Lockdown Journal: 4-1-20

I guess it’s time to face the fact that this site is going to pretty much be a quarantine journal for the foreseeable future.  As much as I would like to write about other things, everything is dominated by COVID-19 right now.  I remember that, for years after 9-11, it was rare that anything happened that was not, in some way, compared to that terrible day in September.  It will probably be the same with COVID-19.

I feel like I aged several years over the month of March.  April probably won’t be much better.  By the time this is over, I’ll probably feel like I’m old enough to start collection social security.

It’s going to be tough.  There’s no point in pretending otherwise.  I’m lucky enough to be sheltering-in-place with people who I love but I have family all over this country and I worry every day about them.  I’m hoping that being able to write out my thoughts here online will help.  I realize that these thoughts will probably only be read by a handful of people but that’s not a problem.  Right now, I don’t need a big audience.  I just need a place to vent.

Finally, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne died today from the COVID-19.  Among the songs he wrote was the title song for That Thing You Do, which I still consider to be one of the best rock and roll films of the 90s.  Today, let’s end things with a little music:

Neil Peart, R.I.P.

I was sorry, today, to learn of the death of Rush’s drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart.  I had heard that he was sick but it was still a shock to learn that he had passed away on January 7th.

I would be lying if I said I was a huge Rush fan, though I appreciated the fact that they were, from a political and philosophical standpoint, more interesting than many of the other bands of their era.  However, when I was in college, my best friend Jay absolutely loved Rush.  I spent the entire summer of 2003 hanging out at Jay’s house and, whenever I hear anything by Rush, my mind immediately flashes back to those days.  Rush provided the soundtrack for one of the best summers of my life and for that I’m thankful.

Neil Peart, R.I.P.

The Immortal Voice of Janis Joplin

49 years ago today, the world lost Janis Joplin.  Here’s just a little from Janis:

In the mid-90s, they actually started to use Mercedes Benz in car commercials!  Of course, the whole point of the song was that it was a waste of time to worry about whether or not you owned Mercedes Benz or whether your friends all drive Porches, just as it was foolish to ask the Lord to buy you “a color TV” or “a night on the town.”  The song was sung from the point of view of someone who had been brainwashed by commercials and didn’t realize that there was more to life than possessions.  For the commercials, they only used the opening and the final stanza of the song and they edited out everything else, turning the song into an ode to the joy of car ownership.

Though Joplin died of a heroin overdose in 1970, she has continued to inspire the singers who have come after her.  She may be gone but her voice is immortal.

Just because it exists, let’s watch William Shatner interpret Rocket Man

This is from the 5th Annual Saturn Awards, which were televised on January 14th, 1978.  Was William Shatner having a laugh here or was he actually being serious?  Shatner really didn’t start to actively parody his image until the late 80s so there’s a good chance that this is for real.

Jay Inslee’s Out. Joe Walsh Might Be In.

Up until a few minutes ago, I had totally missed that Jay Inslee ended his presidential campaign yesterday.  Of course, most people missed that he had even started a presidential campaign in the first place so I guess it all evens out.

I’m actually surprised Inslee didn’t last longer.  Inslee’s entire campaign was centered on climate change, which is the sexy issue for rich political activists right now.  Inslee even received the Bill Nye endorsement, which had to have carried some weight with the large number of people who believe that being the science guy is the same thing as being scientist.

On Monday night, Inslee’s campaign was still soliciting donations and trying to qualify for the third debate.  But, on Wednesday, Inslee announced he was withdrawing and instead running for a third term as governor of Washington.  I wonder if Inslee would have still withdrawn if Tom Steyer, who has a similar message and a personal fortune to spend, hadn’t gotten into the race.

With Inslee gone, we are now down to 22 major Democratic candidates.  Meanwhile, over on the Republican side, former Congressman Joe Walsh is talking about challenging Trump in the primaries.  Walsh was previously known for being one of the most corrupt and bigoted members of the U.S. House but he’s figured out that the easiest way to redeem your image in 2019 is to loudly denounce Donald Trump.  Bill Kristol, who really should know better, has even said a positive word or two about Walsh’s potential candidacy.

(Back in the day, Walsh was an even more enthusiastic birther than Trump.)

If he does run, Joe Walsh would actually be the second Joe Walsh to run for President.  The legendary guitarist for The James Gang and the Eagles ran for President in 1980.  His slogan was Free Gas For Everyone.  He didn’t win but his campaign still inspired more good music than John Anderson’s.