Monday, November 10, 2014

We're All Alright

The Cheep Trick album for the single, "Surrender," Wikipedia, fair use claimed, full cite below.

Greetings All:

Sunday night, November 9th (Edited for publication November 10th)

This has been a week of highs and lows.  The obvious lows for me were the election and the Iowa shellacking yesterday at the hands of Minnesota.  Both were brutal for me to watch.  

One might think that comparing a college football game to the midterm elections as woefully inappropriate.  I have friends who would agree, with the significance of the football game clearly outweighing the elections.  While I an a die-hard Iowa fan, the elections will have more long-term consequences.  As I've written before, I had a dog in this fight and was profoundly disappointed with the outcome.

So I was hoping yesterday for a bit of entertainment when Iowa kicked off against Minnesota.  I went to law school in St. Paul and have fond memories of the Twin Cities.  However, when it comes to Iowa football, I don't care who they are playing, I just want them to win.

Also, this game had some significance as the traveling trophy, "Floyd of Rosedale" was at stake.  It is a bronze (I think, definitely metal of some sort) pig that is (IMHO) the best rivalry trophy in sports.  When we got beat (severely) yesterday, Floyd went back to the Gophers of Minnesota.  It will be a long year and hopefully we can bring him home next year.  The words of former Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry echo in my mind:  "Poor Floyd is cold and hungry up there."

I have friends I have not heard from in a while (including a former employer) who made sure I was aware of the outcome.  It was so nice of them to check in with me.  
"Floyd of Rosedale" the rivalry trophy between my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes and the University of Minnesota football teams, now (sadly) residing in Minnesota for the next year.  (Sigh.) Wikipedia, fair use, full cite below.

Yet the week had some great things happen.  Without question, seeing Cassie, my daughter and her friends bring the unfinished work of Charles Dickens' The Mystery of Edwin Drood to life was the highlight.  This show is based on Dickens' unfinished work and the audience gets to pick the killer and the love interests.  We were thrilled that Cassie's character, Princess Puffer, was picked as the murderer the last night as we got to hear her sing one final time.  

The Program from Pleasant Valley High School's production this past week of The Mystery of Edwin Drood based on the works of Charles Dickens.  Photo by J. Berta.
 After the show, we stuck around to see if our bids held up at the silent auction.  The time-honored tradition of striking the set took place and music was playing over the sound system.  I was amused at the music being played, 70s and 80s stuff, recorded long before these kids were born.  

Then my favorite Cheep Trick song came over the speakers, "Surrender."  This is a goofy song that does not make a whole lot of sense but is fun to listen to.  It's been covered by a number of artists and I found on YouTube a great version by Bob Mould with Peter Buck of R.E.M. fame backing him up.  I've got a link to it in the sources.

Here's a quote from Ric Nielsen, lead guitarist of Cheep Trick:

"When I wrote the song, the 'we're all alright' was originally only intended to refer to the four of us; that's why it comes right after the 'Bun-E/Tom/Robin/Rick's alright' section. After we started playing it live however, I came to realize that, to our audience, it was inclusive of all of us - our generation; that we're ALL alright, we survived the 60s & Vietnam & Nixon & everything, and we're all still here, playing music and having fun. That's when we started playing with it a little in concert; I'll tell ya, you get 50 - 60 thousand people screaming 'WE'RE ALL ALRIGHT!' in unison, that's a pretty positive affirmation!" 

That it is Rick, that it is.

As I'm writing this, it is the anniversary of the passing of one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century, Dylan Thomas.  He died November 9, 1953 and I'll add, w-a-y too young.

Dylan Thomas, 1952, Wikipedia, fair use claimed, full cite below.

Dylan Thomas wrote some amazing stuff.  He also battled various health issues, aggravated by excessive alcohol consumption.  One wonders what other great works would have sprung from his pen had he been able to stick around.  

Thomas' best known work is "Do Not Go Gently Into That Goodnight."  The last two lines of this poem sum up the essence of the poem:

"Do not go gentle into the goodnight.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

In other words, fight back.   This poem was featured in the 1986 movie, Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield.  This movie, not unlike the song, is silly, fun, yet also with a bit of truth in it.  I recall that at one point in the movie, Dangerfield's character recites this poem and adds his own (ahem) editorial meaning to it. 

So how does this all tie together?  I'd suggest the following:  Life is  full of both disappointments and accomplishments.  There will be times when things will go well and then, not so much.  As Thomas advocates, there are times to fight back, to fight until the last cartridge.  Then there are times to accept the facts for what they are and move forward with your life.  Accept the losses, acknowledge the hurt and them let it go.  Dare I say it, surrender.
 Just remember, the end of the day, we're all alright.  And that's enough.

Be well my friends,




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