Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: Still Amazing

This may not be a post that anyone under the age of 40 cares about, and yes, I do take into consideration that anything I write is apt to not be cared about. I continue to write though. Enough has been written about the Beatles and Sgt. Pepper over the years and it would be silly of me to try to find some new angle to come from on it. I would like to say that I listened to it again last night and it still resonates with me, perhaps more than it has in the past. 

When we talk about this album, it must be within the context of its time. We are used to eclectic instruments and complicated engineering in our music. We are used to grand and colorful cover designs. We don't think anything of veiled sexual, social, and/or drug references in our modern music. We are used to seeing grown men with long hair that dare to walk off the beaten path. So, when considering the album now, it can't be given the same measure of respect it was given in the late 1960's, but those who understand context should be able to appreciate it or all its greatness.  

The album changed the perception of what a rock and roll album could be and what was acceptable to mainstream music listeners. It was an album made by music lovers for music lovers. It's no one trick pony. You get it all here. It runs the spectrum of music and each song is vastly different from the next, yet retains a familiar flow. 

The Beatles are among the most culturally significant figures of the past forty years. They had a great effect on how music is made and thought about. Their influence is felt all through rock music. They also impacted how we dress, wear our hair, and talk. They erupted in the mid-60's and art through music blew up with them and brought an entirely new way to be creative. The shackles were off and what a glorious time it was for music. 

Being able to understand the impact of that album helps me appreciate it all the more. Paul McCartney really shines on this album. His voice was at its best, his bass lines drive much of the music, and his songwriting was peaking. John Lennon was a major player on the album also, along with producer George Martin. Ringo Starr and George Harrison made their contributions ,but this album was truly a showcase for what "could be" from the creative genius of Lennon and McCartney. 

If you own it, perhaps it would be a good time to put the headphones on, stretch out and let the world outside go on without you for 40 or so minutes. Let the album wash over you and carry you without regards to what is the standard now. The world of music went from black and white to color when this album was released, sort of like Dorothy opening up the door after the tornado on the Wizard of Oz! 

We were talking-about the love that's gone so cold and the people, 
Who gain the world and lose their soul- 
They don't know-they can't see-are you one of them? 
When you've seen beyond yourself-then you may find, peace of mind, 
Is waiting there- 
And the time will come when you see
                                  we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you.
Within You, Without You (Harrison)

Monday, January 14, 2013

No Red Meat For A Month! Can I Do It?

I have decided that on January 15th, I will start an attempt to not eat a single morsel of red meat until at least February 15th. One month without red meat. That would be a first for me, at least since the time I had power over such decisions. At one time my cholesterol was a robust 370 and with medicine I got it down to the mid 200's. I have since stopped taking medication (it made me feel terrible) and I'm pretty sure my numbers are probably out of control. 

Since I do not currently have insurance to go have myself check out, I will start to deal with my health by curbing my diet away from the things that harm me most. 

If I pull this off, sweets will the next item on the agenda and then I may foray into the area of eating certain kinds of foods to try and develop a taste for them. I have been asked by a friend to document my thoughts on how I'm doing and feeling as this progresses. I will do so as the situation merits it. 

Wish me luck! It's all a part of "Keep Freddy Alive Until He's 50" campaign!

UPDATE #1 (1/17)
Well at midnight I'm three full days into it. I've not had an honest to goodness craving yet. Been eating chicken and fish. Maybe this won't be so hard?

UPDATE #2 (1/22)
So, maybe this is not going to be as hard as I thought. One week down with three to go and I don't miss red meat at all. No cravings at all for it. Substituted chicken on my pizza and that has worked out well. 

UPDATE #3 (1/28)
Nothing to report. I've not eaten any red meat or had any episodes of hysteria where I went ape shit and knocked down a couple of double quarter pounders....yet. I can say this. Two weeks in and the joint pain in my knees and shoulder have subsided. Not saying it's directly because of the no red meat pledge, but it's an interesting coincidence. I've had that stiffness and pain for several months and now it's gone. Hmmmm......

UPDATE #4 (2/7)
This has been about a boring ass self-imposed event. I'm truly glad that the joint pain in my shoulder and knee are gone, but this hasn't been much of a chore. I have 7 days left and I can't see those being a problem. I haven't had any craving. I haven't missed it really. The other night we were gonna get pizza and I thought it would be nice to get an all-meat artery clogger, but didn't want to blow what I had going on. So, I just got bread sticks. Trying to figure out what I may try to cut back on or out next.