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Sounds To Distract Me

I’ve been trying to drown out the Trump* in my life, but it’s not easy. Especially with my addiction to “the news.”

(I do LOVE the sound of indictments!)

But occasionally I must turn off MSNBC/CNN/FauxNews/Thom Hartmann/Sirius POTUS/etc. and find better sounds.

Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately:

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NOT DARK YET by Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

I’m currently obsessed with NOT DARK YET, the title song of sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer’s new album. It’s a Bob Dylan cover, from his 1997 TIME OUT OF MIND album. Until now, I never realized what a great song it is. (Bob’s singing didn’t exactly bring out the melody. He can no longer really do justice to his own songs.)

But the version by Shelby and Allison is simply haunting. And the song is as good as any Dylan ever wrote:

“Shadows are fallin' and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep and time is runnin' away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
There's not even room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there's been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writin' what was in her mind
I just don't see why I should even care
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

Well, I've been to London and I been to gay Paris
I've followed the river and I got to the sea
I've been down on the bottom of the world full of lies
I ain't lookin' for nothin' in anyone's eyes
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

I was born here and I'll die here against my will
I know it looks like I'm movin' but I'm standin' still
Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb
I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don't even hear the murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.”


The TG and I had tickets to see Shelby and Allison at the Largo at the Coronet, an interesting performance space in Hollywood. (It’s where Bertholt Brecht’s English version of his LIFE OF GALILEO was premiered in 1947, with Charles Laughton in the title role.) But the she was under the weather, and there was a Dodger game on TV, so I gave the tickets to my daughter The Flower, who very much liked the show.

(The rest of the NOT DARK ALBUM album is very good, too: a moody mix of country, rock, pop, and “Americana” covers: Townes van Zandt, Merle Haggard, Nirvana, Jason Isbell, etc. With a tasteful back-up band including Benmont Tench and Doug Pettibone.
And Shelby and Allison sounding like “the Everly Sisters.”)


The studio version of NOT DARK YET – the one I can’t stop listening to

Shelby and Allison – NOT DARK YET – live from the Country Hall of Fame, 9/15/17 – pure magic

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer – NOT DARK YET (Live from Electric Lady Studios)

His Bobness singing NOT DARK YET (live, from 1999)

and for old times’ sake, young Shelby’s knockout HOLD ME, THRILL ME, KISS ME

Shelby Lynne – GOTTA GET BACK – from 2008

Shelby Lynne – YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME – live from 2008 – from her Dusty Springfield tribute period

Young Shelby singing WHEN SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY BABY (live)

Young Shelby singing NIGHT LIFE (live)

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Vicarious Italy

Several lucky friends of mine were in Italy lately, and I’ve gone to Italy with them – vicariously.

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As I’ve followed their travels through FB and e-mails, I’ve also dug deep into my collection of art and travel books.

Physically I haven’t been to Italy in many years, but I can go there anytime I want with my books, some old photographs, a few websites, my CDs, and a little imagination.

Anything to get me out of Trump’s America – if only temporarily.

I have my favorite memories of Italy –

… wandering around Venice at night with the Tiny Goddess and no destination … visiting my daughter in Florence when she spent a semester there … two visits to Giotto’s Arena Chapel in Padua … Midnight Mass at the Duomo … a walk around Florence on Christmas Day when everything was closed … a stay at the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como when the TG and I were very young  … “AIDA” at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome … the Fra Angelicos in San Marco in Florence … the Sistine Chapel with small binoculars … the Tintorettos in San Rocco in Venice … a few fine meals with my family … a room with a view on the Arno.

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Italy: it has the food, the people, the scenery, the music, and the art.

As Erica Jong said, "Whenever I go anywhere but Italy for a vacation, I always feel vaguely disappointed, as if I have made a mistake."

She might have a good point.

Here are some instant Italian vacations:

Maria Callas sings “Vissi D’Arte” from TOSCA (1964, Covent Garden) – very late for Callas, but still….

Renata Tebaldi sings “Un Bel Di” from MADAME BUTTERFLY (live)

Franco Corelli sings “Nessun Dorma” from TURANDOT (lip-syncing)

Website for Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel

The Official UFIZZI Site

The Official PITTI PALACE Site

VENICE IN 3-D – a two-minute tour, thanks to Google

Venice by Night and Gondola ride – a nice, short clip

A good, one hour documentary about Venice and its islands

How Venice Works

A walking tour of Florence

Florence in 4K

The MOTHERLODE – 1.8 million images from the world’s great museums

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Good Things Vs. Bad Things


“Between extremities
Man runs his course”


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This certainly is a time of extremities. So many bad things are happening, and they’re coming in bunches. All these super-storms came and went, leaving wrecked landscapes in Florida, Texas, the Caribbean, and especially Puerto Rico.

And now the horror of Las Vegas.

And Tom Petty, too.

It’s hard to keep up with each day’s new tragedy.

I used to spend time in Puerto Rico in the ‘70s when my sister-in-law lived in San Juan, and I have nothing but good feelings and memories for that island (except for the time I almost drowned in a nasty riptide off Palmas del Mar.) And now to see the pictures of this ruined land and hear the stories of ruined lives breaks my heart. Half of Puerto Rico is still without clean drinking water and 90% is without power.

Where do they go now? And when they rebuild, there will some day be another super-storm to savage the island. I think that’s inevitable. It’s only the beginning of the huge weather events caused by climate change. We’re in for a nasty, calamitous ride.

And every day, it’s TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP. Even the disaster in Puerto Rico is about Trump.

My life, like everyone else’s, is a daily battle between the good and the bad. I’m trying to match every bad thing with something good, but it’s not easy.



My family will help get me through these negative times. Especially my two days a week with my grandson Calder. He is my antidote to Trump.

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