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Get It Fast: GIFs for a nation with the attention span of a monkey

I may be old-school, but I try to keep up. Old writers can learn new tricks. Tackling one new topic every day or so not only helps one stay current in a too-rapidly-changing world, it’s essential for keeping the old brain in the game.

So this morning when the powers that be my blogger host posed the question: Are animated GIFs the stuff of junior highschool hijinks or, are they the political cartoons of the new millennium? My initial response was, “What kind of Tom Foolery is an animated GIF?” If you don’t know, either, GOOGLE it! Same as I did. You’re reading this on some kind of electronic device, anyway; so open another window and do your homework!

They’re freakin’ EVERY where, these little micro movies. Mostly moronic or sadly sophomoric, a few of them do rise to the level of artful communication. But the same may be said for every form of communication since the first sub-human blew a mouthful of dye over his own hand on a cave wall. More than anything else, these MEMEs with movement are symptomatic of a society and culture that increasing suffers from mass attention deficit. The pace of daily living has become so unrelentingly gawdawful fast, we can’t focus on anything for more than a fleeting few seconds.

If animated GIFs are where it’s happening, well, you can find me downtown in the local library.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Back to Basics

 

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Roll Up a Doobie

As a salute to the voters in Colorado and Washington state, I have morphed yet another ditty to my growing collection, The Elderly American Songbook.

The seed for this one is Bobby Vinton’s 1975 recording of Beer Barrel Polka.

 

In a garden, closet garden, only leaves and big buds grow there;

And there’s scarcely any room there or a whisper of dark doom there.

Here is music, loads of laughter, toking happily e’er after.

When we pass around a fat one, we all get in the mood.

Every time that grass cloud starts to bloom.

We all feel the sweet smoke fill the room.

Then we throw all cares into the pot,

Feelin’ fine with what we’ve got.

When the munchies hit we hardly care.

Grab a bag o’ chips we all can share.

Or we’ll make a Stoned Soup pie

With whatever we find nigh.

So-o-o-o-o-o……

Roll up a doobie, we’ll have a doobie-doo high.

Roll up a doobie, we’ll put the blue in the sky.

Who‘s up for nachos? Let’s make a run to Taco Bell.

Now’s the time to roll up a doobie, and pass the pipe as well.

Here’s to tokin’, we’re not jokin’, though our Golden Years be broken.

There’s no hurry; what, us worry? For the voters now have spoken.

Colorado, in the Northwest, where the finest herbals grow best.

Fire our bowls up without protest, and just blow all cares away.

When that old “Black Water” starts to flow

Through that place in which all dreamers grow.

Just kick back and light a fire;

Into the haze let us retire.

Roll up a doobie, we’ll have a mellow good time!

Roll up a doobie, tokin’s no longer a crime!

So what if it’s taxed now? Give Uncle Sammy his cut!

Everybody roll up a dobie, and smoke us out of this rut!

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Genesis

 

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When I’m 64

Dean Porter and I skipped school that year to go see A Fistful of Dollars at the Wichita Theater. We lost Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee in a senseless fire during an Apollo 1 launch test, and countless thousands of American women lost Elvis to Priscilla Beaulieu. That was the year that brought us Julia Roberts, Faith Hill and Moon Unit Zappa, the year that would live in history as the Summer of Love and the year I bought my first Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Oh, yeah. I was graduated from S.H. Rider High School that spring of 1967 as well. Talk about coming of age. The cruel war was raging, I had no immediate plan to enter college and my high school sweetheart had another year to do before her graduation.

When I’m 64 seemed an amusing little ditty at the time. Actually being 64 must have been beyond comprehension from the perspective of 18. Back in 1957, I remember the 9-year-old me wondering if I would make it another 43 years to witness the Earth’s odometer roll over to 2000, but I hadn’t the foggiest notion as to what those four decades would bring.

Now, five decades on, the fabled 64 Sir Paul wrote of (at the ripe old of 16) is here. I can tell you, friends and neighbors, it has been one hell of a ride.

Besides the kids, grands and greats, I am pleased to report that AnniePie still needs me, still feeds me in ways too numerous to mention here and never forgets the valentine and birthday cards. The desire to do up a garden and dig weeds still sparks when spring comes ‘round, but summer’s fire all too soon burns away the want to, and the only way I could manage staying out to quarter of three these days would be to camp out!

I still like those old spaghetti westerns (although Clint is on my shit list) and the music of Hugo Montenegro. Remembering Grissom, White and Chaffee gets my tired old eyes runny. And while I could not escape River City’s gravitational pull to make it out to San Francisco, my San Francisco flower child eventually found me. Some things are worth waiting for, indeed!

As the late Eubie Blake reportedly observed, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” Looks good on paper, but rarely deterred this grasshopper. So it goes. I suffer the physical stings and pings of physical aging. My get up and go did, leaving me pretty much in granny gear these days. I am proud to report, however, that slower ain’t necessarily worster.

Beyond the body and inside my head still resides that smart-ass kid who crossed the stage at Memorial Auditorium all those years ago. My hope is that he is a little wiser (’though I doubt it). Certainly he is better educated today, and little of that education came from a classroom.

One thing, however, I must credit to those precious few teachers at Rider who did the best they could with what they had. They taught me, above all else, to think for myself and to think critically; they taught me that textbooks aren’t necessarily the best obtainable version of the truth, and they taught me to ask my own questions and seek after my own answers.

I find that lesson invaluable as we head into the home stretch toward a national election, embarking on my 65th lap around the sun.

AnniePie and I have decided to pack up what possessions we need and return to the Pacific Northwest where we will be considerably nearer the kids and grandkids and well removed from the hundred-and-hot Texas summers. In this era of extreme changes, we also expect to find a more moderate cultural climate on the left coast. So as I pause to mark a milepost, life itself really does march on.

And my thanks to Sir Paul. I really do like the song. Always have.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Back to Basics

 

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