book
Retrace your steps now
Let’s take another look

The gallery hired
A security guard
To watch over each piece
The detective said “an inside job”
Accused the Art Police

Chorus

The Art Police
Carry no badge
They drive in unmarked cars
To protect and serve
Calm artists nerves
Art thieves won’t get far




S.O.S (Save Our Ship)

The Oarsmen at the River Styx . . .

Lyrics:

The Universe is our Ocean
Mother Earth is our Ship
Save Our Ship

The Schnaug

The Schnaug . . .

He only comes out at night
He’s an ankle biting dog
A schnauzer and a pug dog mix
They call him the Schnaug
A schnauzer and a pug dog mix
They call him the Schnaug

He’s low to the ground and built for speed
He weighs 300 pounds
An under bite and very bad breath
They call him the Schnaug
An under bite and very bad breath
They call him the Schnaug

He feeds on bad presidents
Late night Tweeting fat hogs
He rips their ankles to shreds
They call him the Schnaug
He rips their ankles to shreds
They call him the Schnaug

Pedaling Backwards

“WHAT, WHO, WHEE” – actual AM Radio Call Signs – when Radio was “The Town Crier” . . .

Video might have Killed The Radio Star, but The Internet Killed Community. Back in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and the first part of the 70’s, Radio was an integral part of the Community. It was the “Chronicler” of Community, the New Town Crier so to speak. But it provided information and entertainment – and did so – for the “masses” and at a cost anyone could afford. There was no “final mile problem” – at all. In fact, look up “Roadrunner” by Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers – you’ll get it instantly . . .

We have “invented” more problems than we have solved. Our country and its Democracy is at the brink of extinction because of “Reality TV” and “Social Media”. We are Pedaling Backwards . . .

Radio stations were “Live on Location”. WNNJ in Newton, NJ was a low power AM radio station who played the local High School basketball games on the radio. How cool is that? Yes – feels like pre-historic times. It was real, raw, “Community Radio”. The voice of the “Common Man”. The Internet is nowhere near a substitute. I’m no Luddite – my career has been in IT – specifically a Data Architect, Data Engineer and Database Administrator – for 40 years. My life has been nothing but “The latest and greatest technology” . . .

On with the song!

In Ancient Times
On the radio
We heard sounds
The music played
And people danced
Across the towns

Some progress
Is not progress
We’re Pedaling backwards
Social media
Is not social
Its anti-social

Where is
The Farm Report? The Local Weather?
The Local Music? Local News?
Where are the
School plays?
The local stores?
The local people?

Always The Machine

We start at the bottom
As children
We ascend to the top
Or so we hope

Some gain experience
And wisdom
Some do not
Deep inside we know

Life is a machine
That you can control
Take control now
Or be controlled