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Posts Tagged ‘Canned Heat’


“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities—I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not—that one endures.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power


I paused a little bit before using this quote from Nietzsche this morning. The use of anything from a philosopher whose work, and the book from which this excerpt has been taken, had been appropriated and distorted to justify their own ends , by the Nazis is a little risky, especially in this time of rising authoritarianism here and around the world. For many of us, just the title, The Will to Power, immediately conjures up imagery of invading Nazis goose-stepping through conquered cities in their quest for more and more power.

People naturally assume that that the power to which he is referring is ultimate power, ruling power to be  exercised over others. That is how the Hitler and his ilk interpreted it. But Nietzsche was talking about two separate forms of power which are expressed in German as the words Kraft and Macht. Kraft refers to brute force, both physical and mental, while Macht refers to true power. Kraft is the animal force, that primal element that is possessed in all of us. Macht, on the other hand, is the power to control one’s own kraft and use it in positive ways.

Macht is the overcoming and controlling of the kraft within us.

And that’s where we are now. We have two elements within this nation, one who see the power of this nation as pure animal power, and another who recognizes our power– our kraft— but understands that it cannot solely guide our actions and future. It is unsustainable. History shows that clearly. 

So, the question is how do we emerge from this? Do we have the fortitude to endure this tug of war between these two concepts?

Though I have my doubts on some days, in the long run I think we do have the ability to endure, actually.

And as Nietzsche expresses above, perhaps this struggle is just what we need to really move forward. Maybe we need some real hardship and suffering to understand the responsibility of our power. Maybe we need it to finally recognize that we must at some point sacrifice something of ourselves to a greater good, that our bounty does not come without a price.

Many of us have never had real hardship. I am not talking about normal loss and suffering that comes with being a human being. I am talking about widespread hurt that runs through the nation and touches most every citizen. Most of us have never had to sacrifice much for anyone.

Maybe we need the hurt and the humbling. While nobody wants to willingly take on great suffering, there are lessons to be learned from it. Perhaps that one can overcome and endure great hardship is the greatest of these. That and allowing more of us to develop a greater sense of empathy with those who continue to suffer around us.

Maybe we need to simply learn that we can endure.

Maybe then we can cross the divide between us and work together for some greater good.

Let’s hope, okay? 

Hey, here’s some old Canned Heat from about 50 years back with a fitting message for any time. It’s Let’s Work Together. Now, have a good day.


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It was not hard to see the contrast yesterday between the attitude of the oceans of youth that swarmed cities around this country during the March For Our Lives and that of the nation’s current governing party.

These kids are amazing. Stunning, really. They are smart, focused and savvy in the ways of media that goes well beyond their years. They have boldness and strength, a clear-eyed vision of rightness and a true sense of serving the greater good. There is a guileless purity to them that is refreshing and clarifying.

Now contrast that to the politicians who stand opposed to their agenda. The words that spring to my mind are words like cowardly and greedy and self-serving and evasive and deceptive and amoral. Corrupt in every sense of the word. Their craven attitude is bringing this country to the brink of a disaster, enabling a transformation of our democracy that may be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

As Andrew Sullivan deduces in his review this week of the book Can It Happen Here: Authoritarianism in America, it may already have happened and we just haven’t recognized it yet.

It’s hard for me to not think that we at this moment in history are standing on the middle of the yin yang symbol above and we could go either way, into light or into darkness. We need to decide right now whether we want concede our future to those who think nothing of selling that future to the highest bidder and lying to us about doing so.

If the great numbers of people somehow are offended by these kids’ call to action, if they prefer to stand behind the craven cowards in congress and in the white house — neither deserve capital letters in my opinion–then I fear we have already moved into the darkness.

But for today, in the wake of yesterday’s demonstration, I see a little light. I have always been disappointed by the youth vote in this country but I have hope that these kids can take the lead to make it the force it should be. If they can unite behind a few issues they have the numbers and power to change this country. The future is their’s if they choose to take it.

I hope yesterday was the beginning of that recognition in this new generation, as well as in the older generations, like mine, who have been asleep at the switch for much too long.

Okay, for this week’s Sunday morning music I am going back to another turbulent point in our history, the 1960’s and anti-war movement in the wake of the assassinations of MLK and RFK. Here’s some Canned Heat from Woodstock in 1969 doing A Change Is Gonna Come.

Have a good day. But think about which way you want things to go and do something to push it that way. Take a page from these kids– get off your butts and make the world the way you want it.

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We’re in the Fourth of July weekend here but I am pretty busy, with still much to do to finish up work on my show, Self Determination,  for the West End Gallery that opens in less than two weeks, on July 14.

I’m pretty locked in and didn’t even realize until just the other day that the holiday was approaching. I probably will work through the holiday but that doesn’t bother me. It’s my choice, my preference, my freedom to choose to do so.

Maybe that’s what the holiday is about, after all.

I was reading from David McCullough‘s book, 1776, earlier today. His description of our citizen soldiers at the onset of the American Revolution made me feel closer to that spirit of independence. He described them as unkempt and undisciplined, displaying little or no respect for taking orders from anyone but willing to work tremendously hard toward a goal.

I can identify with that.

I thought for this Sunday I would share another favorite song, one that contains some good advice for this divided nation on it’s most unifying of holidays. It’s Let’s Work Together from the seminal 60’s blues-boogie band, Canned Heat. Words to heed and a great rolling rhythm to carry you through the holiday.

I love this video from 1969 on a German music show of the time, Beat-Club. It’s kind of cheesy with bad angles and an audience that seems like they were instructed to under no circumstances show any reaction to the music. And the band is hardly the most photogenic. But it shows the band in its original glory, with lead sing Bob “Bear” Hite and guitarist Alan “Owl” Wilson,  both of who died much too early, Wilson  a year later in 1970 and Hite in 1981.

Give a look and a listen and have a great day.

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Soft Dream of NightIt’s one of those Tuesdays.  I read things on the web and end up gritting my teeth at the intractability of people on both sides of any issue.  Some try to convince you of the truth and rightness of their cause through anecdote, giving dramatic accounts of single events with the hopes that this episode will sway you into seeing the world as they do.  I’m referring to a blog that had a debate on healthcare (among other things) where an anonymous comment came in decrying the horrors of the Canadian healthcare system, illustrating his point by saying he “heard” this past weekend of a story of a patient in Canada who had need of emergency colon surgery and waited three days for an operating room to open up and was finally operated on with only local anesthesia as orderlies held him down.

 When I read that all I could think of was a Seinfeld episode where Kramer, upon telling of a story he heard about Raquel Welch where she climbed the stage scaffolding and began pelting the stagehands below with spotlights, ended by saying “Something like that, it’s just gotta be true!

I am always amazed at the willingness of people to believe so much that they see or hear, no matter how far-fetched, if it serves their own point of view or self interest.  I guess that’s what separates us from the animals…

Anyway, I need something that makes me smile and this song from Canned Heat has always done that for me.  This  is Going Up the Country… 

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