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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The Main Focus

Posted on September 10, 2022 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

When did we stop paying attention to the world around us?

A teenager cruises through an intersection on a bike, one hand on the handlebars, eyes focused only on the cell phone in his other hand. An office worker charges off an elevator and into a tray of steaming, hot coffee, her eyes never lifting from the tiny screen. A distracted businessman steps onto the crosswalk on a red light and a car with the right-of-way narrowly misses him.

I’m not surprised, but I am bewildered. When did our handhelds become the main focus of our lives?

Nobody can doubt or discount how beneficial our mobile devices have become to society. We have access to information, essentially, wherever we are. We can communicate, share photos of our pets and partners, seek advice, and get directions to wherever we are going. We can shop, do our banking, and be entertained by social media.

It is wonderful, yes.

The thing is, we are forgoing what used to be considered regular, everyday, activities and allowing our cellular phones dictate what we do, and how we do it.

We are, quite simply, spending too much time staring at our screens. I did say we because, I know, I am doing it myself.

I’m trying to cut back. I should have snapped a photo of the careless teen, but my phone was stowed away in my messenger bag; I’m making a point of putting it away when I don’t need it. I decided I was needing it too much.

I’ve sat down for lunch with coworkers and instead of talking about weekend plans, politics, sports or art, each of us was catching up on whatever was on our phone. We didn’t share what we were absorbing. We even tried to converse between bites of a sandwich or salad, but the content of our discussion was about as meaningful as most of the stuff I was catching on my newsfeed.

Do we need to take frequent breaks from real life to watch the latest nonsensical sound bite emanating from the floppy jowls of the attention-seeking politician? Or do we need to read, right now, the ramblings of an ordinary guy who believes we all spend too much time gazing at hand-sized screens?

Couldn’t it wait until later? Like maybe when you sit down for your next bowel movement?

We are missing out on what’s really happening. I have seen people miss transit stops, or walk by an intended destination, because they were too busy reading or watching something that has totally taken control of their mind.

What’s so important that you can’t take the time to walk down the street and actually look up to see the latest fashions in the windows, flowers in the park, the artwork of a fabulous tattoo, or all those smiling strangers (those who aren’t face down and blindly stepping forward) passing you by on a glorious summer day.

We haven’t simply become addicted to our devices; we are being controlled by them.

We’ve been manipulated into watching content and commercialism that algorithms have determined will be of personal interest. All social media platforms are programmed to distract you. Service providers, browsers, and platforms, are all collecting data. If you click on a travel site one day, soon you are flooded with offers, suggestions, and other destination opportunities. If you do a little online banking on your coffee break, and you’ll soon get hit with credit card offers, payday loan proposals and interest rate alerts from other financial services.

It does not stop. Each click, each time you move from site to site, little bytes of information about you and your viewing habits are being collected. We are being manipulated into looking, seeing, and buying. Our reality is being hijacked.

What are you missing out on?

p.s. This ordinary guy thanks you for reading my ramblings – I do appreciate you taking the time.

©2018 j.g. lewis

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