We Saw Yesterday Last Week

Mona and I went to see a Beatle’s tribute band last week, and they were a lot of fun.

We didn’t go expecting to relive Beatlemania, we just wanted to sing and dance and enjoy the songs that have become such a part of our lives.  The band we saw, Yesterday: The Beatles’ Tribute, gave us over two hours of solid cover versions, and everyone there had a great time and left happy.

They are on the web HERE.  They’re worth seeing.

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Where have all the flowers gone?

We tried to go to a Bellamy Brothers concert last night.

The evening began with a rousing tribute to our brave and glorious troops, after which the crowd burst into spontaneous applause because they, too, love our brave and glorious troops.

Then we were compelled to rise and recite the pledge of allegiance (I declined), after which the woman next to us, grinning from ear to ear, shouted “AMEN!” Several men, overcome with emotion, pumped their fists in the air.

Nobody but me seemed to notice that there wasn’t actually a flag present.

Over an hour later the band still had not taken the stage. We looked around at the stone-faced polyester stretch pants and western shirts mindlessly contemplating their cell phones, and decided to call it a night.

We’re giving up.

In the future, we’ll drive a little farther to attend concerts that are more focused on music than some weird political/religious litmus test.  East Texas is not for us.


Pete Seeger used to host a famous Strawberry Shortcake Festival in New England. It was purposely, decidedly non-political. He just wanted everyone to come, have some strawberry shortcake, and enjoy singing songs and each other’s company.

I miss Pete.

As If

Mona and I went to see a David Phelps concert at a nearby church last week. It didn’t go well.

I’m not Christian, but I was raised Catholic so I know all the stories. I enjoy devotional music of all faiths, and like David Phelps in particular. I have a few of his albums.

But from the moment I walked in, I felt a very bad vibe. I stood out, and not in a good way. I have long hair and a long beard, and my t-shirt had a picture of Pete Seeger on it. I found myself surrounded by clean-shaven men with very short hair, polo shirts tucked into their belted waistbands. I was the only one wearing sneakers.

A lady sat down next to us, smiled, and said, “We’re a very inclusive church here. We even have some Negroes and Chinese!” She considered this for a second. “They might not be Chinese. I don’t know what they are.”

If I could digress for just a second here: Madalyn Murray O’Hair didn’t set out to file a lawsuit ending mandatory prayer in public schools. Before taking such a drastic step she had gone to the school and explained that, as an atheist, she simply wanted her own child to be excused. The school agreed that he wouldn’t have to pray, but insisted that he would still have to stand, bow his head, clasp his hands, and move his lips as if he were praying. They considered this a reasonable compromise.  (She disagreed.)

And that’s pretty much the East Texas definition of inclusiveness: we’ll allow you to exist, all we ask in return is that you believe the things we believe, do the things we do, say the things we say, and look the way we look. If you can’t do that, well, it’s a free country– and by that we mean you’re free to go, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

I could see the sideways glances direct my way, and I wasn’t happy about being the local sideshow freak, but thought that once the lights went out and the show started, we’d be fine.

Unfortunately, the show stunk. You would never believe these were professional musicians. They seemed intimidated and confused by the instruments in their hands. The mix was all wrong– every time the bass player plucked a note, the lead singer was completely drowned out.

We gave it a few songs, hoping the engineer would notice and fix it, but he didn’t.

So, we called it a night and snuck out early. The ushers glared at us.  One literally shook his finger at me.

I briefly considered giving him a finger of my own, but didn’t.

I was in a church, after all.

A Beautiful Place

I came across a trove of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s books at the used book store.

I have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy Beat Poetry.  (Ferlinghetti denies he is a Beat, but at the very least there’s a kinship.)  Anyway, I guess that’s where I am at the moment.

Whatever It Was

Let’s go
Come on
Let’s go
Empty our pockets
And disappear.
Missing all our appointments
And turning up unshaven
Years later
Old cigarette papers
stuck to our pants
leaves in our hair.
Let us not
worry about the payments
anymore.
Let them come
and take it away
whatever it was
we were paying for.
And us with it.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti intended for Junkman’s Obbligato to be an eternal work-in-progress; improvised words against an improvised jazz background.

But I do think the words stand on their own.  There are several transcripts on the internet, one of which is HERE.