Monthly Archives: March 2016

Solberg’s Best (and Only) Cover Tune! ‘The Tide’ by Duncan (Some Witty Handle) Bain

I listen to it on ‘repeat’ for hours, fearless of being thought a narcissist. There’s something unique happening here, besides the spot-on lyrics: (well-rhymed hints, clear enough to describe the emotion but cool enough to avoid a TMI meltdown), and the ‘right’ chords.

I learned it from a simple guitar+vocal which Duncan must have posted years back, probably on our beloved ‘Site X’, now deceased.
Anyway, perhaps I goose-bump partly by remembering the ‘drop-everything else’ excitement of arranging and recording it. I think it was also intended as a surprise. Duncan’s posts and wry comments (most of which sent me to WIKI in order to ‘get’ the hidden joke) made him a natural for gift-giving.
The arrangement is my fav lineup: Bass, Drums, Piano, Organ, 4-sax horn section plus three-part ‘oohs ‘n ahhs’ backup singers. I especially enjoy the instrumental break half-way through, with an up-modulation I always throw in, hoping for top-40 air-play.
So do me a favor and listen to it at least once. Note: I only learned maybe a month ago the sad fact that few folks these days even still use a ‘real’ sit-down computer which plays music through ‘visible-to-the-nekkid-eye‘ speakers. So if anyone wants an MP3 copy, instead of listening to your wrist-watch phone, just ask.
Bottom line: I kinda love this song, just don’t know exactly why. Hope you feel the same/ JS


1) We left our footprints in the mud
Cost you pennies; it cost me blood
I don’t touch sorrow an’ don’t touch love
‘Cept once in a while.. with a rubber glove.
But who knows? The tide may rise again.
2) Days and nights, nights and days
spilled milk and canapes
The plot is spoiled the secret’s out
I still don’t know what it was all about
But who knows? the tide may rise again

I was asking myself but it wasn’t clear
Telling myself but I didn’t hear
Just wasn’t in my brief
Lost my wallet, lost my heart
Would have torn myself apart
Wasn’t worth the grief
3) You watched the dance; I stood around
Blew smoke; I rolled the window down
Ripped me down, layer by layer
Look at my face; do I look like I care?
Who knows? The tide may rise again

Who did you think you would turn to next?
You think there was some kind of a faint sub-text?
Just find some other suitors
Where did I think I would find the nails?
To board up the windows after the January sales?
Just sit back and watch the looters

4) Too many pockets in this coat

Handfull of keys, handful of oats
Just wade in deeper when I try to forget
Roll up my trousers, but they’re already wet.
Who knows? the tide may rise again
-This tide may rise again -repeat-

A Race of Snails: why must I suffer twice?

I’snail madnessm hoping the photo here, even though shot in dim light at 6AM (now known as ‘7AM‘, oy, gives some indication of the current ‘plague’ which I’m scratching my head trying to understand. At least the 10 Egyptian plagues which are on our minds with Passover approaching were, according to tradition, the result of Pharaoh’s mistreatment of… something. What was my sin? The fact is that I daily fight to keep the local poison-people from herbiciding and pesticiding my meager 5 acre personal Garden of Eden here .Am I paying for that environmental awareness? I actually have to ‘red-flag-wave‘ away the AM and PM helicopters dispensing Chemical Death on all the neighboring ‘farms’. Repeatedly, since there seems to be a high pilot-turn-over rate in their grisly business. Only as a fellow pilot do I resist praying for an ‘uncontrolled flight into terrain’ Those dare-devil devils are as close as it gets to a man having to trust every bearing, fuel-valve, and spark-plug of the machine which keeps him in the air.
At any rate, I have still never ‘caught-in-the-act‘ a snail doing prosecute-able damage, I’ll admit. The bark-stripping on trees in the picture may well be from some other cause, and my broccoli plants, sadly eaten to shreds, have zero snails there-upon.
So what is the bitch?
Sick to admit, but all I got ‘agin-’em’ is “Eew, they’re unsightly!’ Yesterday I treated about 40,000 ‘individuals’ (60 average per hand-full) to a romp in my improvised ‘swimming pool’, aka: “roach-hotel”.
And felt like a damn Auschwitz guard all day. Ugh, one ‘helpless condemned’ photo from the ’40s, it turns out, is enough to ‘infect’ every subsequent banal parallel scene in life.
It does remind me of the story about a Jew dying and going to Hell. He is led, in transit, past the pots of burning oil for Christian miscreants, and notes an armed guard beside each pot to ensure that none escape. Continuing on to the Jewish section, he can’t help but see that ‘our’ pots have no guards(!) Asking the jailer: “What’s the deal with no guards?” he hears the fellow say: “It’s OK, if any Jew manages to almost escape, the others pull him back in.!”
Back to the issue, the pro literature suggests beer-traps, salt, copper barriers, and various chemical poisons/repellents. Also ‘hand-removal’, which will likely be my main tactic. Guess I should be happy Zyklon B wasn’t mentioned.
And finally, on a lighter note: why the Title: to ‘suffer twice’?
Well, the sad fact is that I often deal with catastrophes by use of word-play weapons. And ‘A Race of Snails’ has, admit it, a bit of an ironic ‘zing’, no? But in Hebrew, (my 98% daily tongue here), I come up empty when searching for a replacement. These critters are called ‘berrilay’, or ‘shablul’ or technically ‘hil-zon’ or something similar in the local speak. Best I can do is “A barrel of Berriley” but no one knows what a ‘barrel’ is; it’s a ‘ha-VEET’ in Hebrew. And our word for ‘species’: (‘zen’) can’t be ‘punned’ with the word for a foot-race, for example, which is ‘Me’RUTZ’.
And so,  not enough having snails to ‘exterminate’, I can’t even be clever in describing them.
OK, with hundreds of still-extant languages, there’s just gotta be another, besides English, where ‘A Race of Snails‘ has an equally fun equivalent in translation. I then need only to move there, thus killing two problems with one bird… Whatever.

Thanks for reading this far./ JS

Anyone seen my short-term memory?

What has happened to my brain?? !””Ich fregt dich! which is  as an emphatic a way to ask (in Yiddish, which thank god hasn’t yet dripped out of my ears at night like draining the oil from a hot tired engine.)
Seriously now, I’ve opened the water valve for ‘Line 3’ irrigation four(4) times in the last 6 months… and then instead of closing it after ten minutes. I left it blissfully bleeding on for usually an entire night. Water is expensive here, and I’m paying from the pocket for my mental ‘deficit’. Kinda like “If you think education is expensive… try ignorance!”
And so of course, vowing never to forget again, I do my best to mentally record the fact that I’ve turned it on. Ha, fat chance! I *have* no mental recording function. Today I had to check four times, about every five minutes, to be really certain that I had in fact shut the damn thing off.
Reminds me on a dementia-ated Grandma who, after finally getting into your car for a lift to, say, the bank, insists on returning yet again to her house to be sure she hasn’t left the gas on. I may be a grandpa myself, but when I look in the mirror (if I remember where it hangs) I sure don’t see a guy one would expect to be suffering from what I now need to stop denying: I have next to no short-term memory.
Ok, look at the cup ‘half full’; I just now (today? last year?) found on the net the songs from my very first ’45’: James Dean singing ‘Big Bad John’ b/w “No, I won’t go hunting with you Jake, but I’ll go chasing wimmin’ Even before I gave it a listen I ‘rehearsed’ in my mind all the lyrics, chord-changes, key-modulations, and was then delighted to hear that my ‘long-term’ hard-drive seems to be OK. In there, somewhere, is equally preserved the intro themes for 1956 radio news “From around the world and across the sea, Lowell Thomas and the news, brought to you by Delco ‘dry-charge’ batteries.” Ha, I’m thinking if I got my hands on a cheap Philco ‘cow-farmer-budget’ radio from the ’50s and set it up to play every time I turn the water line on, that’d solve my problem.
Searching for a proximate cause of the malady, um.. you don’t think mebbe two metric tons of every drug ever discovered, used (as directed?) for 50 years might have some part in it?? Oddly, I discount this facile explanation. I am, if anything, more lucid than I’ve ever been, these days, and that’s a tough act to follow, considering what I’ve minded and master-minded so far.
Still, it’s a let-down to have to gradually distrust my once-automatic ‘mind-like-a-steel-trap’. I’m actually afraid to pilot an aircraft anymore; so sure am I that I’d forget to lower the gear before landing. (Oops, an in-joke and sore subject) But at least my dear Father waited until almost 90 to realize and admit to what I admit to here at 67 already.
I’m not sure how to even tag this post: ‘Terry Pratchett’? ‘Where’s my hat? Duh, on yer head!’, or perhaps just ‘technical solutions for automatic crop irrigation’. I do have a full-function controller; it’d fix the issue, ‘no problem’ as Nixon said. And yet, as he added presciently ‘ But it would be wrong!’ Mixed metaphor, but I somehow insist on fixing myself at the source rather than inventing work-arounds.
Ok, enough already. I need to go check my water-valves.
Help from readers will be deeply appreciated/ JS

DST Update: Figured it all out.

OK, I jump out of bed every morning about an hour before the sunrise. I just love the feeling that I’m ‘more gung-ho than the Sun’. But perhaps more important is the early-morning quiet, the last lingering darkness which I’ve made a point to gawk at…and which of late includes my planetary-friends Venus and Jupiter, shining there for me every morning albeit at ever-so-slightly different celestial angles.
But, back to earth, the biggest gift, as a human living among other proto/quasi-humans(?) is the absence of the, how to say it?, ‘audio-visual-olfactory shit’ they spew from the moment they crawl out of their lairs. Traffic, car-alarms, dogs on or off leashes defecating on my sidewalk, wasted-protoplasm morons blathering into telephones, pickup trucks laden with Thai slave laborers, garbage truck workers screaming at each other or the driver. There, have I said enough? And none of this fits in with my love-affair for Venus, as I hope you can understand.
And so, I’m happy that I finally ‘got it’… what so bugs me about the clock change. It’s manifestly *not* losing an hour of sleep; hell, I spent three decades at least on 4 hours of sleep a night. No, it’s the sudden disgusting head of al diseased camel poking its head into my precious early-AM hour of engineered euphoria.
Having understood this, I shall simply arise at the ‘newly-proclaimed’ 4:30AM. Stay tuned for ‘how’s that working out for you, Johnny?’

‘Summer Time’ blues

Here in Israel we intend once again to brutally grab the sacred clock’s hands and ‘re-do tragedy as farce’ once again. Next week, in fact. Not being as emotionally capable of handling disruptions as I once was, I shall need to spend my remaining time before the hanging in fortifying my defenses.
Why, you might ask, should ‘Daylight ‘savings’ time’ be such a big deal?
Well, that’s why you’re here, to hear me explain why:
First, as a farmer and diligent amateur scientist, I probably follow the Sun’s paths on the celestial sphere much more acutely than my urban brethren. Inclination angles, sun-rise/ sun-set times, precise ‘local solar noon’, yes, I chart this data as if Kepler is counting on me from the grave. And so the biennial brute-force skew-points in my ‘big data’ files become an ugly patch.
“Just stick with ‘real time’ and ignore the madding crowd.” you suggest. …and under-estimate how madding that crowd truly is. One cannot easily function in a society with your adamant Luddite wrist-watch needing to be ‘corrected’ constantly, ‘translated’ for the herds of sheep.
Truthfully, I always manage, each ‘Spring-forward’, to accept my fate, in a process usually lasting at least one month. Willingly suspend my dis-belief; what, like I have a choice?
But this grudging acclimatization re-cuts me, like any double-edged sword, then again in Fall-backwards, when, although I should be celebrating a return to reason, I suffer a mirror-image bout of confusion. Note: Judging by the majority of commentary I’ve read here this year at least, my ‘je accuse‘ seems to have some support; no longer a ‘voice crying out in the wilderness, I may be in fact part of a ‘chorus of voices’.
To conclude: let’s lay out my justifiable bitches and eliminate a few ‘get used to it, Johnny!’ complaints:
Important to remember that if I’d demanded an equi-length year-long day-light period I should have moved to Uganda, (briefly considered as a potential home for the Jews), or similarly-located equatorial real-estate in South America (still pissed that ‘they stole our name’)
I do work like a dog, albeit a happily organic mutt, from ‘first light’ until… until, counting the days till my 67th birthday, I ask the Heavens (and Social Security): ‘Ain’t I allowed to ‘retire’ by now?’ My first official day of work, since which I haven’t had a genuine break, was in 1954, when my Dad asked me to assume the dairy-operation tasks which my Mum, awaiting the birth of a ‘new addition’ (sp?) couldn’t temporarily provide. So yeah, 62 years of hard labour; I’m entitled to crawl under the covers dead-tired at the ungodly hour which the local natives insist on calling “6 PM” And don’t forget that it’ll have been 100 degrees Fahrenheit since 7 AM. (Another rant-post)
Bottom Line: (finally!) If anyone sympathizes with my angst, my free workaround is the following:
Tell yourselves (say it aloud, kids, so it registers firmly in yer brains)
“It is ‘really’ Six AM’, and then continue: “But the locals are calling it ‘Seven AM'” Repeat this constantly, otherwise you risk falling down the confusion-drain that Richard Feynman famously advised avoiding, in connection with trying to understand quantum mechanics intuitively.
He chose a wise entry/exit point in ‘Man’s Fate’ on this planet, and I humbly propose that my own choice “1949-?? was also fortuitous. My parents, both of ’em, survived to watch ‘Bug Y2K’ play out live on TV. I’m no longer depressed these days by the thought that I may not be here watching ‘bug Y3K’.
Meanwhile, all I want to know is: ‘What time is it.. really?!”