Rolling Thunder Revue. A review

Rolling Thunder Revue is a movie? A documentary? It is a look back in time of Bob Dylan and friends during a concert tour by Martin Scorsese. It is currently on a Netflix. It is as much a movie about music from a Dylan tour as it is about a period of time in this country. In 1975 and again in 1976, Dylan is accompanied by a number of musicians in a series of shows throughout the United States and Canada. The movie shows actual performance clips from the tour, along with interviews from many of the actual performers and participants of the show, then and now. The movie is intertwined with stories of the period.

I was first introduced to the music of Bob Dylan in college in 1979. A senior in my dorm my freshman year, who went by the name of Commander Nichols was a big Dylan fan. Up until that time, my music interest included the Clash, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and Rush. I often characterize periods in my life by the music that I listen to. In 1976, it was the summer of Frampton Comes Alive. By 1979, it was the Clash and London Calling, competing with Rush and Hemispheres. My first

concert was on the Hemisphere’s Tour. Supper Bowl weekend in Pittsburgh. Of course the Steelers were in the big game. I was in high school, and well that trip, I can save for a future posting.

And Commander Nichols was also the person who introduced me to Neil Young. It only took me 32 years to see Neil Young in concert. Yet I digress. Back to Bob Dylan.

As with all rockumentaries, the clips of music are intertwined with interviews from the performers, friends, and fans. In the case of this movie, we have Bob Dylan, then and now. There were some really great musicians who performed in the Rolling Thunder Review. They included Joni Mitchel, Joan Baez, Ramblin Jack Elliot. Poetry by Allen Ginsberg. The band that backed up the musicians was really good. They had their own stories that was interesting. The story behind Dylan’s kabuki masks during the tour was tied to Dylan visiting the band KISS. Why? Simply because the young violinist touring with Dylan was dating one of the band members in KISS. As I see the irony, Rush toured with KISS. I have seen Rush five times in concert. Somehow all things are interconnected. But again I digress. I watch these movies for the music. It definitely needed more music and less story telling.

Some of the movie dealt with Rubin Carter and the “story of the Hurricane”. Hurricane is a great Dylan song from the album Desire, released in 1976. Still other songs come from my favorite Dylan album, which is Blood on the Tracks, released in 1974. Of course there were some of the usual Dylan tunes, especially, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, and Mr Tambourine Man. I haven’t bought a Dylan album/CD in years but I understand that one of the recently released bootleg albums has outtakes from the Rolling Thunder Revue.

The concert performances are great. Some of the stories of the times were interesting. I particularly liked the time when Dylan and Ginsberg visited the grave of Jack Kerouac. There they are filmed reading some lines from Kerouac’s book “On the Road”, and they sing some songs and discuss their experiences from Kérouac. I thought this clip clearly identified with the period. I thought it interesting that the tour traveled from city to city on buses, yet Dylan drove a motor home. There were some interviews with politicians, Jimmy Carter and others, that I thought didn’t add much value to the story. We don’t learn much about Dylan during this time, but it is clear to me that he just enjoyed playing music with his friends, both in a concert hall, and in other avenues.

So in the end, we have a snapshot of the time during a Bob Dylan tour. We don’t learn much about the music, except for Hurricane. The snippets of music are intertwined in the stories, not the other way around. Bob Dylan said that he didn’t remember much of the tour, but he was able to tell some detailed stories about the people and such. He said that there was nothing left from the tour, yet we know that there are tracks of the music and videos from the tour. EBay has some original posters and tickets from the tour for sale. As for me, I’d like to get the hat.

The mundane happenings of life

Yesterday I managed to leave work early and stop to pick up my new glasses. I have been without glasses for close to two weeks now. The trouble with my glasses started several months ago when Jewel somehow got my pair off the table one morning before I left for work and completely destroyed them. Plastic lenses and plastic frames were chewed into pieces. So I had to put my back up pair into service and the arranged to get a new fitting. My back up pair was my prescription from about 6 years ago. It had been several years since I was last at the eye doctor, and so it was long overdue.

Well that lasted about a week when Jewel somehow got this pair of glasses and managed to chew the frame. Scotch tape to the rescue. Yes I was really the geeky nerd and endured this for several months. Between travel and other distractions, it took me months to finally get an appointment to get an eye examination and new glasses. Unfortunately, I also made the appointment for son, who was also have vision trouble at school. Yet here it was in the middle of summer before he finally admitted to having problems.

Driving was ok because I had my prescription sunglasses to wear. Didn’t work too well at night but that was manageable. By then the scotch tape was too much. Lost the screws that held the frame together and had to resort to crazy glue. That too wasn’t enough. Supper nerd needed to see the eye doctor.

Yesterday I managed to get my new glasses. Skipped the bifocals this time. I really just need them for distance because I have become accustomed to read or work on the computer without wearing them.

I guess Jewel likes them too. Now I put them in a place where she cannot reach them.

We found ourselves inside on a Friday night. Watched some tv, which was more enjoyable with the new glasses. Didn’t really do much of anything. I didn’t even cook myself a delicious meal. Maybe Saturday. It was quiet. I could have sat down and read my book but even that didn’t excite me. Clearly this weekend was going to be very different compared to last weekend. For me, I was back to normal.

Today I find myself without the kids. It is just me and the dog. This Saturday morning started out well. I got up early and managed to get to the stable around 7 am. Stopped at Morning Glory Bakery for large coffee and two glazed doughnuts. Would have probably gotten a burrito but they were busy and they didn’t have my favorite: sausage green with cheese. Cold have gone elsewhere for a burrito but the doughnuts will be enough to keep me moving. Not to feed the horse. Rather, my task was to cut the grass and weeds around the stable.

Aside from that I needed to do some clean up around the stables because next weekend will be our first hay delivery for the year. For cutting the weeds, the old manual push mower just wasn’t working out. Tried sharpening the blade multiple times. Managed to cover the same path multiple times trying to cut the grass and weeds. While it was exercise, and I would cover a few thousand steps, it was never without difficulty. I needed power.

I bought a new mower to accomplish the task. I may have destroyed a new mower while mowing. At one point, I was mowing and must have hit metal. It immediately stopped. Looked underneath the mower to see wire wrapped around the blade and half of the blade bent. Removed the wire and resumed mowing. But it was now struggling to cut the weeds. After much starting and stopping, I somehow managed to stop and again, catch wire in the blade. This time I was mowing the back of the lot. After I managed to remove the wrapped metal wire, I figured that it was time to call it a day. Packed up and went home.

Of course, I had Jewel with me the entire time. I had her tied up at the front of the stable while I was cutting grass in the back. She had water, but it was hot and the day was warming up. By 10 am, we called it quits.

The morning sky started to show some nice white puffy clouds over the mountains as we drove home. By the time I got the car unloaded, it was lunch time and I was certainly hot and tired from mowing. Clean up may just have to wait another day!

Goofed around the house in the afternoon and ran some errands. By mid afternoon, it rained and cooled things off outside.

Much of what I do happens to be mundane anymore. Normal everyday things become more and more mundane. Is it because I am getting older? Is it because I am so set in my ways that I avoid going out, trying new things. Lots to do this weekend but can’t say that it really excited me. I really am becoming more and more of an old fuddy-duddy. I need to change that. That is one of the reasons why I started this blog. Try to read more and share more, learn and seek new ideas, stimulating conversation, meet new people who write some really great things. I don’t see myself as a writer, but I have been enjoying putting things down here for all to see. In the past I have written lots of scientific papers for publishing, two dissertations, and many papers in college for various classes. Writing has long been a struggle for me, yet I see how very important it is to communicate clearly, to express ourselves. Sometime the words just come out; other times I have nothing. I try to impress this upon my kids.

Often what I write starts out completely different than the final product. I need to work on spell checking and proofing the final words before I publish. Hopefully that will improve my style, my word choice, allow me to better articulate what I write and what I post.

I need more spontaneity.

Stimulating conversation

Often when I am home alone because the kids are with their mother, I find myself talking either to myself, or to the dog. I wonder what that means?

Naturally I performed a Google search on “talking to myself or the dog”. Top of the list was an April 2019 article “Your-new-self-care-talk-to-yourself-the-way-you-talk-to-a-pet” by Haley Goldberg.

https://advice.shinetext.com/articles/your-new-self-care-talk-to-yourself-the-way-you-talk-to-a-pet/

Haley concluded that she was far nicer to her dog than to herself and thus we should talk to ourself like we talk to our pet. Haley’s Instagram page show lots of pictures with her rescued dogs. They look good and I am glad that she rescued them.

I can relate because I consider myself my own worst enemy. I don’t think that I can really talk to myself like the way I talk to Jewel. Somehow “no biting Steve, kisses” really will help me. My conversations are more about “well that’s a fine mess you got yourself in; how are you going to get out of it”? Or “ what shall I make for dinner”? Jewel’s kibble isn’t for me. For me, talking to myself helps me to analyze and to solve the problem that I am talking to myself about.

The next article in the search was a 2015 article entitled “What’s really going on when you talk to your pet” suggests that dogs can understand

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/whats-really-going-on-when-you-talk-to-your-pet

the emotions we are conveying from the tone of our voice. I can relate to that because Jewel can certainly tell when she is in trouble from the tone of my voice. So can my kids. So can my coworkers. One’s tone can convey positive and heartwarming thoughts. Conversely, anger and frustration can also be conveyed by the tone of one’s voice. The words can make it worse. And for the record, when I talk t o myself, I too can here the tone differences and how they convey emotion.

The third item in the search was a 2013 article from Psychology Today entitled “Is it crazy to talk to your dog”. It too talked about intonations

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-in-mind/201304/is-it-crazy-talk-your-dog

and the responses of the dog.

The Atlantic had a 2017 article entitled “Why Do Humans Talk to Animals If They Can’t Understand?” This article suggested that the tendency to converse with dogs, cats, and hamsters ultimately says more about people than it does about their pets. I now have to admit that I also talk t9 the horse, and sons hampster Jonny. Neither one ever talks back.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/08/talking-to-pets/537225/

In addition, conversations with our pets are not one-sided. They give as much as they take. This is true because when I talk to Jewel, her tale wags. When she chases her tail and I ask her if she got it, or if I hold her tale, she will chase it some more.

OK so I think we have concluded that it is ok to talk to our pets, but what about ourselves? Well, I think that is also ok, and answering ourselves is also ok. After all, or at least in my case, I can really have some questioning conversation with myself about myself. And after all, who is best to tell me about me than me.

So here I am downstairs writing this posting. My past few posts never saw the light of day. They remain draft and need work. The kids are upstairs, presumably playing computer games. Jewel is here keeping me company. And I am talking to myself as I write this. In that context, I am sounding out my sentences so I don’t really think that it consititutes talking to myself.

The Google search also produced several article feeling with the subject about talking to yourself. In general, it doesn’t appear that talking to yourself puts you into a weekly visit to a therapist. I’m sure that psychologists have debated this topic for a long time. It looks like they have concluded every that it is ok, provided it is in moderation. In general, anything and everything in moderation is fine. Two articles, one in the New York Times and the other on CNN conveyed the importance of talking to yourself. There, all is well in the world.

At any rate, I hope this article stimulates you as it did me. I had fun writing it.

Road Trip…days 3 and 4

Two very long and tiring days so I am combining them in today’s post. As I write this, today is Monday July 8th. I have taken the day as vacation, knowing that we would be very late in getting back. I know I got to bed sometime after 1 am this morning.

To add insult to injury, I got up about 6:30 am. Wide awake, I went and fed the horse. A horse that I think is happy to be home.

To recap the weekend. Daughter unfortunately fell off her horse during show jumping. This eliminated her from the competition after a reasonable dressage score. Her weekend of eventing was over. So much in preparation comes to an end in the matter of moments.

The photo above is of daughter warming up in dressage. She then went in and scored well for her forth try at this level of competition. Typical issues are documented in the judges scoring sheet; needing to be fluid and bend more with the horse. We were pleased with her showing.

Show jumping was later in the day. Her practice jumps in the warm up area were great, but there was a long pause between warm up and her ride. She was able to start and cleared the first jump but lost balance on the approach to the second jump. Enough said.

Cross country was yesterday (Sunday). Had she competed, it would have been very late in the day (later than it was). The course was very tough, poor footing in a few places and many refusals at the jumps for many riders. Several riders fell during their rides. In fact, daughter’s trainer who was also competing, fell during a jump in the middle of the course. After she was checked out at the urgent care (concussion), we packed up and headed home.

But the sky was still blue.

The ride home was equally troubling. Motorcycle accident in Arizona; slow traffic due to road construction in New Mexico. It was a long day. We switched trailers at Goose Downs around 11 pm and managed to get Ruby unloaded about 12:45 am this morning back in her own paddock.

I find myself writing this post at about 8 am Monday morning. I am very tired and need to get some more sleep. As it is, I never sleep well on travel in hotels. Not that I sleep well at home, averaging 4 to 6 hours on a normal day.

Long weekend with the kids. Great time had by all.

RoadTrip…day 2

The first full day in Flagstaff. We dropped daughter and mother off where the horse has been put up for the weekend. Son and I then embarked on a 90 minute detour north to check out one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The Grand Canyon.

When son walked up to the edge, he looked out and said “amazing “. He stood there in silence for a several minutes, admiring the natural beauty and sheer size of it. It was not what he expected.

We walked around the canyon rim for about an hour. Checked out two gift shops, and then hopped back in the car to return to Flagstaff. Today was the teaching portion of Coconino. It’s where the contestants get to pay to practice dressage, show jumping, and get the opportunity to walk the cross country course.

We got back in time for daughter to bath the horse. As you can see, daughter is telling stories to the other riders who are there washing their horses as well. I wonder what drives som many little girls to ride horses. There are literally a hundred plus competitors here. I only say maybe three male competitors.

After bathing Ruby, it was time to dry the horse and hope that she stays clean until tomorrow.

For daughter, it’s quiet time to get mentally prepared for the competition. After getting the horses tucked into their stalls for the evening, fed, and general getting ready, there was a stable social hour. I was admiring the truck and trailer rig that sponsor had. A heavy duty Ford 350 and a trailer that could hold four horses and a complete camper. Impressive. First class. Then for us it was back to the hotel, dinner and an early bed. Until tomorrow.

Road Trip

Instead of spending the 4th of July at a picnic, watching a parade, or going out to hear music and watch fireworks, I spent the day in the car. As a family, we drove to Flagstaff Arizona for a weekend horse competition for Daughter. My 4th of July hotdog was from a truck stop on I40 heading west. Ketchup but sadly, no onions. The Coconino Horse Trials are held every year about this time. The competition starts on Friday with classes and practice and the competition is Saturday and Sunday. We already know that it will be a long day because her cross country ride is not until 3:23 Sunday afternoon. Then pack up the horse and a 7 hour car ride. Stopping at Goose Downs to change trailers puts us into Los Alamos about 3 am.

For son and I, it is kinda like a family vacation. Of course I’d like to see her compete but my weekend will be spent entertaining him. And since this post is entitled Road Trip, I took a number of obligatory photos on the ride to catalogue this adventure.

Your author, as we pull out of Los Alamos at 7 am. First stop is to Goose Downs to trade trailers and get the other horse for the trip. Of course, we have to entertain son, so it is a must to have WiFi for the trip.

Pit stop at Goose Downs to unload Ruby while we transfer the gear to a larger trailer and load two horses for the long trip west.

Leaving Santa Fe on I25 after Goose Downs. Next stop will be outside Grants for gas along I40. Stops are short, long enough to get a bathroom break.

Eventually we cross into Arizona. I40 often parallels Route 66. So a little nostalgia runs through my mind. The best part of the trip is several hours into Arizona…

Sadly there is no time to stop and check out it the corner, but we played the song twice as we drove past.

Well I’m runnin’ down the road tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on my mind
Four that wanna own me two that wanna
stone me one says she’s a friend of mine
Take it easy
Take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place make your stand
Take it easy
Well I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl my lord in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
Come on baby
Don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is gonna save me
We may lose and we may win
Though we will never be here again
So open up I’m climbin’ in
Take it easy
Alright

Yes we sang the great Eagles song, these lyrics courtesy of Google. Both son and daughter just looked at their parents in wonder. It will take awhile, but they need to learn traditions, or at least great music.

Finally Flagstaff and the Coconino Fair Grounds for unpacking and settling Ruby in for the evening. She is on a working vacation.

For the family, it is the hotel, dinner at a brewery and then back to the hotel for bed.

The 4th of July

Today should be a day to reflect. From the National Archives, here is something of historical importance to reflect upon. I was reading that we have too much Thomas Jefferson in our lives. I’ve concluded that we don’t have enough.

In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.