Mythos & Marginalia

life notes; flaws and all

j.g. lewis

original content and images ©j.g. lewis

a daily breath...

A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .

Mondays are just young Fridays

It is a substantial record: Clues.
   The 1980 album by Robert Palmer took new wave sensibilities of the late ‘70s and ushered in the magnitude of what would become standard ‘80s popular music.
   I listened to the record intently last week, twice in a row. It has been decades since I have done that, but I had to. I enjoyed listening to the music that much.
   Years ago, I used to do it often. As a teenager, I remember the excitement of buying a new LP and listening to it repeatedly for hours and days. These were the times when radio wasn’t playing a lot of rock and roll. I grew up in a city that had only one AM station for the longest time (until a country music station took to the airwaves), and it was more focused on news, current events, and mostly my mom’s kind of music. Evenings they would play to a younger generation, but only the more popular pop songs (there was also an FM station but it played only classical music.
   Records and Rolling Stone magazine were then my link to real music.
   Back then you would play new records repeatedly, learning the songs, studying the lyrics and cover art. Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me comes to mind and, of course, Dark Side of the Moon.
   As my music collection grew over the years, as important as each record was, albums would be played less frequently; I had more albums to choose from. It had to be a damn good record to be played frequently.
   I know that changed when I owned my first car. The radio was still reliable, and I used to tape albums to play in the car’s cassette deck. Prior to that, listening to music was a stationary experience. Because of the limitations of the turntable, you had to stay in one place and listen, usually on headphones.
   I decided I wouldn’t buy any new albums this year, but instead listen to the music I already owned. I have a lot to select from, in all genres, on both vinyl and compact disc. I listen to music a lot, and in past years would frequently visit record stores to search out and both new releases and unfamiliar vintage albums by artists I was both familiar and unfamiliar with.
   I’ve now got a lot of alums that all need a good listening to.
   Clues was one of those albums.
   The album rocked a little harder than Secrets, his previous effort, but also dwelled in the synth-pop territory. One song, I Dream of Wires, written by new wave darling Gary New is sonically propulsive, a noticeable change of direction from the sophisticated strains of Palmer’s soulful, occasionally jazzy, sound. Palmer was the first artist I heard described as “blue-eyed soul”.
   This record captured the spirit of the times, without now seeming nostalgic. His albums that followed, both solo efforts and his work with The Power Station (an unlikely hook up with members of Duran Duran and Chic) continued in a similar groove, appealing to the Pepsi generation on MTV with his movie-star good looks and videos with the highly stylized back-up babes he became associated with.
   As I flip through my music collection, I am finding more and more albums worthy of re-discovering. All this music was purchased for a reason, and no doubt hasn’t been listened to with the intensity it deserves to be.

02/19/2024                                                                                        j.g.l.

truth or dare

Landscapes, like weather forecasts,
altered daily. Attitudes of how
we view our world, however,
remain stagnant.

Acid rain, climate change, dangers
inconvenient as carbon footprints in
freshly-fallen snow. We wait only
for it all to wash away.

Fossil fuels and solar flares, impotent
political dialogue of truth or dare.
Do we pay any heed past what
remains of the day?

Shame and blame living as we are.
What we do, or what we can do?
If only we would comprehend
how we have devolved.

Temperatures rising, though you
couldn’t tell it now. Common sense
approach far too common. We accept
what we cannot know.

We struggle, unknowingly, ignorant
of our ways. Messages lack meaning.
All talk. No action. Zero-sum gain
if all we do is complain.

02/16/2024                                                                                          j.g.l.

work in progress

I need to remind myself, more often,
who I am and what I have become.
More so, I need to remind myself of
what I am becoming.
If I am truly a work in progress, how
much progress have I made?
How can I tell if I don’t remind myself
or question myself?
Only I can really know.

02/15/2024                                                                              j.g.l.

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
well-rounded,
other times
dull or
occasionally
broken.
Still I write.

j.g. lewis
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.

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Moving To Something New

Posted on September 14, 2016 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

iphone

What more can a phone do?

Every year consumers, and the industry, wait for Apple to provide an answer to the burning question and tell us exactly how far it has pushed the boundaries of wireless communication.

Last week, as it has done each September, the company released its latest products, including the iPhone 7. And the announcement was met, initially, with lukewarm response. News reports that night almost ho-hummed the whole affair, speculating a certain drop in stock prices the next day, as if the company had nothing new to offer.

It didn’t seem to matter that a new camera system was added to the now-dual camera device, or that screen size was increased slightly and the power and capacity nearly doubled. New colors were added to the sleeker aesthetic, and an improved operating system is to be included. Headphones will go wireless.

But it didn’t seem to matter to the media, as if it was boring, as if they were planning on it. Like they were expecting more.

Again, what more can a phone do, and more importantly, what should a phone do?

Right now an iPhone, or most cellular devices for that matter, can do more than what could be predicated in the comic strips and cartoons of yesteryear. George Jetson or Dick Tracy would certainly be impressed. Mobile devices can transfer data, text, images, and voice, with greater speed and more efficiently than our desktop computers from a decade ago. The new iPhone 7 will do more.

But, apparently, that wasn’t new enough, according to the media.

We all want something new.

New is, many times, the prime reason for packaging and promoting any consumer product, whether food, fashion or footwear. Or even consumer electronics. The automobile industry may well have been the original merchants of ‘new’ as it began the custom of releasing annual models of the same car.

The same could also be said of vacuum cleaners, televisions, or even the “new and improved” baked beans or tinned soup that have been pictured in media advertisements for years.

If you can’t boast of anything else, you can always talk up the new. Fashion trends, and styles, in any season, are always caught up in the much hyped new.

We are sold new. We welcome new. We expect new; so much so that we quickly tire of the old. We now replace the old, with new, almost on whim. It is society’s way.

We eat at the newest restaurant, because it is new, and for no other reason. We guzzle the new beer. We may even ditch an old favorite because we are told the new is better, or different (there’s a combustive combination: new and different).

At one time — it wasn’t that long ago — even in my lifetime, there was this thing about quality. Things were built to last. As long as it lasted, you didn’t need new. And things lasted longer. They were built that way.

Technology has changed that. We all know there has been greater technological advancement over the past 10 years than there has been in the balance of our lives (and it doesn’t matter if you are 20 or 60, for that change has been that fast, and that remarkable).

In the process of all that change, there has been an incredible amount of stuff that has been produced which becomes obsolete quicker than ever. Think Junk 1.0, then Junk 1.10, or Junk 2.0, and so on. The new stuff becomes the same old junk. Perhaps brighter colors, or faster features, but after it has served its short space, it is all headed to the landfill.

We always seem to want new; a new job perhaps, or we get tired or grow indifferent to a partner or lover. We want something new. That new always seems to be waiting in the wings, but after a while doesn’t it always become the same old, same old?

Some of us don’t want new, not always, or not as often as it is available.

I’m still pleased with my iPhone 6; it’s a Plus (that was new; a larger version). It took me a while to fully change over, or become accustomed to the changes from an iPhone 5, but it was welcome. Just as I’m sure the 7 will be appreciated, but I’m also sure I’m going to wait for the 8 (my contract says I have to).

The iPhone 8 will be released next year, on the 10th anniversary of the original iPhone (then so new it didn’t even need a number). By then, I’ll be ready for something new.

 

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