Friday, July 24, 2020

Where I’m going, Part Two.

    As is the case with many places I want to go, I have almost been to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.
    We have driven Highway 550 through northern New Mexico, which passes to the east of Chaco Canyon. Likewise, we have been to Shiprock and other points to the north. And we have been (and will go again) to Canyon de Chelly, which lies to the west, in Arizona.
    But, despite wanting to, the time has never been right to venture out into the New Mexico desert to visit one of the most remarkable places anywhere. Over a period of some 150 years or more, Ancestral Puebloans built up numerous complex structures from sandstone blocks and timber. Some of the buildings contained hundreds of rooms, and were not equaled in size or scale on this continent for centuries. Many of the structures in Chaco Canyon were built in alignment with solstices and equinoxes and other orientations of the sun and moon, as well as with distant landmarks.
    Historians and archaeologists believe lengthy drought and, perhaps, warfare, led to the abandonment of Chaco Canyon. But no matter why they left, the people of Chaco Canyon left behind a place like no other.
    I would love to see it.
    And I will.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Me and Tex.

A long time ago, when I was going to college and for a while afterward, I worked at a radio station. I was the morning disc jockey and I played country music.

“Pop” country was all the rage at the time, so I spun a lot of songs by singers like Olivia Newton-John, Charlie Rich, Donna Fargo, John Denver, and so on. But I also played a lot of what we called “pure” country, as well as oldies. Now and then, I would slip in an old cowboy song.

Hang on for a little explanation for the younger set.

Most of the music we played was on “records” called “singles”; vinyl discs that were about seven inches across with a big hole in the middle, with one song on each side, that played on a turntable at 45 revolutions per minute. Sometimes we would play album cuts, from discs that were about twelve inches across, with a little hole in the middle, containing several songs, that played at 33 revolutions per minute.

You can imagine the bizarre sound if you played a record at the wrong speed, say a 45 rpm record at 33 rpm, which could and did happen on occasion.

Back to the story.

Sometimes, just for fun, I would play an old Tex Ritter song titled “Blood in the Saddle.” I liked playing it because, inevitably, someone—or several someones—would call the idiot at the radio station and tell him he was playing the record at the wrong speed.

If you’re not familiar with Tex Ritter’s “Blood in the Saddle” give it a listen (the link will take you to it).

And, no, it is not playing at the wrong speed. Not then. Not now.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Happy Independence Day!

No, my calendar is not out of whack. Today, July 2, is the day in 1776 the Continental Congress declared independence from Great Britain. John Adams, a leader of the revolution who would become the second president of the new nation, said this in a letter to his wife, Abigail:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

But, alas, despite Adams’s prediction, the official celebration is on July 4, the day the congress ratified the language of the Declaration of Independence. They did not get around to signing it until August 2, so an argument can be made that we should be popping off fireworks and holding parades on that day.
Me, I’m sticking with July 2 and am flying the flag today.