Okay, we never made it to the final stop on our itinerary. But we could have.
Before I get to what-all we did do today, a bizarre coincidental moment from the previous day's social media-tion.
The liturgy of Eleanor's Buddhist group, known as the Gongyo, consists of two parts: a chanting, at beginning and end and part of middle, of the practice's six-syllable mantra; and what are, essentially, two Readings of the Epistles, if you will, of excerpts from the Lotus Sutra writings. They are chanted in Japanese and run about ten minutes unless you're speeding through them, as I've heard adherents do.
I respect them. I occasionally join in them. But I have my own influences, and, unfortunately, earworms, and when Eleanor starts on the Lotus Sutra portions of the liturgy, their speed and linguistic variation bring, unfortunately, one thing to mind.
Remember "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel? It's at that kind of tempo, and has about that range of pitch in it. But it's what is generically known as a "patter song." Perhaps the most famous of those is Gilbert and Sullivan's "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" (and any number of parodies of it I've either heard or, yes, written over the years), but there's a worse one.
It's from the early 1970s, when my musical taste had been broken by the breakup of the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel and had yet to discover anything good to replace them. When I listened religiously to top-40 radio and could recite lyrics to songs I would be embarrassed to admit even having heard. Still can, many of them. One of the worst of them was a patter song which just rattled off the names of artists, singles and other pop culture references. It was called "Life is a Rock" by an apparently nonexistent one-hit-wonder band named Reunion. Would you like to hear it?
Boy are YOU sick.
So this thing gets back into my frontal lobe at least twice a week when I hear my beloved chanting. To distract from that, I had to come up with a therapeutic filk of it. I haven't managed the full patter song yet, but I did manage to write a chorus to remind me of the good old, bad old days when the worst thing the Republicans did was old-fashioned war-profiteering:
♫Life is Iraq, but the WMDs fooled me,
Gotta turn up those profits, Haliburton told me
::whoa whoa whoa-whhoaaa::
Life is Iraq but the WMDs fooled me,
At the end of the rainbow
There's Rumsfeld and Cheney!♫
I duly posted that on the Face Thing, and it got a few positive comments- and an absolute knockout of a surprise.
I've mentioned here my one remaining connection to my high school's faculty. He was an inspiration to me while in those grades, for both teaching physics and advising our science magazine, and I later found how much he'd inspired other classmates of mine even more.
He saw my post. He liked it. And he also told me something I still have trouble believing: his wife's brother is the guy who recorded the original version of the song.
Somewhere over the years, I'd heard of him. That his name is Joey Levine, and that he was one of the dozens of unheralded session musicians in the LA of the 60s and 70s who lent their voices and instruments, usually anonymously, to so many of the hits we remember from then and still know today. Others have gotten their fame in hindsight- in documentaries like The Wrecking Crew! and Twenty Feet from Stardom. I knew Joey Levine had made such contributions to 60s bubblegum bands (with song titles so infectious that the CDC bars me from even naming them) and, yes, that he was the vocalist on "Life Is a Rock."
I just had no clue that he was Pistol Pete's brother-in-law.
I have no idea what I'm going to do with this information. Maybe book a concert for him. I'm getting good at that, as you know.
Anyway, that was the news I awoke to. Perhaps because it was so strange, I made all my tight connections of a full, rich Sunday.
The dog park was much warmer and busy than last week's freezing rain-o-rama. We met some new furry friends and enjoyed the clearer views. I then dropped Ebony at home (Eleanor had gone off to chant) and got to my 10 a.m. workout on time- only to find out they were running a little behind in the schedule and that I wouldn't be able to sneak out early. Now and again, they schedule a "partner workout," where you're randomly assigned another class member to alternate between (usually) rowing and (usually) some other kind of exercise for a specified interval at the end of the hour. So I sucked it up and got to My Old Church a good 15 minutes late....
but just in time to the point in the service when I could announce the interfaith prayer service that Eleanor's group was participating in this afternoon. It was great to see our old minister, hear a talented young violinist, and hold out a little hope for this bunch.
That got me home just long enough to slog down a lunch and drive Eleanor over to see Allegiance, the in-cinema broadcast of the George Takei-inspired musical about the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. It was awesome. The two timeliest musical numbers: "Gaman" (Japanese for Carry On), and, of course, "Resist." Most musicals, by the time I finally see them, I know their soundtrack by heart already. This one, I didn't, and thus the goosebumps.
I kept an eye on my phone clock to be sure we'd have time to get to the prayer service, but Eleanor preferred to finish the performance, and after its intensity we needed to just get home and process. Which we have. Hopefully I inspired one or two others to be there.
Tonight will likely be an early evening, and we both work tomorrow, but neither especially early. Maybe I'll hear about even stranger in-laws that you have before we go in.