The Carolina Star

Last night in the dusk

I found a bright shining star

Shining bright among the rest

I could see it from afar

She was more beautiful

Than anything I’ve saw

There was only one name for her

The Carolina Star

And she says we are just friends

But that I’m having trouble believin’

Because the way you look at me

And I can’t stop myself from dreaming…

That you’ll be mine someday

Somewhere

And glowing in the darkness

We’ll have a life to share

Cuz you’re my Carolina Star

My Carolina Star

Shining brighter than the moon

I know where you are

You light up my life

When the moment seems dark

You’re my Carolina star

The journey to embark

Going to Kansas

The train is moving again. The glorious sounds of the engine meshing with the blurring of the landscape as the Amtrak rushes, backwards from my seat position, through the countryside of Michigan, the lush forests, farms, and hills of an old land that reflects the early days of the state and even the country, when cities were few and far.

We’re packed up and ready for another trip down to Olathe, Kansas. This would be the 5th or 6th time that the family is headed down to the Heartland to see the youngest sister and her significant other, the first time being in the summer of 2014 when we visited the University of Kansas. Kansas is still quite new to us as we have only scratched the surface of it, having only been near the border cities and not into the deep part of the state.

The conductor checked my ticket again today, as he always does, scanning it and giving it back to me where I place it back in the top compartment of my luggage bag.

Because of Kansas, I get the song “Dust in the Wind” playing in my head, and eventually on my computer. It is a song symbolizing our short time on this earth, that in the end we are just made up of earth stuff, living our lives and then being recycled back into the environment, continuing the cycle. We rent a period of time here to do as much as we can, to explore and learn about our history and what is beyond our imagination. The band is actually from Topeka, Kansas and released “Dust in the Wind” in 1977. The title comes from a passage in the Bible by Ecclesiastes:

I reflected on everything that is accomplished by man on earth, and I concluded:

Everything he has accomplished is futile — like chasing the wind!

In the end, everything we do, all the money we may or may not have, doesn’t matter one little bit, because all of it doesn’t go with us. The only thing we can hold onto are our hopes and dreams and to believe that there is more to life than just living and dying.

It sure is a big break from me playing video games for many hours straight, only getting up once in a while to eat something or use the facilities. I’ve become so addicted to playing Batman: Arkham Knight, the explosive finale in the Arkham series of games. Probably one of the best games I’ve played in a while, besides Skyrim, which is why I’ve had a hard time putting it down, because there is so much to see and do. From what I know so far, near 90% completion of the game, it is the ending stories of several high profile criminals in Gotham, and they all get locked up in prison, though I’m not sure yet if they escape or get released by some outside help.

For now, I continue to listen to the train’s whistle as it rumbles down the track. The usual route is stopping in Chicago at Union Station and then taking a bus to Wisconsin, but that is not the case this time. It will be a longer train ride to Lawrence, Kansas, going through a lot of flat farmland in Illinois and Missouri. It sure is a lot better than driving down there, which is what we did the first time, staring at boring scenery for hours and hours, but I remember it fondly and cherish every moment of it.

Lush

Musical.ly

knt

Music is power. The app musical.ly proves to state this even more. This is likely one of the best new apps to hit the market and already has a ton of talent streaming through it.

 

 

The Uprising

The revolt is set

The crowd is ready to rush in

Order will be torn apart

The onslaught of the inevitable sin

Grab your guns, grab your armor

It’s going to be a real dogfight

To defend our rights, uphold our honor

The uproarious hysteria filling the night

Anti-government, rise against the machine in full bloom

Not holding back, the tank turrets go BOOM!

At the end of it all, the battlefield lay strewn

Over a thousand souls exhausted, the painting of DOOM

And now the power rests in the hands of the victorious few

A wartorn flag is planted in the cold hard blue

The New Order has risen, salute and respect us now

Until the fallen have their revenge, for the kings and queens they bow

Inspired by listening to “Uprising” by Muse, which got me pumped up today, as all songs by Muse do. They are one my favorite bands of all time. I was going for a power walk today, listening to a set of my favorite songs through my headphones, when this great song came up, instantly having a powerful effect over me. I can instantly trust that I’ll like any of Muse’s songs that play on the radio or I play on YouTube, which I was doing today. The album The Resistance, which includes, “Uprising”,  won the Grammy for Best Rock Album in 2011 and I can’t argue with the selection. There’s a real sense of urgency with the these lyrics, the powerful motive to rise up and revolt against governmental control and other organizations such as Scientology.

20 Years of Coldplay

Coldplay turns 20 this year. From 1996 to 2016 they have released seven albums and have won seven Grammy Awards. They weren’t always known by Coldplay but by the names Pectoralz and Starfish before settling on their official name in 1998.

Here is a song written for their debut album “Parachutes” released in March 2000. As you can see, the music video is very raw and unedited, filmed on what looks a small soundstage. It originally aired on MTV before being uploaded to YouTube in 2011.

Shiver

 

What Happened to FTP?

Image result for foster the people torches
Foster The People is an amazingly good band that found exposure late in 2011, with the release of their debut album Torches. The band is named after frontman Mark Foster and he says the name means “to nurture and take care of the people”, though it was originally named “Foster & the People” but was mispronounced. I’d say they did very with their first album because there are at least three singles that went viral and cracked the top 100 of various music charts in the U.S, U.K, Australia, and other places, and were nominated at the Grammys.

“Pumped Up Kicks” is a song that I remember very well, and was what sparked Foster’s success. It seemed to define my transition from high school into what they call the “real world” very well, a rebellious track describing one man’s sinister plans. Foster the People has yet to come out with anything that could match their successful Torches album (their 2012 second album Supermodel is one I haven’t heard much about) since it was one of the best from the beginning of the 2010s decade. The music videos accompanying it are spectacular. Unique, maybe a little over the top.

Now this song is absolutely perfect. It’s something you can easily dance to. It’s humorous. I must have listened to this insanely catchy hit about a 100 times after I first heard it on a Nissan Leaf commercial back in 2011. I’ll leave up to you to figure out what the meaning behind the song is.

And one last song I want to talk about doesn’t really have any real meaning behind it. You can call it what you want because that is what the music video clearly shows, an ambiguous mash-up of confusing scenes.

The band is still around and is touring like crazy, with a third album due sometime this or next year. Cubbie Fink, one of the original band members, left the band to pursue other opportunities, but the core group is still together. I admire this band’s hard work and drive to keep producing and not end up one hit wonders, which hey, is a lot better than I could have done.

Spice Is Quite Nice

July 8, 1996 – the world is introduced to an all girl power group with catchy nicknames. With one crazy good song, “Spice Girl Fever” spread to the United States and beyond in instant fashion. “Wannabe” reached number one in the UK on July 27, staying there for seven weeks. The song hit number in 37 countries during its peak.

You know it’s “what you want, what you really, really want”, at least for people born in the ’90s – a reunion that is. Today, the song celebrates its 20th anniversary. Without looking them up, I believe the nicknames of the five were Scary Spice, Sugar Spice, Posh Spice, and…I forget the rest.They last performed at the London Olympics in 2012, which I barely got to see because the TV went out during the opening ceremony. Melanie, Melanie, Emma, Geri, and Victoria. The all girl equivalent of the Beatles – just as successful and endearing, but for all they’re worth, I only know the one hit song from them:

Update: their nicknames are Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger, and Posh. The editor of Top of the Pops magazine in 1996 came up with these names as a way to make the girls more marketable. They were only supposed to be used humorously in the magazine and not globally but of course that didn’t happen. All of their graves someday will bear these names..

In my own mind though, I don’t really care for a Spice reunion because they are a trend of the past and music has evolved so much since the “girl power” phenomenon of the ’90s. Yes, people are going to be ecstatic, but I’ll be more subdued as always whenever the hype mobile comes into town. By the time I could even comprehend what music or television was, this group’s popularity had already waned, so I wouldn’t have known how they started out, wouldn’t have grown up with them. And I’m not crazy about girl bands, even less than boy bands. Too much hype, not enough pure talent. This group is a one hit wonder but makes every bit of it worthwhile.