Under Attack.

There’s a meme going around on Facebook where someone tags you and for the next 10 days you’re suppose to post an album cover without an explanation. The album is to depict your musical tastes and how you were influenced over the years. You’re then suppose to tag someone else and they do the same thing. I won’t do that part. I’m not really a fan of these types of memes, as they bring up the same angst I encountered when I would get a chain letter when I was a kid. Mean.

Nevertheless, last night I posted the album cover for “The Visitors”, by ABBA. While a little Frida heavy on the vocals for my taste (no offense to Frida or her fans), I have always enjoyed the move to more synthesizers with this album and the theatre style of some of the tracks presented. The title and opening track, “The Visitors” has musical complexities that I find quite delightful.

I listened to the album while working out this morning. Apparently the streaming services have added two tracks not originally found on the album, “The Day Before You Came” and “Under Attack”. These two tracks were to be part of the album that would come after “The Visitors”, but tired of their working conditions and the relationships of the group at the time, ABBA decided to abandon that album and release a two record “Greatest Hits” set instead. The two tracks were tacked onto the end and “Under Attack” was the last original single ever released by ABBA. It didn’t chart very much. At the end of the music video, the four members of the group are seen walking off the set, out of the video, and out of ABBA. A year or two later, Frida would come along with “I Know There’s Something Going On” and Agnetha would release “The Heat Is On” and “Can’t Shake Loose”. Benny and Björn would work on “Chess” and other esoteric musical adventures.

While it didn’t get the appreciation it deserved in 1982, I find “Under Attack” the be a very enjoyable track, especially when consumed through quality headphones. Like all ABBA tracks of the time, it’s rather synth heavy. The vocal layers on the chorus are amazing. As a musician it’s interesting for me to hear the individual vocal parts; they don’t exactly follow what I would call “standard music theory choral arrangements”. The magic of recording in a studio.

I’ll continue to do this meme if I remember but I’m not going to tag anyone. Like the end of the “Under Attack” music video, I’ll just walk away and out into the sunlight.

Standards.

Sometimes the toughest standard we live to is self imposed. That’s all I have today. Thank you for attending my TED talk.

Retro.

So we’ve been getting our money’s worth from Amazon Prime Video during this lockdown. After watching reruns of “That Girl” over the winter, “The Mothers In Law” was in our suggestion pile so we gave it a whirl.

Before we started watching the show I didn’t remember a lot about it. Every once in a great while my husband and I would be reminiscing about old television shows and he’d bark out “Kaye Ballard!” and then “The Mothers-In-Law!”. I don’t remember watching the show as a kid but I sort of remembered Kaye Ballard, mostly from mentions Rosie O’Donnell made during her talk show way back when.

The first couple episodes of the first season are a little rough to watch. I think it has to be the first series outside of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” where (almost) all of the lead characters used their real first names. Kaye and Roger live next door to Eve and Herb. Their kids fall in love and get married, and the in-laws don’t really get along but they really do and they get into all sorts of whacky situations.

I remarked the other night in my blog entry writing spree that Kaye Ballard chews up the scenery in this series but the truth of the matter is that’s just Kaye Ballard. And I’m enjoy her performance. Kaye Ballard and Eve Arden are a lot like Lucy and Ethel and ahead of the curve in a little bit Laverne and Shirley. “The Mothers In Law” was produced by Desi Arnaz. He directed quite a few of episodes, and Desi Arnaz, Jr. appeared in an episode tonight. He played a drummer of a band in a club run by Rob Reiner (without his mustache). There were a couple of seemingly ad libbed lines. I’m now enjoying watching the show very much and I’m interested to see how the dynamic changes when we get to season 2 when Roger C. Carmel (Harry Mudd from Star Trek) is replaced by Richard Deacon (who appeared in everything in the 60s and 70s).

I read somewhere online that during this pandemic people are looking for “familiar” entertainment. Well, we’re going retro with our entertainment and enjoying “The Mothers In Law”.

Fever Dreams.

I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately, but when I do my brain does its usual thing and throws a bunch of lucid dreams. Once in a while I can figure out, while still asleep and dreaming, that I’m asleep and do some fantastic things I can’t do in the real world, but more often than not the subconscious is in control and I just go along for the ride.

Last night I had this really weird dream about working for the Trump administration. It was like anything I had heard or read about him was wrong and while he was basically bombastic and loud he was also misunderstood and portrayed as something he is not by the media.

My analytical self goes into overdrive with these types of dreams so I’m trying to figure out what my subconscious is telling me. Are angels trying to guide me to be less judgmental? Is the universe telling me to chill out on the news consumption?

It was then I realized I had eaten a snack right before bed and it was probably just gas.

Looking Glass.

Welcome to Hawaii. Here’s your ankle monitor: Stronger policies to track tourists eyed.

I guess I didn’t realize folks traveling to Hawaii were being put into quarantine upon arrival. Apparently there’s talk of putting ankle bracelets on arriving tourists to track their movements to make sure they’re adhering to the quarantine.

My biggest question is, who is traveling to Hawaii during this pandemic? I am concerned about privacy rights and the constitutionality of this tracking practice, but still, who is traveling to Hawaii during this pandemic?

We live in crazy times.

Vibes.

More and more displays of inspiration like these are appearing in windows throughout the neighborhood. When I’m walking first thing in the morning and the world feels off (because let’s face it, the world is ‘off’ right now), these messages bring a smile to my face.

I appreciate these efforts. I believe they’re important for our mental health. And I’d like to thank everyone that is taking the time to send out positive vibes.

Funk.

I remember loving this song in the early 1980s but thinking folks would think I was gay if they knew I liked this music. Irrational thoughts at age 15, I guess.

From 1983 here’s “The S.O.S. Band” with “Just Be Good To Me”.

Trip The Moment Fantastic.

Last July my husband and I were sitting along side a beautiful pool in a gay resort in Palm Springs, California. We were relaxing and on a quick getaway from life. My husband had given his all to his career for decades and was able to retire at a fairly young age; I took up the mantle and continued the whole “power gay couple” vibe and continue to do so today, with a sprinkling of vacation time here and there.

We didn’t know anyone around us at the beautiful gay resort. It was gorgeous and so were most of the men in the pool. Conversation flowed freely. Some were clothed, some were not. I was drinking early in the day. I was intent on exploring new facets of my personality. INFJ is a result, not a label. Let’s explore what it really means. I do this from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with new discoveries. Push your boundaries! There’s a place to do it and a place to refrain.

As naked and barely clothed men swam in the pool, as the club music quietly presented itself from the pool side speakers, as we mused about our current affairs and where we are in this life, I suddenly bolted up from my lounge chair and made a declaration to my husband.

I’m going to write my autobiography and it will be called “Trip The Moment Fantastic”! The exclamation points were in my voice.

He asked, “What does that mean”?

I replied, “I have absolutely no idea but at this moment in time it makes perfect sense to me.”

I will turn 52 years old here in this mess we call 2020. I’ve had a couple of successful careers during my lifetime and if I must say so I’ve done some pretty awesome things. When it comes down to the lowest common denominator, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. Nothing. As Sandy Duncan, while in her 40s, once said, “I’ve done some great things in my life. The rest of it is gravy”.

I like this gravy!

When I declared the title of my unwritten biography in my head I was in an altered state. As I write this right now my head is in a similarity constructed altered state. COVID-19, coronavirus, meteors, and all the other ills of the world: the fact of the matter is, I’m sitting in a beautiful condo on the north side of the third largest city in the United States. We moved here from a very red part of the country some folks call a “snowy Alabama”. The root of my upbringing is “Thank god I’m a country boy!”, my head is a middle of the road politico, not too liberal and not too conservative, and my heart is where I am right now: if someone gave me a test I’d be on something other than a rainbow spectrum, I love technology, people make me crazy, and I really want to fly an airplane. And I am hopelessly in love with my husband, so thankful for our chosen family, and grateful for my upbringing, my family, and my bloody relations.

If I sat down and wrote “Trip The Moment Fantastic” I’m certain no one would read it. While my life has been quite wonderful, I would have no dreams of it becoming Kardashian worthy. My life has been perfect for me but no chapter would make “Hard Copy”. So I write in a private journal, password protected from prying eyes, and no pieces will be shared until I’ve moved to whatever comes next. My husband knows how to share my musings after I’m long gone.

But the title rings beautifully for me. “Trip The Moment Fantastic”. Such beautiful words. Like the screen name “Machias”, which still rings as spectacularly as it did for me in 1990, “Trip The Moment Fantastic” rings as a reminder to me: enjoy the moment. It likes a loud, golden bell, ringing louder than anything Jaye P. Morgan smacked on a game show.

Enjoy life. Be Free. No one else has your point of view, make the absolutely best of it.

I want my gravy to be awesome.

Jealousy.

One of the main themes from the 1960s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie” is Jeannie was a jealous wisp of smoke that could never really have her “master” the way she wanted her master. At least not until the ratings push for the fifth season rolled around. Astronaut Major Anthony Nelson would occasionally date other women, even though Jeannie lived in his house in a bottle on the hutch in the Kravitz’s living room, and this would make Jeannie jealous. She’d then blink and with a jump cut and a sound effect the object of her jealousy would become a porcelain statue or a dog or something. Boing plink, I’m jealous.

I’ve been married (in the relationship sense) for nearly 24 years. You know where jealousy comes from? From within. It’s a signal of a lack of self-confidence. No one can make you jealous. Jealous is your own thing. You’re feeling inadequate. You’re feeling insecure.

People have asked me how my husband and I have managed to stay together for nearly 24 years. Well, I’m going to share a secret with you. Back in 1996 when we decided we wanted to spend our lives together we decided the only exit plan was death. There were no other options. Divorce? Not an option. Separation? Not an option. Murder? Under extreme circumstances.

I find many men attractive. I find some women attractive too and quite frankly since 24 years ago we established “death” as the only exit plan for our relationship, I don’t hesitate to tell my husband if I find a guy cute. Years ago we were walking together in Crossgates Mall in Albany, N.Y. and apparently a man was eyeballing me on the escalator.

OK, let’s step out of the blog entry for a moment. I’m going to tell you something about me. I have never been able to pick up on these “clues”. I never know when someone is flirty. I never know when someone finds me attractive. I have no idea what the homosexual signals are for “let’s have sex!” in a Thruway Service Area.

I. Am. Clueless.

My husband has a keen sense of who is scoping out whom and he knows who’s having sex in the mall bathroom. He just knows. Even though I’m eight years younger than him and I came out of the closet years before he did, he knows who’s shagging whom in the stall number three and I’m just there to pee and wash my hands.

So we were on the escalator in Crossgates Mall in Albany, N.Y. near a department store called Cohoes and apparently this guy was checking me out. I didn’t have a clue but Earl, being the card carrying homosexual that he is, did have a clue and he whispered in my ear, “that guy is checking you out.”

Had it not been 1999 with dial up access there probably would have been a meme with two girls and a guy (no pizza place) on a street.

This type of scenario does not happen in our relationship because death is the only exit. Do not take the elevator, the building is not on fire, no one is leaving the auditorium.

Honestly, if everyone conducted their marital affairs the way we did, NBC afternoons would have never been populated by “The Doctors” and the other soap operas of the 1970s. Where would Mac and Rachel be? Would Iris be mean enough to spring herself into her own soap opera named “Texas”?

See, you really didn’t know that I was gay enough to know these things about NBC soap operas but it’s not a gay thing as much as it’s a freak thing.

So, when I find a guy attractive my husband is fully aware of it and there’s no harm done. When he finds a guy attractive I am really into it and there’s no harm done. What the secret to a successful marriage? Be confident in who you are, lay down some ground rules, and be yourself.

Just because you’re chained to the fence doesn’t mean you can’t bark at the cars.

I wonder what the American marriage success rate would look like if people were confident in themselves and their relationships. How much happier would society be if people just accepted the fact that human beings are like every other animal on the planet and will always admire the beauty around them.

I’m musing about this because last night we watched a first season episode of “Bewitched”. If you’ve never watched it in its original black and white glory you should do so. “Bewitched” was a much more adult show in its first season and we enjoyed an episode where Larry Tate ogled women and suspected Darrin of having an affair with a brunette woman that resembled Samantha’s cousin Serena (who wouldn’t make appearance until much later in the series). At one point Larry Tate thinks Darrin is having an affair with his wife Louise (played by the much better cast Irene Vernon).

Speaking of “Bewitched”, why weren’t people upset about the fact that Maurice and Endora had an open relationship? I think I’ll save that dialog for another blog entry.

The bottom line of this rounds of musings is this, be yourself and allow your spouse or significant other to do the same. Love is the strongest bond in the universe. Allow it to stand on its own and put all of your confidence in that bond. Have confidence in yourself and have confidence in your relationship.

Leave the drama for the soap operas.