Chaos On High Road

Bisbee, AZ is a hill town, a place which would never have been thought of as suitable for occupation but for one factor: the presence of abundant copper-bearing rocks, entire mountains resigned to their exploitative fate.

Many hill towns have an elevated road which offers a panoramic view of the entire town. Bisbee has one, as does Ennis in County Clare in the west of Ireland; both roads are known as “High Road”. Singer/songwriter Tim O’Brien wrote and sang this moody song of a lost love while “up on a high road, lookin’ down…”:


I’ve been working for a friend of a friend up on Bisbee’s High Road, doing some trim work on a house. Getting there has become a pain in the butt lately due to the presence of crews of predominantly Hispanic workers and their dump trucks. The road is narrow, perched on the side of a canyon as it is, and I’ve had to back up in order to allow a truck to lumber past me. The street has many sets of stairs which allow access to several of the houses, reminding me of a game of chutes and ladders, and the steps are often lined with a row of workers kibitzing their peers. In general the street feels inordinately crowded these days.

You might wonder what these crews are doing on a residential street. It seems, from what I’ve heard, that the mining company is attempting to curry favor with the city of Bisbee by replacing yard dirt contaminated by heavy metals and other poisonous results of decades of copper mining with new dirt of unknown provenance. The mining company would like to open another open-pit mine within the city limits, creating or adding to the garish moonscape on the south edge of town.

A few scenes up on High Road:

Above is a view of the 180-degree Hairpin Turn, a corner which demands careful driving. That’s how you get on the High Road. I cropped this view from one of Bev’s photos. The following photo is also one of Bev’s, a typical High Road house looking like a page from a Dr. Suess book:

Work crew scenes in the side yard next to the house I’ve been working on:

The workers seem to be unnecessarily numerous and many can be seen throughout the day looking like this:

I asked one of the workers where the new soil comes from. He tersely replied , “Cochise.”, which is the name of this county. It might be sewage sludge composted with sand and wood waste.



Doesn’t this old song from the Electric Light Orchestra sound like a Beatles song?


Classic stuff!


Musical Comedy

I loved this, a joint effort of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, a musical encounter between a Christian and a Jew:


Thanks go to my old friend Mark Nemoyten for posting this on FB!


Cowboy Music

A photo of Johnny Cash singing with a Navy lieutenant:

It’s interesting that the life of cowboys has become part of our national mythology. It’s partly due to novels from writers like Zane Grey, and also to the influence of all of the Western movies of the past decades.

Bev Wigney posted a link on Facebook (I reject pernicious double capitalization) to this wonderful rendition by Johnny Cash; as she commented, he was at the top of his game:


I wasn’t really a country music fan back when I first heard this (the genre boundaries hadn’t hardened back then, like tectonic plates drifting apart) but the song certainly created images in my mind!


Wonderful Dancing

Rather archaic, but I do enjoy watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing together now and then. You can tell that they were enjoying themselves!


Another one:



Musical Androgyny

Way back in the early 1970s I was living in a commune in Quincy, Illinois. The commune was about half gay. One day Kevin, who died several years ago, brought home a vinyl LP of David Bowie music. I was suspicious of a lot of the gay-favored music, which tended towards flamboyant show-tunes and such, but the album, Hunky Dory, just blew me away. I thought, “Man! What’s with those Brits and their interpretations of American pop? So the Beatles weren’t a one-off thing?”

This tune was and still is one of my favorites:


This one from a couple of years later recently resurfaced after being lost for decades:


Thanks go to Crystal Rehula for this link!



Here’s a memory for my readers:

It was the late spring of 1972. I was on the verge of quitting high school without graduating. I was dozing off in a civics class. The teacher, Joyce, was trying to keep the students interested, not an easy job! She had brought a tape cassette to class, and she played us a song I’d not heard before.

It was Imagine, by John Lennon. Well, that woke me up!

Here’s a nice version from Mark Knopfler and his musical buddy Chet Atkins; it’s the second song in the medley:


Musical affection and interplay galore!


Christmas Eve

I’m sitting here thinking about the many Christmases I’ve seen come and go. It’s really kind of weird, when you think about the two parallel mythologies which seem to co-exist here. The pop-culture Christmas, full of tales about Santa Claus and his reindeer, and all of the songs of the past sixty years — like Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, and that eternally played song Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Alongside all of that are the biblical tales of Christ’s birth, the Three Wise Men, and such. We don’t need creches in courthouse lawns; Quincy must have hundreds in residential front lawns!

I like to recall how our son Tyler just loved to string up Christmas lights. Not many people ever saw them, but there they were every year! Putting up lights had never entered my mind.

Betsy and I would bundle up Tyler and Adrian and drive the forty miles to Quincy, where four grandparents awaited our visits. There’s nothing like having young kids to cement family relations!

I’m tired of hearing Christmas music, to tell you the truth. Even NPR has been playing it relentlessly.

Here’s something a bit different, a production of some young folks with nifty software:


Modern psychedelia! Another tradition… here’s one more:


You might be wondering what kind of music is this, anyway? Wikipedia to the rescue:

English psychedelic downtempo/psybient

Okay, another musical genre to hear and learn about! I had to look up the word “psybient“, a new one to add to my hoard.

My oldest sister Linda complains that I haven’t been posting enough to please her. Hey, sis, you start a blog and start posting! (That is what is called, technically speaking, fishing for a comment. You break off a piece of worm, as my grandmother Lillian taught me, embed it on a hook, and cast it out into the water. If nothing else, a bluegill will bite! My sister is more like a Northern Pike…)