A Whiter Shade of Pale




The Procol Harum song from 1967 is full of skillful instrumentation and some mystical lyrics. It is an iconic song as far as rock ‘n roll is concerned and many people know it well. I thought of this song as I searched for this photograph of Carson, our Westie, which I took in the summer of 2018. Carson was indeed white when clean, but took on various shades of pale, especially after digging in dirt which was almost a daily ritual for him !

The song’s meaning is full of conjecture and possibly some unpleasantness. My intent is only to focus on the title which fits the image I chose. Our world is full of questions and much conjecture due to the pandemic. We read and hear daily of one-sentence snippets of hope and encouragement for which I question their benefit. On the flip side are the purveyors of doom-and-gloom forecasts. I doubt these are helpful to anyone.

So, we exist in a time where there seems to be a lot of pale and very little white which I equate with truth and purity (not about skin color). This much I feel is certain…our world will not be the same once we are rid of this virus and its devastating effects. My purpose is to look at the positives that will come (and are currently taking place) out of this uncertain experience. Hope is an essential ingredient, as is a real dose of unbiased reality. Remain vigilant in staying engaged and find an anchor to hold onto to. Mine is Jesus. I hope you stay secure. Carson was.


Sublime or Mundane ?

Slider Squirrel

If squirrels had their own social media this gal would rate highly. Just look at that flamboyant tail-you won’t see many that bushy or multi-colored. And, that pose, viewed from the rear which has become so popular. Then there is that coy expression with a sideways glance as if to say, “What do you have that I don’t have?”. Let’s not forget her marbled eye, cute twitchy nose and tiny whiskers. All of this beauty while balancing steadily on a slider chair with a nonchalant grip on the iron bar. I’m surprised she didn’t take a selfie!

Seriously, this is my last photograph of a squirrel for quite some time, but I couldn’t resist such a beckoning subject. After taking a jet tour through various social media sites recently, I was reminded how much this rodent has in common with humans, social media and self-publication. I mean, how many images can one take of eating out or hugging friends; enjoying a cocktail or describing what makeup to use; vacation photos about how many places one has seen in a day, a week, a month or a year; digitized faces and places which we try so desperately to convince others that are as real as they appear. Egos get stroked and reality choked.

I’m not against sharing good looks, fun moments, fantastic locations, unusual food or exotic experiences. It’s just that we share the ‘fantastic’ so often that our images and texts all tend to blend together into one big melting pot of the same extraordinary. Where are the mundane photos such as of a motorist double-parked because he or she was late to an appointment or a couple hand picking fruit while at the grocery store? How about  kids tossing rocks in a stream or dogs simply laying around doing nothing but panting? Corporate meetings where half the attendees are falling asleep or mimes losing their balance while acting on street corners in NYC?

Ordinary doesn’t sell…not on television, in videos, on social media outlets, in magazines or even within our government. And, certainly not through our ‘smart’ phones or tablets where we post and view so much of this extraordinary content. Sensationalism is all the rage and Americans lead the parade. Perhaps my optical lenses need to be cleaned so I can see Americana without the bias. And, hopefully, my perspective will change along with clarity. I really do want to be a part of the sublime-especially when framed within the daily routines of life.

Bad Company



Ever since I came up with the title of Shooting Stars for my previous post, I haven’t stopped thinking about (and singing) the song by the same name which was performed by the group Bad Company in 1975. It’s a good piece of rock n’ roll music and thought provoking lyrics which makes for a compelling song to listen to. The lead singer, Paul Rodgers, who wrote the song, did so as a warning because some of his peers died of drug overdoses. Jimi Hendrix , Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison are thought to have been on Paul’s mind when he penned the lyrics. As a possible tribute, Rodgers created a guitar finale which sounds a lot like Hendrix. Sadly, one of his band’s members died at the young age of 25, a year after this song was released. The lyrics are written below. I encourage you to listen to it, as well. Don’t be surprised if you can’t get it out of your mind right away.

Johnny was a schoolboy when he heard his first Beatle’s song. Love Me Do I think it was and from there it didn’t take very long. Got himself a guitar, used to play every night. Now he’s a rock n’ roll outfit and everything’s alright, don’t you know?

Johnny told his mama, “Hey, mama, I’m goin’ away. Gonna hit the big time, gonna be a big star someday”. Mama came to the door with a teardrop in her eye. Johnny said, “Don’t cry, mama”, smiled and waved goodbye, don’t you know? Yeah.

Don’t you know that you are a shooting star…Don’t you know? Don’t you know? Don’t you know that you are a shooting star? And all the world will love you just as long as long as you are.

Johnny made a record-went straight up to number one. Suddenly everyone loved to hear him sing his song. Watchin’the world go by, surprisin’ it goes so fast. Johnny looked around him and said I made the big-time at last.

Don’t you know? Don’t you know? Don’t you know that you are a shooting star? Don’t you know? Whoa yeah. Don’t you know that you are a shooting star? And all the world will love you just as long, as long as you are. (repeats)

Johnny died one night, died in his bed. Bottle of whiskey, sleeping tablets by his head. Johnny’s life passed him by like a warm summer day. If you listen to the wind you can still hear him play…Don’t you know that you are a shooting star? Don’t you know? Don’t you know? Don’t you, don’t you know that you are a shooting star? Don’t you know? (repeats)

How does one reconcile the reality of life with the artificial world that success and money creates? We see this dynamic played out all too often in actors, music celebrities, politicians, super athletes, and most recently in “reality” TV stars. In addition, how does one reconcile the reality of life when there is no longer a foundation to anchor to?  It takes a rare individual not to be entranced with this type of notoriety, money and meteoric rise in fame. My anchor is Christ who reminds me that all we gain is not as it seems.

Keep in mind that Johnny could be anyone…you, me, a friend, neighbor or loved one. We are all susceptible to the allurement this type of success employs; namely, losing touch with reality. Is there any correlation between those who become rich and famous, and bad company? Johnny would say, “Yes, don’t you know?”. The next time you ‘strike it rich’ or are vaulted to the top of a pedestal, stop and think about Johnny, and leave bad company alone…they have plenty of other suckers to latch onto.