The Shine

shine

Something strange is going on
This place smells like old burnt toast
History breathes inside the walls
That hotel has some strange ass ghosts
Head chef Dickie laid down the scat
Sending shivers across Danny’s spine
I know you feel it so now you own it
Son you got the shine

Take your seat at the bar unreal
That glass of scotch is your last meal
It’s the shine knows how you feel
Crazy old man gonna make you squeal

Take a look what hangs on the wall
Find your portrait inside the illusion
Nothing good can come out of a storm
Snowbound family in mountain seclusion
Tony spoke from the tooth of the boy
Soon He’ll be chanting murder in reverse
Don’t stay too long at Overlook Hotel
Everyone knows that place is cursed

There’s a picture hanging in the bar
Each one of them may be dead
Danny don’t go in that room
The rug is bleeding crimson red

Redrum in the hallway
The twins are doing fine
Ride the big wheel to their room
Son you got the shine

Jack Jack hammer straight to their hearts
Folding their lives like death Origami
A gleaming knife through a broken door
A frightening shout from a hole…“Here’s Johnny”

Wendy Wendy time to run
His eyes are full with craze
Grab your boy and flee outside
Hide him in the maze

Quiet son don’t let him hear
Hush now boy he’s getting near
Takes your love but gives you fear
making all your life unclear

Mother and son have crossed the line
I got yours and you got mine
Quiet Wendy there’s no time for cryin
Your son has got the shine

The Man Behind The Curtain, Unraveling The Emerald City Mystery

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Prologue
I’ll See You On The Dark Side Of Oz

The wonderful wizard of Oz. If ever oh ever a wiz there was the Wizard of Oz is one because…If you can’t finish that in a capella then you need to check your pulse. Wizard Of Oz is not just a story or movie its an American institution. Nay, a global treasure. To many of us who grew up before the age of instant information and entertainment on demand viewing The Wizard of Oz was a ritual. Originally airing on Sunday evenings it was a movie so powerful it pre-empted such great shows as Lassie, Gunsmoke, and The Gale Storm Show. We had to wait to find out what happened to Timmy, if Hoss was able to save Little Joe, and what new mischief My Little Margie got into. Why? Because watching The Wizard Of Oz was a family night obligation where we all sat around the television set with buckets of popcorn and cuploads of soda. On Monday once we returned to grammar school our elementary minds engaged in deep discussions over the twisted tale and many a young boy could be seen doing his spot on imitation of the lollipop guild, or young lass showing off her Lullaby League ballerina skills.
The movie mesmerized and hypnotized us with some parts scaring the shit out of us, but helping each one of us to exercise our imaginations and dreams. As children we were intrigued and believed in the story in a somewhat literal sense. While it was a fantasy, it revolved around real lives. And to boot it left us with a beautiful message when it ended. We learned that its okay to dream but we need to face our fears head on if we want those reams to become real. We learned its best to fight as a team and rely on each other because each person has something to offer. We learned that evil is wrong and good will always win out in the end. We learned that “the grass always seems greener on the other side” but in the end “there’s no place like home.”
As a child I absorbed these and other not so clear messages from movies like a subliminal sponge. Absorbing all sorts of life lessons from movies, TV shows, books, fairy tales and children songs. But as I got older and more cynical I took on more of a culture of “nothing is ever really what it seems.” I began to read into and interpret things in search of truth. I wanted to know what was underneath so I interpreted underlying meanings in movies, stories, poems, and songs. A personal fascination for me was the underlying meaning in rock lyrics.
So before taking our journy into the more profound messages in Trhe Wizard Of Oz I want to explore some rock lyrics. Rock and roll is the beating rhythm of many a generation. I view the world through abstract eyes and as a writer I report what I see. But rock song lyrics more than anything get deconstructed by my jagged mind and then placed back in an order that might tell an entirely different story. Sometimes songs were written with a hidden meaning on purpose and that offered a challenge as in the case of Don McLean’s “American Pie.” As teens my friends and I spent hours digging in to the layers of lyrics in an attempt to extract the inner meaning of that tune. Even when I hear it played today I still think of all the symbolic references and allusions to various celebrities both famous an infamous. To rock events like The Beatles playing Shea or The Stones at Altamont, McLean had deftly hidden all sorts of innuendo and culturally iconic references and brilliantly he had masked the clues leaving it up to us to interpret. To me that was a stroke of genius, similar to the musings of the lyrical concepts of Bob Dylan, The Beatles and The Stones. Those young talents had intuitive understanding of life far beyond their years and successfully conveyed those ideas into words. Some lyrics are crystal clear, some seem to make no sense, and many are written so abstract its difficult to see through into the artists vision at all.
With many songwriting perhaps even the author doesn’t fully understand the complex structure of their own words. Maybe sub conscious or maybe totally unaware of what the brain is trying to express from them in such an abstract way they deny its very true underlying theme. I lay on you as an example the song “Space Oddity” written by the one and only David Bowie. Bowie himself claims it’s a song he wrote about space after seeing the movie “2001, A Space Odyssey” while he was stoned (I believe he called it out of his gourd) Both that movie and the moon landing were popular events at the time and he claims that was his inspiration. He even wrote a follow up or sequel to the tune called “Ashes To Ashes” in which his purported Major Tom reconnects with earth. I don’t buy it for a second. I look deeper into the embedded subliminal inspirations and I believe whether intentional or subliminal this song is about David’s very own struggle with his sexuality. Its pretty well known he went through what has been described as an androgynous stage and the song reeks of innuendo surrounding the freeing of ones sexual inhibitions. In a phrase it was David coming out of the closet and exploring his own sexual desires. Let me explore for, dare I call it, a deeper meaning.
Ground control to Major Tom, take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Okay, relatively obvious, semen and protein almost synonymous and a condom is the helmet to protect from disease. A common practice back at the time was to bolster the system with protein to increase a males sexual prowess and stamina. (Pre Viagra practice when ED was the name of a talking horse on TV) Ground control is his mind, and major Tom is, well lets just call him Major Woody. The papers want to know who’s shirt you wear or which team are you on. Are you with the hetero’s or the non hetero’s? Maybe he’s not sure himself! Now its time to leave the capsule if you dare. Here then is that closet I mentioned David leaving. As he steps through that door he is walking in a “most peculiar way“, two derogatory comments used at the time to describe a gay man. He walks funny, like a girl, and he is queer or peculiar. No wonder the stars look very different today! Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing he can do. Back at that time porn was described as “blue movies”, to him the world is obsessed with sex and there is not a thing he can do about these new feelings. Or is there? He’s past one hundred thousand miles (around the block with women) he’s feeling very still (no zip to his ship). But not to worry, his spaceship knows which way to go. His compass points to experimentations with the North Pole! Tell his wife he loves her very much, she knows(love is not just sexual). He is feeling sorry and a tad guilty for going off on a sexual excursion. She already knows because you can’t hide your real self forever and your partner will likely be the first to sense it. Now the circuits dead there’s something wrong. He has no sexual electricity any longer for his woman and he can’t understand why. So that’s my offbeat take on the tune. Or maybe its about an astronaut that was lost in space and cut off from Huston. Floating in a very peculiar way without gravity around. I merely offer an alternative view like the one I will give on the Wiz.
That’s what I do, I listen to words then try to make sense of what I hear in the more abstract fashion. I reconstruct words in search of the true meaning beneath the surface. I also enjoy using the same mental exercise in cinema and this interpretation is my reconstructive take on my all time favorite tale, The Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz is not just a tale of young girl on an adventure but the story of finding your inner strength, learning that what truly matters is not how much gold and glitter you acquire but how much love you acquire. “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” The underlying messages in the tale are important and a dynamic learning tool for children but there lies underneath it all a message intended for adults as well. At least I believe there is so that’s why I am looking deep into the story of Oz to find out what meaning it can have for us as presumed adults. Join me down the twisted path of an existential quirky mind to explore the underbelly of a time honored traditional story. If nothing else, you will have an opportunity to exercise your eyes and hopefully your imagination, and perhaps achieve a smile or two as well.

The Oz Ultimatum, part II

“A Whopper, to speak in the vernacular of the peasantry”

The Wizard of Oz may be more than just a children’s story. I think it’s a tale of economic struggle, monumental greed, and depraved indifference to life. It’s the tale of a brave young woman who in the course of growing up and learning to appreciate who she is, her “inner Dorothy”, she also assists three others realize their own self worth. She teaches an uneducated scarecrow of a failure how important education is, a lonely and forgotten old warrior of a tin man allowed to rust by the society he fought (or labored) for how to love again, and a self loathing coward of a beast how to use his strength and might for the good of others. Together they learn important lessons about themselves and the world around them. All the time an evil giant corporation disguised as a witch with dollar bill green skin does everything in its power to crush them. But is this really three separate characters or is it three components of the famous Dorothy herself? Perhaps the three travelers represent the impoverished and uneducated, the forgotten warriors of life, and the meek waiting to inherit the earth. Or maybe the three travelers are really the father the son and the holy ghost. I suppose it depends on whether you believe it was a spiritual journey or a journey of self awareness.
And the wicked witch, a small business consuming corporation as I suggested or could the witch in fact be Satan and the flying monkeys natural disasters, war mongers, and other pitfalls created causing death and destruction? Is the flying broomstick a phallic symbol pertaining to Daddy issues? Is it a yellow brick road or a gold bar road? Is Emerald city a house built on expensive gems or is it a house of cards? Was Glinda a good witch or a system of co-operative management? For that matter why is there no apparent witch of the south? (In the movie version)And what of Professor Marvel, traveling con man or the wizard? Lastly, I wonder if the wizard is a wizard who will serve? The possibilities are endless and my view here is just that, a view. A piece of my childhood that I have revisited many times and looked at in many ways. Maybe it is just a children’s fantasy tale or maybe, just maybe there is a lot more to the story. If you have an adventurous imagination then take a ride with me down a dark and twisted tale that will leave you scratching your head and wondering, what the hell kind of drugs is he on now?! .
First let me take a quick overview of the movie. The movie differs slightly from the original book, so obviously I’m not the first one to take artistic freedom with story. It is the screenwriters artistic adaptation that I base my ramblings on because its by far the most familiar to most of us. In addition it being an artistically constructed interpretation already it allows me even broader interpretative freedoms.
The story begins when Dorothy is already around age 12. No one really knows how old Dorothy was because Baum never gave her a specific age. He also never gave any account of her childhood years before the story starts. I have searched for answers as to the whereabouts of Dorothy’s parents and her exact relationship with Em an Henry. Was she related on Emily’s side or Henry’s side? Did her Mom and Dad die? Finding no answer I am taking artistic license and have come up with my own scenario. Dorothy’s mother passed away during childbirth leaving her with no mother. Unable to cope with the loss of his wife and the challenges of single parenting her father ran off leaving Dorothy in an orphanage. Dorothy has no real recollection of either parent and it wasn‘t until her aunt tracked her down that she had any family at all. Her moms sister Emily adopted and raised Dorothy as her own child with her husband Henry. No one knows the whereabouts of her dad. Dorothy grows up with guilt believing it was her fault her mom died and her dad ran off. She has never had any emotional ties to a father other than Henry. So now we’re ready to get started with the brief synopsis.
Set in Kansas it’s the tale of an orphaned little girl who is largely ignored by her Aunt and Uncle who are busy trying to maintain their farm. The closest and most dear thing to her heart is her dog Toto. A mean old neighbor named Almira Gulch hates Toto and has threatened many times to “take care of that animal.”. Dorothy seeks advice from the three farmhands, Hunk, Hickory and Zeke whom appear to be her only friends. Hunk tells her to use her brain and take a different route, Zeke tells her to have courage and stand up to the mean Almira, spit in her eye! Hickory has no chance to give advice because Dorothy fall into the pig pen. So Dorothy goes off on her own and dream of a utopian place where life could be sweet. Looking to crush her dreams, enter Almira.
After complaining to Dorothy’s aunt and uncle that Toto got into her garden and even bit her this time Almira comes to take the dog away to the sheriff. She takes Toto in a basket on her bicycle and to the chagrin of Dorothy rides off with him. But Toto escapes and runs back to Dorothy. Dorothy senses problems and opts to run away with Toto and go somewhere better. She comes across a con artist transient with a wagon fullof empty promises. A storm begins to brew and the con artist has at least a sliver of morals so he entices Dorothy to go back to her home to her Aunt Em. Dorothy realizes she misses her family and runs back to the farmhouse where everyone had been preparing for a storm that was turning into a twister. Not finding Dorothy anywhere and the twister approaching quickly her aunt an uncle and three farmhands lock themselves in the cellar. Dorothy arrives home as the twister is hitting and can’t get into the locked cellar and runs into her room where a window smashes her head rendering her unconscious. She has a dream of frightening images the scariest being Almira Gulch first on a bicycle, then as a witch on a broomstick. She lands in a fantasy world of which she had dreamed was over the rainbow. The dream continues in this world which incorporates the con artist, Almira, and the three farmhands, Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke as characters other than themselves. Almira is an evil witch, Hunk a brainless scarecrow, Hickory a heartless rusted Tin Man, Zeke a cowardly lion, and the con man a wizard who is admired by all. The dream lands her in a magical colorful land of little people who send her on the yellow brick road towards the Emerald city in search of a way back home. Along the way she meets her three friends and a witch who attempts to foil her every opportunity to get home. After the long journey an many hurdles and life lessons she finally gets home where she wakes up to find it wasn’t real. But it was real! It has to be real! Oh but it couldn’t be real, be could it?
Begin at the beginning. Kansas. It is no coincidence that the story begins in Kansas. Not just because Kansas is the center of tornado activity, but because it is middle America. Kansas represents the core of America, the working class that creates some of our greatest national products. Loaded with farms both livestock and vegetation it is the homegrown hard working core of the American people. Far from the glitz and glamour of big cities. That’s where we find Dorothy, a young girl and her dog living on a farm. Dorothy is an idealistic young lady who finds her only real strength and comfort from her little dog Toto. Always by her side, Toto is a source of comfort and happiness and loyalty, all the attributes one hopes to find in family. She lives on one of those hard working farms with her aunt and uncle. She is trying desperately to get someone to listen to her about what that mean and powerful Almira Gulch did to her happiness. With the “authorities” behind her Almira is able to take from Dorothy that which matters to her most. That’s what Almira represents, maybe an IRS agent, maybe a foreclosing bank manager, or maybe a large law firm that threatens legal action because they don‘t want
happiness (Toto) to ruin the garden they have built. (there’s a law protecting folks from a dog that bites). So Almira/Wicked Witch are all about greed and take take take.
Toto escapes the clutches of eminent domain and returns to Dorothy, who believes the only chance they have at a happy life is to run away from everything. When she gets into the world outside her home the first thing she encounters is Professor Marvel, who could have been her father. At any rate the Professor seems to understand Dorothy better than anyone else. He gets that she is running away because know one at home understands or appreciates her, and she wants to see other lands, big cities. No stranger to escaping himself, it seems to me the professor is also running away. The professor is in fact Dorothy’s “Jiminy Cricket” or her conscience. Her “daddy issues” are a replacement for what her dad would have really done, he advises her to go back home because the family she does have really does love and care about her, they are just too busy to take time out for her. After looking deep inside herself, the professors crystal ball, she understands that she has left Auntie Em straddled with worry. Feeling terrible guilt Dorothy runs home as the storm is beginning to form. And it looks like a whopper. To speak in the vernacular of the peasantry!
A whopper indeed, it’s a twister it is. What is a tornado? A tornado is a violent rotating cloud that churns up everything in its path without any regard to what it destroys. It up roots long standing mighty trees, as well as farms, small businesses, homes, and families, leaving many penniless and homeless. A bank run or a stock market crash is a kind of tornado destroying many families and homes. Banks foreclose on houses leaving many people without a place to live. And as people are scrambling and willing to sell anything they had for another meal, the rich power brokers are buying, and at a remarkably cheap rate. Making the already wealthy more wealth and powerful and creating in them a vacuum of unending greed drainage. In light of economic disaster the big fish eat up the small fish until the big fish become too big to fail. The small fish become nothing more than a nuisance. That’s my take on the twister of Kansas, a vortex of volatile economic system which is only focused on making more and more bucks for the one percent while creating more and more hardship for the ninety nine percent. A global boardroom of a relentless money grabbing machine that took the farm away and left them in a strange situation. Now Dorothy really is on her own and has to find a new home, maybe somewhere over the rainbow, a beautiful world she remembers being told of once in a lullaby. A place where troubles melt, skies are blue, and dreams you dare to dream come true. But is her dream world over the rainbow, or at the end of the rainbow where she will find a pot of gold?
At any rate the events caused by the twister have brought us here. Deeper reflection reveals that during the upheaval Dorothy doesn’t get hit by an actual window but the twister has an effect none the less. The Wall Street Twister ripped apart the economy and the ruthless banks foreclosed on the farm leaving Dorothy once again homeless. She is so distraught it causes her to attempt to end all the pain of losing everything she ever had by OD-ing on Ambien. (or any other suicide drug) Dorothy doesn’t die but she falls into a deep state of REM sleep where she has the most vivid dream. A dream which may set her free! In the dream Dorothy is reborn. During the course of the rebirth the house has landed on a witch and killed her. Destroyed is the evil which left Dorothy alone in a cruel world. The witch of the east represents her feelings of her own mother, anger for leaving her and guilt for being the one who caused her death. A whirlwin of emotional turmoil that ha haunted her all those young years. These are issues she hopes to overcome by merely doing away with them. We know better though, we know what she really needs to do is confront them. Dorothy must figure out which part of her is a direct aspect of her mother. Which traits of her mom did she inherit? We will find out by evaluating what her mother left her. Ruby red slippers may hold the key to the “inner” Dorothy. First however, we must enter a new realm. Munchkinland!
To be continued

The Hipster Cupcake

Constructing the Hipster Cupcake

Hipster, noun/adjective- A subculture of generally younger middle class urban adults characterized by independent thinking, progressive politics, embracement of Indie music and Art, and health conscience pan-global dining habits. In “poser” circles it has come to be a pretentious Starbucks swilling, Urban outfit wearing group of upper middle class “artsy” clique of kids that eat healthy in order to say that they eat healthy. Such is the fate of being hip, once too many people jump on the bandwagon the wheels stop spinning and it becomes just another faux trend. But for the sake of the few true hipsters, and for the sake of my self serving post I will focus on the hip new eating trends of new and healthy foods as they apply to the construction of my hipster cupcake.
I have a burning need to constantly challenge myself culinarilly and since I have turned my sights to becoming one of the worlds best cupcake engineers I decided to create the ultimate “Today” cupcake. The Hipster cupcake. A cupcake that will be talked about on pod casts and will “blow their wings.” A cupcake that delights the “crumb crushers“, is “totally mezz and copasetic” and won’t cost over a “nickel note.” That my unhip friends would be “off the cob,” and not worth the “tar under your ground grippers.” But at my age how does one relate to a hipster? Hip I was many years ago but it’s a different world, different culture today. In my era to be hip you needed only know the latest rock band, the ground shearing word twisting folkies, and only smoke the best pot around. No dirt weed for a hipster, only gold or red grass, or when available hash. And if you were fortunate enough to smoke hash it was important where it came from. Don’t be puffing any domestic shit, only the good shit from Lebanon and Afghanistan. That’s where they used real camel or emu shit to bind it The pipe of choice was important too. Any old hitter could smoke from a chamber pipe, but a hipster used pipes like Chillums, un upright funnel pipe from India , or a meerschaum, a soapstone Turkish sailor pipe that colored with age. Today to be hip its more about listening to Indie bands with foreign names (complete with accent) or hip names like The bright Orange Overall Sunslingers. You need to be self aware and self assured and dress that way. You know, that unique style everyone wears, scarves, sunglasses, any inappropriate footwear, (boots when sneakers should be worn and vice versa). They eat things like tofu, or veggie burgers and spice it up with sauces like Sirachi or Harrissa. Essentially you need to appear to be completely different while fitting into the mainstream culture of being aware. So this is no simple challenge I give myself. My first step was research.
The best place to study the habits of a hipster is while they are engaging in social activity. Facebook is out because its been taken over by the mainstream, including dinosaurs like myself. Using the younger social interest sties will make look and feel like a stalker, and probably end up getting me on a pervert list. So I was left with scouring through the blogosphere in search of what a hipster is. Here then is some of what I learned about the young hipsters. Back in my day the cliché pick up line was “what’s your sign?”, an allusion to the fact that horoscopes and the zodiac were very “in”. It worked really good if the other person was so drunk he or she didn’t care what you were saying. Many of us used it anyway because frankly we lacked the self confidence to engage in meaningful conversation. The line was used mostly by Scorpios, Taurans, and Leo’s, but that’s a generalization isn’t it? Today it seems the hipster culture centers more around how young kids perceive health and well being and not so much on astrologic categorizations.. Nothing spotlights how hip a hipster is as by loudly proclaiming (to anyone and everyone) that “I’m a vegan” while slurping down a small glass of organic tigers milk. What bands do you like has been replaced with which type of yoga do you practice. Really, what type? Well shit, there is Anusara, Bikram, Hatha, Kripalu, and Lynegar just to name a few. Yoga poses like downward dog, upward frog, cobra, tree, camel, and Lord of the Dance. TMI to need to have to conversate about, but luckily for the kids they can just reach into their pocket, take out their phones, and Google it. Not so easy being a hipster, is it?
But back to the cupcake. Nothing can be more hip than being the first to know the next trend as its happening. Food trends can be overwhelming sometimes. It gets really hard to keep up with new products and the benefit claims. Foods or food supplements that will strengthen your organs, build your bones, shred the fat from your body and of course, a plethora of things to enhance the sexual appetite an stamina. They’re popping up like cornstalks in a cornfield. So before I can create a health maximizing hipster cupcake let me sort through some of the new additions to the already saturated, or should I say poly unsaturated market of “health” foods.
To begin I am assuming the liberty afforded the scribe of setting my own parameters of what does or does not constitute a health oriented hipster cupcake. Otherwise I jut may end up going off on such a far out tangent that we’ll need to create a new and even more pretentious category of eager diners. I will be looking new and hip foods that are not only organic and free (or low) of additives and preservative, but also high in fiber, anti-oxidants, amino acids, omega acids, and vitamins, yet low in bad cholesterol, sodium, and sugars. As of right now, all I have is a Fava bean flour cupcake stuffed with soy bean curd and topped with pureed carrot icing . As tasty as that may sound, I promise you it will never be sold at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes. But you have to start somewhere. Now lets find some more pleasing options.
First the cupcake itself. A mixture of flours is in order as the bleached flours of yesterday are laced with the evil destroyer, gluten. Without getting to technical gluten is a protein if things like flour that add a “glue” like te3xture to a product. That’s what allows hot air to stretch a dough during cooking to give breads and the like a porous favorable product. But the cupcake doesn’t rely on yeast to create the air so we have some latitude. I will use almond flour, combined with a little rice flour, organic eggs, and hemp milk (that’s right, not just a cool name its high in omega 3 and 6!)…Sweetened up with stevia and fructose, and leavened with xanthium gum. Add some ground Dutch chocolate cocoa and viola, a hip chocolate cupcake.
Now to stuff it.
Normally I stuff my cupcakes with a variety of custards, mousses, jams, and fruit purees, but as yet I haven’t used tapioca. That would be the hip thing to do, so I made some raspberry tapioca an allowed it to cool. Cool, get it? Anyway, now we have the base. A hip chocolate cupcake stuffed with raspberry tapioca that is begging for a complimentary topping. What could possibly be more hip than a Greek yogurt icing? So there it is, some pomegranate Greek yogurt, a little grenadine syrup, and a touch of powdered sugar. It may not be the number one seller here at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes, but nary a true hipster around could deny its authenticity…….Peace

The Oz Ultimatum (part I)

I’ll See You on the Dark Side of Oz
By JT Hilltop

The wonderful wizard of Oz. If ever oh ever a wiz there was the Wizard of Oz is one because…If you can’t finish that in a capella then you need to check your pulse. Wizard Of Oz is not just a story or movie its an American institution. A global treasure. Many of us who grew up before the age of instant information and entertainment on demand viewing The Wizard of Oz was an absolute must. An elementary school ritual which was all anyone talked about once we got back to school. It was a family night adventure and everyone sat around and watched it around buckets of popcorn and cuploads of soda. The movie mesmerized and hypnotized us and some parts scared the shit out of us. As children we were intrigued and believed in the story. And to boot it left us with a beautiful message when it ended. We learned that we need to face our fears and its best to fight them as a team. We learned that evil is wrong and good will always win out in the end. We learned the truly lesson that “the grass always seems greener on the other side” yet in the end “there’s no place like home.” As a child I absorbed these and other messages from movies like a subliminal sponge. Absorbing from movies such as the Wizard as well as from fairy tales and children songs. But as I got older and more cynical I took on a culture of “nothing is ever really what it seems.” I began to read into and interpret things in search of truth. I wanted to know what was underneath so I interpreted underlying meanings in movies, stories, poems, and songs. A personal fascination for me was the underlying meaning in rock lyrics.
Ah yes, rock and roll the beating rhythm of my generation. Rock song lyrics more than anything got deconstructed by my jagged mind and then placed back in an order that would tell an entirely different story. Sometimes songs were written with a hidden meaning on purpose and that offered a challenge as in the case of Don McLean’s “American Pie.” As teens my friends and I spent hours digging in to the layers of lyrics in an attempt to extract the inner meaning of that tune. When I hear it played today I still think of all the symbolic references and allusions to various celebrities both famous an infamous. To rock events like The Beatles playing Shea or The Stones at Altamont. McLean had deftly hidden all sorts of innuendo and cultural icon references and brilliantly he had masked the clues leaving it up to us to interpret. To me that was a stroke of genius, similar to the musings of the lyrical concepts of The Beatles and The Stones. Those young talents had intuitive understanding of life far beyond their years and successfully conveyed those ideas into words. Some lyrics are crystal clear, some seem to make no sense, and many are written in the abstract to add to confusion.
With many songwriting perhaps even the author doesn’t fully understand the complex structure of their own words. Maybe sub conscious or maybe totally unaware of what the brain is trying to express from them in such an abstract way they deny its very true underlying theme. I lay on you as an example the song “Space Oddity” written by the one and only David Bowie. Bowie himself claims it’s a song he wrote about space after seeing the movie “2001, A Space Odyssey” while he was stoned (I believe he called it out of his gourd) Both that movie and the moon landing were popular events at the time and he claims that was his inspiration. He even wrote a follow up or sequel to the tune called “Ashes To Ashes” in which his purported Major Tom reconnects with earth. I don’t buy it for a second. I look deeper into the embedded subliminal inspirations and I believe whether intentional or subliminal this song is about David’s very own struggle with his sexuality. Its pretty well known he went through what has been described as an androgynous stage and the song reeks of innuendo surrounding the freeing of ones sexual inhibitions. In a phrase it was David coming out of the closet and exploring his own sexual desires. Let me explore for, dare I call it, a deeper meaning.
Ground control to Major Tom, take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Okay, relatively obvious, semen and protein almost synonymous and a condom is the helmet to protect from disease. A common practice back at the time was to bolster the system with protein to increase a males sexual prowess an stamina. (Pre Viagra practice when ED was the name of a talking horse) Ground control is his mind, and major Tom is, well I’ll just call him Major Woody. The papers want to know who’s shirt you wear or which team are you on. Are you with the hetero’s or the non hetero’s? Maybe he’s not sure himself! Now its time to leave the capsule if you dare. Here then is that closet I mentioned David leaving. As he steps through that door he is walking in a “most peculiar way“, two derogatory comments used at the time to describe a gay man. He walks funny, like a girl, and he is queer or peculiar. No wonder the stars look very different today! Planet earth is blue and there’s nothing he can do. Back at that time porn was described as “blue movies”, to him the world is obsessed with sex and there is not a thing he can do about these new feelings. Or is there? He’s past one hundred thousand miles (around the block with women) he’s feeling very still (no zip to his ship). But not to worry, his spaceship knows which way to go. His compass points to experimentations with the North Pole! Tell his wife he loves her very much, she knows(love is not just sexual). He is feeling sorry and a tad guilty for going off on a sexual excursion. She already knows because you can’t hide your real self forever and your partner will likely be the first to sense it. Now the circuits dead there’s something wrong. He has no sexual electricity any longer for his woman and he can’t understand why. So that’s my offbeat take. Or maybe its about an astronaut that was lost in space and cut off from Huston. Floating in a very peculiar way without gravity around. I merely offer an alternative view. That’s what I do, I listen to words then try to make sense of what I hear in a more abstract fashion. I reconstruct words in search of the true meaning beneath the surface. I also enjoy using the same mental exercise in cinema and this interpretation is my reconstructive take on my all time favorite tale, The Wizard of Oz.
The Wizard of Oz is not just a tale of young girl on an adventure but the story of finding your inner strength, learning that what truly matters is not how much gold and glitter you acquire but how much love you acquire. “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” The underlying messages in the tale are important and a dynamic learning tool for children but there lies underneath a message intended for adults as well. At least I believe there is so that’s why I am looking deep into the story of Oz to find out what meaning it can have for us as presumed adults. Join me down the twisted path of an existential quirky mind to explore the underbelly of a time honored traditional story. If nothing else, you will have an opportunity to exercise your eyes and hopefully your imagination, and perhaps a smile or two as well. To Be Continued