Mr. Rogers on silence

I don’t think we give that gift anymore (the gift of silence). I’m very concerned that our society is much more interested in information than wonder. In noise, rather than silence…how do we encourage reflection? Oh my, this is a noisy world.

Fred Rogers

The Origins of Totalitarianism

The Origins of Totalitarianism
author: Hannah Arendt
name: Matthew
average rating: 4.26
book published: 1951
rating: 0
read at: 2018/05/16
date added: 2018/05/16

Though it reads like the driest of textbooks, Hannah Arendt’s exploration of the philosophy, the psychology, and the rise of totalitarianism in the early 20th century is a fascinating tome. Arendt weaves an exhaustive history of antisemitism dating back to the Middle Ages with the evolution of European nation states through the renaissance and modern eras to paint a complete picture of the worldview and political environments that allowed Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin to not only rise to power, but seize complete control over the hearts and minds of their respective populations. Arendt ends her book with cautionary words that ring ever more prescient in the 21st century “post-fact” era.

The Origins of Totalitarianism is available on Amazon.com (affiliate link)

Chnlsurf

300 channels and nothing on.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself

Living the dream, indeed!

Since I was a kid–whether it was the influence of TV shows like “CHiP’s” and Saved By The Bell, Silicon Valley’s tech scene, or bands like The Beach Boys and nearly every 3rd-wave ska group from Orange County–I’ve had a romantic infatuation with the Golden State. Apparently, I’m not alone. In fact, since the 1850s, Americans (and foreigners, alike) have looked at the West Coast with a pioneer spirit. After visiting Los Angeles for the first time in 2008, I made it my mission to eventually move here. For me, “Go west, young man, and seek your fortune” was more than a historical metaphor, it was an imperative–a directive. This classic by The Mamas and The Papas (and covered innumerable times since its original recording) serves as a metaphor for my own young adult life: The literal grey skies and the brown leaves of a Georgia winter or the more metaphorical condition of my life in my mid-20s.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 29: A song you remember from your childhood

The de facto theme song of one of the most influential films of my childhood.

I think every member of the VHS generation has that one video that they watched over and over. For my sister, it was Forrest Gump (yes, I could probably recite the entire film from memory, thanks, Sis!). For me, though, it was Zemeckis’s 1985 masterpiece, Back To The Future with Huey Lewis’s synthesizer-charged soundtrack that defined my idea of what rock and roll should be!

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 28: A song by an artist whose voice you love

I don’t care what you say about them being a relic from the late 90s/early 2000s, Amy Lee has got some pipes!

All this track really needs is a full orchestra backing.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 27: A song that breaks your heart

Life is short. Childhood is shorter. Spend it well.

My early childhood, like so many of my contemporaries, was one spent often in the care of grandparents while my parents both worked to maintain the household. My dad, especially, often worked 2-3 factory-type jobs to help make ends meet. His grueling work schedule, mostly overnights, meant that I really only saw him awake on weekends–those precious couple of days where we would drive into Marietta to pick up his paycheque and have lunch at Taco Bell still stand out as defining moments of my young life at the time.

This song is difficult to listen to for me even today as I find so much of my own life in the lyrics. While my dad wasn’t a traveling musician with “planes to catch”, there were many “bills to pay” and working overnights in a plastics factory was one of the best unskilled occupations in the Atlanta area in the 80s. In the 90s, it was fueling diesel trucks supplementing 24-hour shifts on an ambulance supplementing 24-hour shifts at the fire department. Sometimes I wouldn’t see my dad for days at a time while he worked consecutive jobs. I don’t blame him for this work; our lives–like so many others during that era–were financed through debt. I made the most of it, though, and my friends will oft remember so many afternoons and overnights at “The Yellow House”. When my domestic family fell apart in the 90s (brought on by many factors, but mostly by financial disputes, I’m certain), my friends were there to fill in the gaps. My dad and I had many falling-outs in my later teen years, and just before moving to college, I quietly moved out of the house and didn’t talk to him for months.

We have since, of course, reconciled. Today, those days are long passed and we enjoy a healthy relationship. Dad is nearing retirement (something I’m not sure how he’ll deal with, honestly, as he still manages to work 2 jobs, though he does take more holidays), and I live on the other side of the continent, but we do manage to keep in touch and visit about once a year. That bittersweet ending to the song punctuating a story that continues to this day.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 26: A song that makes you want to fall in love

More 80s cheese, please.

If that R&B groove of Daryl Hall and John Oates doesn’t make you want to VHS and make out, I don’t know what would.

Bonus, the “definitive” music video version:

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 25: A song you like by an artist no longer living

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called “life”….

Every lyric reads like an instruction manual. Dig it deep, you hoopy froods!

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 24: A song by a band you wish were still together

Heart times soul equals rock and roll.

It’s probably a bit of a cop-out considering Polaris didn’t “really” exist. The band, formed by Miracle Legion’s Mark Mulcahy, Dave McCaffrery, and Scott Boutier, only existed in the context of Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Polaris finally stepped out of the TV set and onto the stage in 2012, leading up to a 2014-15 US tour and a couple of new records. As of this writing, the band has once again separated to concentrate on their own solo careers, but one can hope that–eventually–we’ll get a moment to catch another glimpse into that rock and roll world of Wellsville, USA in our favorite club venue.

Adventitious Geekery and other distractions created or curated by Matthew "Atari" Eargle