Good Rockin’ Tonight

The Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial is over. Having not watched a moment of the trial nor read much of what it was all about in the first place, all I can say that it seems to have been a first-rate example of the he said/she said genre. Is that about it, those of you who might know more?

What comes across is that when two spoiled adults can tie up a courtroom for six weeks when other cases must have been delayed, something in our legal system stinks to high heaven (those last four words are my mother’s phrase). This was a circus consisting of wealthy monkeys being represented by hireling monkeys and taking up time that those same courts might have been spending on more worthy endeavors.

Six weeks. What an absolute shambles our courts can be.



The old saw that says all one has to do to make it rain is to wash one’s car was once again proven true this weekend. Robin is away, the weather promised was sunny (and of course, dry) so I began to refinish the backyard deck. I got four hours in before the first drops fell, and then came the thunder and the wind and an inch of rainfall.

It wouldn’t have been too remarkable except that we haven’t had that kind of rain for weeks, if not months. Ah well, what’s a delay in my little project? It’s all in a good cause, for certain. I don’t know if you are following the news about the big reservoirs out here in the West, but what I find intriguing is what things are being revealed by the shrinking water levels. The dead bodies, the sunken boats, the archaeologic ruins that had been covered by the water now breathing air once again. It’s too bad that Edward Abbey wasn’t still around to observe all of this. As a man who decried building the dams in the first place he might been elated, while hoping that the body in that barrel was a dam builder.

We’re in year 22 of a mega-drought here in the American west, and I do feel for the working people whose livelihoods are being impacted as the recreational opportunities afforded by those at Lake Powell and Lake Mead are becoming reduced. It’s the longest drought in 1200 years, the experts tell us. A statistic that makes the region #1 in a category no one wants to be in. The residents of places like Page AZ, located by the dam that creates Lake Powell, must be looking ahead and wondering … is this the time to pull up stakes?

As Bruce Springsteen said when he was singing about the troubled economy of New Jersey in the sixties, “Those jobs are going, boys, and they ain’t coming back.” This may also be true for the people whose economic lives depend on the dams on the Colorado River.

My Hometown, by Bruce Springsteen



A new Elvis Presley biopic is coming to town in June, one that shows promise, at least if the trailer represents the film. It stars someone unknown to me, and I think that’s a very good way to tell the story.

I’ve found that trying to explain to a younger person why I still have such affection for Elvis’ early music after more than sixty years is impossible. Back then it was like suddenly being given oxygen to breathe after (in my case) sixteen years of inhaling pure carbon dioxide. He was an explosion, his music like nothing a little white boy from Minnesota had ever heard.

And to make things even better, just mentioning his name in the presence of adults drove them crazy and sent them off into rants against rock and roll, “pelvic gyrations,” and teenaged sin of all types.

We of tender years heard their entreaties but thought that if Elvis was holding the door open to Hell he was also providing the most amazing soundtrack imaginable for our journey to that somber land.

I loved the whole chaotic mess of it. I waited for each new piece of music to be released, saving my money for those precious 45 rpm records to play on my low-fi (it would be many years before I could afford a hi-fi). I loved the panic in the eyes of the ministers, priests, and chiefs of police when Elvis came to Minneapolis and St. Paul for concerts in 1956. One after another these dignitaries appeared on local television, eyes dilated wide in horror as they described how we teenagers would be debauched by attendance at his concerts, and what sort of breakdown in society was surely to follow.

Speaking for myself, I could hardly wait to be debauched, and if Elvis was to be the instrument, I thought, let’s get on with it.

Something went out of his music when he went into the Army in 1958, and for the remainder of his professional life I had much less interest in what he did. From time to time I would see photos of him as an ill-appearing man encased in rhinestones and I felt only sorrow. This former dangerous person, this one-time threat to society, had come very low indeed.

But from 1956 to 1958, Elvis Presley was the pole star in my teenaged musical world. I cannot wait for the movie.


Good Rockin’ Tonight
Heartbreak Hotel
I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine
Mystery Train
Blue Moon
I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone
How’s the World Treating You?


These days my music system consists of an iPhone and a small portable Bose bluetooth speaker. I love it. At one time in the past I had assembled a rather elaborate stereo system consisting of Bose 901 speakers, a receiver that put out so many watts per channel that it produced brownouts in Omaha NE, and a Technics turntable with a tone arm that floated like a moth above my carefully cleaned and curated vinyl LPs. I loved that, too.

Oddly, I think that I prefer the more modest system today. Maybe that’s because it reminds me more of the record players that I used back in those days when I was truly bonding with music. And you can put the speaker on the roof of your car when you are washing it on a hot summer Saturday afternoon. Try that with any surround system you might name.


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