All of these were great. With Richard Wagner, we read about a man that rose into greatness: how he overcame a myriad of obstacles on his journey. With PT Barnum, we get advice on financial matters – how to increase your wealth and, subsequently, your life. And with Marcus Aurelius, we read about the worldview of a famous Roman leader: and we find how his theories are closely related to Buddhism.
The Major saw Widespread Panic on Saturday night. The concert took place at the Park Theater in the Monte Carlo casino. It’s a beautiful arena, perfectly situated next to the T-Mobile Center and the Strip.
For many years, Widespread Panic has been on my radar. I like the Grateful Dead (saw them many times) and WP operates in that same milieu: i.e. the “jam” band. So I finally got around to checking them out.
Here was my impression of the show:
The Positives: Instrumentation, Performance and Atmosphere
In terms of sound, Widespread Panic is great. The instruments have a wonderful tone: great bass, guitars, drums, etc. Long story short, they rock. The volume was loud but not too loud. Everybody was dancing at it was a fun time. Positive energy was dominant throughout the night.
The Negatives: Lyrics and Vocals
Lyrically, the band is average at best. They have no soaring melodies, no catchy hooks, etc. And the singer (John Bell) does not enunciate. When a singer is not proud of his lyrics, then he’s not going to belt them out. That situation applies to John Bell. His vocal tone is also average. It’s ok, but not very unique or compelling.
If you’re looking for a good time, Widespread Panic will get the job done. You’ll find a festive show and you’ll dance the night away. But don’t be surprised if, after the concert, something feels missing. You won’t be whistling their songs or singing their lyrics.
The Stone Temple Pilots had a wonderful song entitled “A Song for Sleeping”. It’s a song that Scott Weiland wrote for his son. Even if you’re not a fan of the band, take a listen. This song will speak to your heart because it elevates HUMAN BEAUTY and it affirms a UNIVERSAL LIFE ESSENCE:
Such a wonderful arrangement. The music elevates the lyrical content, allowing us to float into another world. We’re taken into the Weiland universe…we see the love that a father has for his son.
Take a closer look at the lyrics and listen to the song again:
Finally I’ve met you, the day has come
You’re more than beautiful And you’re my son
I don’t deserve this I never thought it could be Quite like the moment When you first smiled at me A toothless, wonderful feeling Like I’d never seen
It’s you, Noah, it’s you And when you lie down to sleep I’ll protect you From the demons of the night While I’m watching you grow
I’ll pray There’s so much I could teach you If you only have the time Pray There’s so much God can teach you If you only have the time
So will you tell me the little things? What does God look like? And angels’ wings? I don’t remember these things So would you teach them to me? So for the moment I’ll watch you breathe
And when you wake up in the morning And I pour the coffee You’re always smiling sweetly
Art is the affirmation of the natural…a celebration of the beautiful. “A Song for Sleeping” is a good example of this. It speaks to the humanity in all of us…it raises our spirits into an ethereal plane.
Note: A nation cannot rise without a culture of NOBILITY. It must affirm the passionate rivers of CREATIVITY and BEAUTY. It must proclaim that life is to be celebrated. That human passion and natural wonders are the epicenter of spiritual bliss.
My vote goes to Crime and Punishment. The main reason is the simplicity and beauty of the plot. We have a central character—he commits a crime in the heat of passion, and then he spends the rest of the novel contemplating the ramifications of his action. During that time, the novel covers the fundamental topics of life: justice, mortality, good, evil, etc.
The Brothers Karamazov is complex in structure. It’s narrates the history of an entire family as opposed to one person. So it’s easy to become lost during the story, trying to remember what happened to which character. You almost need an Excel spreadsheet to follow along. It has some nice moments, for sure (The Grand Inquisitor” chapter being the most famous). But the reader has to work for these gems.
In my opinion, less is more. So if you have to chose one of Dostoevsky’s novels to begin with, make it Crime and Punishment. You’ll find it straightforward and beautifully written.
I was driving today when I heard the song “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.” Like so many romantic songs, the idea is nice. We feel a tingle. We reflect on romantic love. We reminisce on the feminine.
And yet, the opposite is true.
There ain’t no sunshine when a manis gone. Why is that? Because patriarchal headship is the foundation of FAMILY. It’s the buttress of HUMANITY. The husband is a promontory cliff, protecting his family from the vicissitudes of life.
So when a father absent, we find darkness. The energy of woman has nothing to cling to. So her life is a struggle, always in search of a masculine counterpart. And only this headship can lead her into a light.
What makes Herbie Hancock a GREAT MAN? Simply put, his music is capturing a universal life essence. We hear the “IT” factor – a musician that’s working in the sticky resin of humanity. Some people call it “funk,” because everything needs a category. But it’s deeper that that. His music is emanating from the epicenter of a great soul.
We’ll need more of this music in the future. Great civilizations are noted for their culture: art, music, architecture, etc. Money is not enough. The nation needs a noble art form…a spiritual force that ripples throughout the country.
Christopher Hitchens had a wonderful excerpt about killing one’s younger self. Hitchens talked about how he was a Marxist as a young man. However, as he grew older, he came to realize the foolishness of his early beliefs. Instead of clinging to a lie, he discarded the previous idea so that he could grow as an intellectual.
Most people undergo a similar transformation. At some point, they realize that their ideologies were naive. The healthy response is to shrug it off with a laugh: to file it away as a youthful indiscretion. And yet, some people are unable to do so. They cling to a previous illusion, unable to break free. They become like the prisoners in Plato’s cave…chained to the wall of ignorance.
One such example is love. Most people grow up with an idealism that’s been cemented in a thousand Peter Cetera songs: “I am a man that will fight for your honor….”. They daydream about a future that’s been molded by these romantic fantasies. And then when they turn 40, this dream is usually unfulfilled. They feel like a failure. Rather than analyze the previous position, they become bitter about the prize they never received. They hate men, they hate women, etc.
Invariably, they fail to realize something – their initial position was based upon a lie. Their was no grand Wizard of Oz; there was only a charlatan behind a curtain. Their future happiness depends on the acceptance of that fact.
The human existence is like that of snake. We have to continually to shed our skin in order to grow.
I’m voting for Thrust by Herbie Hancock. Simple, creative and a nice representation of his style. Herbie is flying over Machu Picchu in a spaceship, and the console of his machine is a keyboard. He gazes into the distance with a pensive look.
Artwork should be accessible to the masses. It should elevate the human spirit, providing a simple yet powerful message. It’s not about tricking the people with postmodern shapes. Rather, it’s about affirming a universal life essence. The album cover to Thrust meets that lofty requirement.
The music is wonderful also. Herbie was still firmly entrenched in his funk era. Some people prefer his jazz offerings, but the Major has always sided the more commercial side of Herbie Hancock.
P.T. Barnum is a popular name in American lore. But like so many historical figures, very little is known about him. The Art of Getting Money (1880) provides a nice glimpse into the man. It’s filled with philosophical quips and general advice – I highly recommend it.
Some of my favorite lines were the following.
“Young men starting in life should avoid running into debt. There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt. It is a slavish position to get ill…Debt robs a man of his self-respect, and makes him almost despise himself.”
“The safest plan, and the one most sure of success for the young man starting in life, is to select the vocation which is most congenial to his tastes.”
“The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick.”
As you can see, Barnum gives common sense advice. And let’s face it…the world needs more common sense. The book is perfect for young adults. The style is direct and engaging, giving sold advice to the emerging man (or woman).
I find that financial books are helpful in the general sense: i.e. Rich Dad, Poor Dad; The Millionaire Next Door, etc. They keep our mind focused on the attributes of wealth. Specific information is omitted, since the “nuts and bolts” of any industry come with experience and are varied. Therefore, the information remains on the surface for a logical reason.
That being said, it still helps to read the words of wise men. When trying to improve at something, we should listen to those that have experience in such matters. P.T. Barnum fits the bill with regards to wealth – his strategies are common sense tidbits and very important reminders.
I’m a little late to the party on this one. Several years ago, John Mayer and Katy Perry were the hot couple. They appeared on TV shows together and love was in the air. But like so many Hollywood romances, the relationship came crashing to the ground. Why the demise? Who really knows…perhaps they’re not even sure.
At any rate, the apex of this relationship was a video called “Who You Love”.
The premise of the video is that love is blind. This theme is reinforced by various couples riding on top of a horseback: we see people of different ethnicity and social class, furthering the point that love emanates from within.