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Morning Song – Life To Fix

At first listen, The Record Company’s 4 minute “Life To Fix” is an inspired and driving roots-rock, radio-friendly, power trio song that runs at least 1/4 longer than it needs to. (Personally, I’d be good with a fadeout around 2:24, after the wordless chorus; your mileage may vary.)

But—and I think this is the point Chris Vos, Alex Stiff and Marc Cazorla are trying to make—that’s life.

When something major is broken in your life—be it physical, mental, emotional, social or some godawful ugly combination of them all—fixing it takes longer (often, lots longer) than you’d like.

What gets it fixed is finding the energy and determination to get up each day and do the same boring, somewhat ridiculous, and seemingly fruitless tasks that one part of you knows are good for you…but the rest of you just doesn’t want to do anymore. It requires a certain kind of faith—that 1) this life can be fixed, 2) it’s worth fixing, and 3) you can do it.

Sometimes music helps.

I got this life to fix,
Threw it all out in a ditch,
Broken down when I was sick,
Gotta build it back up brick by brick.
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The Art Of War

Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War has been part of the Chinese literary and military canon for over two millennia. In the past two centuries, it’s become increasingly popular and influential in military, business and political circles throughout the rest of the world.

That’s partly because it’s a short treatise consisting largely of epigrammatic sayings. For example:

Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

Many of Sun Tzu’s aphorisms—like those above—have a timeless and universal quality. They can be applied to numerous situations, military and non-military alike.

Other sections are dated and/or more specific to Sun Tzu’s time and place. For example, there’s an entire chapter devoted to the “five ways of attacking with fire“. “River warfare” is covered/dismissed in a handful of sentences, and there’s (not surprisingly) no mention of naval or aerial warfare.

Like many experienced soldiers, Sun Tzu has a healthy skepticism about when and whether nations should resort to warfare, and a deep appreciation of the costs—human, financial, economic, political and social—of war…particularly long and/or large wars. He’s also strong on the importance of planning, spies/intelligence-gathering, deception, logistics, and tactical flexibility if an army is to succeed.

For 18 of the last 20 centuries, South and East Asia have been the dominant economic, political and cultural forces in human history. It’s just that we’re living in the wake of the two centuries that have been dominated by a relatively small segment of West Asia (aka, Europe).

As that dominance continues to wane in the 21st century, The Art Of War is likely to continue emerging as one of the essential texts—literary, military, philosophical—of a global literary canon.

Morning Song – Hot Sands

With temperatures expected to approach triple digits (Fahrenheit) today in this little corner of the world, “Hot Sands” sounds like a perfect title to get things started.

The fact that it’s insistently danceable space rock/electronica from Anubian Lights (and the soundtrack of Ocean’s 8) is a bonus.

Morning Song – Don’t You Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round

What do you do when you’re tempted to give up?

Dig deep. Remember why you started out in the first place.

That, among other things, is what the McCrary Sisters do with “Don’t You Let Nobody Turn You ‘Round”, first popularized by their father, the Rev. Sam McCrary, back when he sang lead for the Fairfield Four.

Morning Song – Action Line

As a black, female harpist, Dorothy Ashby started her jazz career with three strikes against her. In other words, she shouldn’t even have gotten started, let alone flourished with long stretches as a composer, bandleader, sidewoman (with everyone from Louis Armstrong to Minnie Riperton to Billy Preston) and Afro-centric musical theater producer.

“Action Line”, off her 1968 album Afro-Harping, sounds like a cover of some big hit, but like Ashby herself, it’s utterly original.

Enjoy.

Morning Song – Superfly

It takes near-blasphemous levels of audacity to include Curtis Mayfield’s magisterial title track from the landmark, genre-creating blaxpoitation classic, Superfly, in a paint-by-numbers, Hollywood franchise sequel like Ocean’s 8.

On the other hand, it’s Curtis Mayfield; and it’s “Superfly”. Just the chance to hear it again covers a multitude of sins.

Darkest of night,
With the moon shining bright;
There’s a set goin’ strong,
Lotta things goin’ on

Morning Song – Bossy

Fantasy of the Day: If only Hillary Clinton could have adopted Kelis’ “Bossy” like Barack Obama used Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess….

You don’t have to love me;
You don’t even have to like me;
But you will respect me;
You know why? Cause I’m a boss….