Friday, July 15, 2011



As a child watching re-runs of The Monkees on WKBD, the song that occasionally was played underneath the closing credits was my favorite song by the pre-manufactured band, meant to be a shadow of The Beatles.

In my mind, the argument over which was the ‘greatest generation’ between the boomers and their parents is to me similar to the LeBron v. Jordan argument. It isn’t like the boomers don’t have a lot of achievements to hang their hat on, and maybe, Tom Brokaw was a little presumptuous in the whole ‘Greatest’ thing (there is the whole discovery of fire; The Renaissance and maybe a couple of more eras worth mentioning), but when it comes to a one-on-one match-up in American history, you gotta give Gramps and Nana their due!

Anywho, the whole song all the way through its fade out had me riveted. Mickey Dolenz wailing at the end “Love is understanding, we gotta be free… we gotta be freeee..!” had me hooked! I am telling you, my heart STILL becomes full as my mind opens wide as it did when I was a boy, singing this song to myself pulling my newswagon full of ‘the nation’s largest evening paper’ from house to house in the 48235.

Repeating the lyrics underneath my breath (because I CAN NOT carry a tune!) and picturing the sky as a psychedelic strobe of a lava lamp, I’d float around until my reverie was broken by one of my pesty (cause they were intruding on my ‘private time’!) siblings. The song has always conveyed the full meaning of my yearnings and the sum of my expectations. And that hasn’t changed one bit.


For sure, the hip-hop legends Run-DMC were almost solely responsible for making rap music accessible and brought it from the urban disaspora and into ‘safe and stable homes’ of the white middle class. From Vanilla Ice to Eminem, to now this joint by Lil’ Wayne and Nicky Minaj.

One of the things that always got me about many rap/rock hybrids is the lack of sophistication in the songs, almost as if the foreign genre were an afterthought. Few songs that combined real rap and rock were as fused as the Biohazard/Onyx collaboration for the ‘Judgment Night’ soundtrack. Then you have what to me, is the best fusion, Public Enemy and Anthrax’s tidal wave of sound on cover of PE’s epic ‘Bring The Noise’.

I am not trying to be comprehensive, just saying that it was almost immediately after the ‘big bang’ and hip-hop crossed into mainstream that it ‘rocked’. What is surprising is that it has taken such a long time for anyone to see how the bridge exists between musical styles and that they are only separated by patriarchal attitudes. It isn’t that rap stars are ‘learning’ to rock as rap and rock have always gone together.

‘Rockbox’ is confident, stylish piece of hip-hop self-promotion that still has stood the test of time. Lil’ Wayne and Nikki Minaj have really taken a broad step stylistically, and I sort of wonder if the borders that existed when I was a teen is less ‘Berlin Wall’ and more European Union?


I recall posting about this song in an entry about my penchant for riding my bike for miles and miles, beyond the 8 Mile Road, talking about my favorite Harmony House store in Farmington. It was a strong memory… I don’t recall the comic books that I bought that day but I remember this song (and a couple of the others I got that day!) and how it has echoed throughout my love life. This song is what helped me keep patient and understand that it is acceptable to want ‘that someone who is that someone’ and never to actually win that person’s heart. I thought (think) the song dignifies the want for that love that you will never have, much like the way Forrest Gump’s affection for Jenny never was an direct insult (at least in the movie… never read the book) to him nor was he made to look foolish in front of the whole world, just for his Jenny.

Whenever I would say how it would be ‘fine’ if Nebraska and I were just friends, this is what played on the movie soundtrack for ‘The Nebraska Concept’. Before I got here I did not spend a lot of time talking about what I expected to happen between us when I got here, as I understood what my man Forrest couldn’t quite grasp about Jenny, that my wanting does not necessarily mean that I will be able to have what it is that I want.

Anywho, I want to thank Russ who mentioned how Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ became a personal theme song for him when it came out. It made me reflect on some of the music that would make up my life’s soundtrack as well as the one for the Nebraska Concept.


Went to ‘Jazz in the Park’ Thursday evening. I will never tire of talking about how impressed I am with Omaha, not only because it is a vibrant and attractive town, but because it has some weird demographics and I am hoping that they won’t tilt the wrong way. Nothing too bad but they are a little hard for me to fathom.

Getting back on topic, it was a warm but not oppressively so. Turner Park in the Midtown area is super well manicured (had to put ‘super’ in there because ALL of the parks I have seen in Omaha are well manicured!) and the crowd was well behaved. But what I did notice and have found unique to Omaha is how many couples go out. There are a few gaggles of women and packs of men that are out but most large gatherings I have been in town are about couples. Old, young, pretty, ugly, interracial (saw this Asian chick with a Latino cat… interesting combo, but only one of several I have found), and gay couples in several different flavors, to be sure this is a town full of pairs.

Yet I did not feel like I stood out as a soloist. The town feels so very accommodating and I nearly found myself nearly trying to defend Omaha when a local was making a comment about some of the ‘blahs’ of the area. One of the reasons that I didn’t was that it wasn’t a condemnation but more like a shrug, because the criticism did not rise to the level of being too disparaging. Anywho, I could not help but notice how ‘the blacks’ tended to come later into the concert and kept to the outer edges of the park. But there was a group of ‘Single Ladies’ and out of the group of 6, maybe 7 women, there were some solid ‘2nd & 3rd rounders’ and one who was… well, let’s see, I compared the early reports to the kind of things that was said about Aurburn’s Nick Fairley, the first choice of the Detroit Lions. Has all the tools and makes plays but occasionally takes plays off and doesn’t play with the discipline or high motor you would want from your stud player. In short, there was a lot of risk involved with going and chatting the pretty missy up to go along with the more nebulous ‘reward’.

Weighted down by all the free stuff I got from the sponsor’s and vendors of the series, I left after the intermission, enjoying the 15 minute or so walk from my apartment. It was warm and the sun was goldenrod as a warm breeze nudged me along. It was a good night…

… now Friday hasn’t been bad, either. Had to make my way to a couple of appointments and wait for the Fights on ESPN 2, a main event that was reminiscent of something that Gillette used to advertise on in the late 50’s, two hard working professional boxers, styles clashed and the both of them knew how to ‘behave like a fighter’. It was a well deserved draw, and hopefully they will rematch each other. Anywho, it is raining and I am a little tired… lights out!


Lovebabz said...

Love the way you weave a story of your life around music...hip-hop, sports---boxing. It took me a bit to really look between the lines and over the obvious things that could distract me about you, but they don't because well, I am highly intuitive.

I thought this post said a lot...

I too must retire for the night. It is glorious here, but I have an early appointment that will hopefully help me decide what to do next.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

I loved the Monkees. Funny, I don't remember that song at the end at all. Great lyrics. Have a good weekend friend!

* Ashleigh * said...

I like this song with Nicki and Lil Wayne. Not over the top for once and that's saying a lot from her!

Toon said...

Whatever generation got angry enough to demand the end of prohibition is the greatest generation in my book.

Thomas said...

I love the way you weave music into the fabric of your stories! Such an eclectic mix!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Sounds like it was a great event.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Omaha sounds like a nice town.

Love you, Mark. Take care.


jacked UP jazz said...

Uhhh huh, so what goes on in here. Last time I looked your blog was not up and now here it is and kinda crowded too.

Anyhoo, thanks for stopping by my place bruh, feel free to come by anytime. I appreciate the feedback.

I will try to hitcha back from time to time.

Have Myelin? said...

Oh I love, love the Monkees. And that's not past tense either. My dad, daughter, son, and various other family members went to see the Monkees (well, three of them) in Houston when they re-united. I couldn't believe I remembered all the lyrics! (hey that's quite a feat, given I'm deaf)

Everybody sing!

Here they come...
Walking down the street...

FrankandMary said...

You are not trying to be comprehensive, but you usually are pretty damn near.

Tired at the end, but it reads like a good tired. ~Mary

Beth said...

In this generation,
In this lovin' time,
In this generation,
We will make the world shine.

I always loved that song, too. Sadly, I don't think we're making the world shine at the moment. :(