Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Music is the best medicine

Spent much of last week in the hospital.

But it's all right now. New meds didn't take. Needed a rest.  Needed time to try something else.

As usual, music has proven to be the best medicine in the aftermath.

John Denver is "Looking For Space." Elvis Presley asks "Let Me Be There." Kenny Rogers is seeking "Love or Something Like It." Francis Albert, as always, is doing it his way.

I try to listen to Jonathan Schwartz as much as I can. His daily program on Sirius/XM's '40s on 4 is worth the subscription price alone. I especially enjoy "The Sunday Show," easing onto the couch and scanning the newspapers while Schwartz spins Sinatra, Ella, The Velvet Fog and Nat Cole. 

I guess I'm a member of the last generation that remembers disc jockeys as personalities. Back before the corporate takeovers. Jonathan and I have corresponded a few times via email, but have never met. And yet he feels like an old friend. His voice, comfortable and calm, has broadened my musical horizons, made me feel a little less alone on rainy days.

I often feel like a person born out of my time, adrift in the early years of a century I don't much like. I'm not a voyeur. I couldn't care less about "The Real Housewives" of whatever county or "Honey Boo Boo" or those morons that are in desperate need of a bath and a shave. (Take your pick.)

I think the civil war in Syria and the NSA leaks constitute real news, not Kim Kardashian's baby and Amanda Bynes' latest antics. (I've yet to figure out just exactly who the hell she is, by the way.)

If classless schmucks like Kanye West and Justin Bieber are the soundtracks of the moment, I want my money back.

As for me, I'll prop back in the recliner, Dorsey and Sinatra on the turntable, or Elvis on the iPod, or maybe even The Band on the 8-track. That's my music. That is the soundtrack of my life.

Country music isn't being made by all these models who need autotune to stay on pitch. It was defined by George Jones and Hank Williams Sr. and The Hag and Jimmie Rodgers. You can have your two-bit toads in cowboy hats. As for me, like the soda commercial once said, "You can't beat the real thing."

Television is by and large a cultural wasteland, exceptions provided to a few shows on PBS, "60 Minutes" and "The Big Bang Theory." You know what airs in the time slot once held by "M*A*S*H" Monday nights at 9 on CBS? A worse-than-a-bad-joke miserable excuse for a sitcom called "Two Broke Girls." Even the Science Channel is now airing shows about aliens.

You can't make this stuff up.

And don't even get me started on movies. Everything has to be two hours of CGI explosions. That's one reason why I can't wait to see "Before Midnight." I hear this new "Superman" is so bad it makes "Captain Nice" look like a bona fide sequel.

At least I have modern medicine, the Internet, interstates and the local library. I have DVDs and YouTube, radio reminders and what's left of my memory.

And, when the Black Dog barks the loudest, I can slip on an LP, or flip on the Sirius/XM, or turn on the iPod and seek solace in the sweet sounds of song.

It's cheaper than a Hawaiian vacation and more effective than even the best antidepressant. 


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