Monthly Archives: July 2007

A Shadow on Mars…

Fleeting Shadow

That’s Mars. There, in the picture to the left.

And, yeah. That’s a picture of a robot’s shadow stretching across the dry Martian soil.

No doubt you read about it or heard it on the news. Mars robot blah blah blah. Opportunity Rover yadda yadda yadda. Conditions that would make the evolution of carbon-based lifeforms possible… and so on.

Business as usual.

But it wasn’t always like this.

When I was a kid, it seemed wondrous that the Russians had got a crude, unmanned satellite to orbit the earth a few times. Amazing when the U.S. put a man on top of a big, intercontinental ballistic missle, pointed it straight up (instead of aiming it in the direction of Russia) and shot him into the lower reaches of outer space.

To say that my greatgrandmother — born in the early 1870’s, less than a decade after the end of the US Civil war — and who was my babysitter/nanny half the week, didn’t believe such a thing was possible was something of an understatement.

She didn’t believe the earth was round.

That’s what she said. And if you pressed her — as I once did, asking, Well, how could you fly around the world, if it wasn’t round? — she might reply, I don’t think they can fly around it. I don’t think they can fly at all. It’s some kind of trick. But your mother and father asked me not to talk about it with you.

There were a lot of things she wasn’t supposed to say around me. She came from anti-slavery people, to be sure, but she also grew up in a very different time… to say she was politically incorrect was to be guilty of another whopping understatement. She wouldn’t let my best friend into the house with me when she was there. I won’t be alone in a house with an Irishman! When my best friend was, like, eight years old.

About a decade later, I’d be coming home from a long day slinging hamburgers in a little joint by the Newport pier and find both my World War II generation parents glued to the TV, very uncharacteristically, in the middle of the day. I went into the kitchen to make a snack.

Don’t you want to come see? They’re just about to come out of the lunar landing capsule. Man’s about to set foot on the moon!

Yeah, yeah. Man on the moon.

The simple space shots of my youth had been so exciting, yet here I was, too preoccupied making a sandwich to rush in to catch every moment. I was, it must be said, 18 years old.

As I sauntered into the den, a paper towel catching crumbs from the cracked wheat and cheese sandwich in my hands, Neil Armstrong was just easing down the ladder.

Of course, we couldn’t make out at the time that he’d uttered his famous “One small step for man…” line. It was pretty garbled.

But I was finally kind of impressed.

Anyway, that was then and this is now and man hasn’t set foot on another heavenly body since that troubled but heady era of the late 60s and early 70s.

At the time, the moon effort seemed extraordinarily high tech — and, certainly, for its era, it was.

But I think back to my old man watching that moon landing only a little more than two decades since he and about 16 other million GIs beat back the Nazis and Hirohito’s troops in World War II. My dad was assigned (on the ground) to a squadron of B-24’s in southern Italy — pretty much like the air corps units in the book and movie versions of Catch-22. If you saw the movie, you saw the kind of planes they flew… a couple engines, a wing and tail, a radio, some guns and a small load of bombs. Not much tech. Pretty much fly by the seat of your pants stuff.

And, now, almost forty years after that moon walk, knowing what I know now, I think back to that rocket, capsule, and lunar landing module and the primitive computational and navigational equipment they were using and the fact that it was a lot closer to the B-24’s my old man’s squadron was flying than to the incredibly high tech, seeing/smelling/hearing/almost thinking robots we now send regularly to other planets — and I’m dumbstruck by the magnitude of the accomplishment of that first flight to the moon.

Amazing. Really amazing.

Fleeting Shadows

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(C)2007, TK Major


Even if I wanted…

Head Full of Crazy, Heart Full of Fire

OK. Responsible guys need songs of lust and yearning, too. (Not that I’ve ever been one but us songwriters like to stretch every now and then.)

Actually, the protagonist’s purported responsibility evolved through the course of several revisions. At first, it was just that he’d invoked the line “… if I had you to sleep by my side / if I had you to be my bride… ” (Which I recall thinking at the time was one of the first time one of my protagonists had ever expressed even a slight desire to get married… though those protagonists are, in other respects, a wildly divergent lot, from saints to the worst kind of sinners.)

But that apparently wasn’t good enough for my fevered, novelty-seeking imagination… because in the next revision of the song, a few years after it was initially penned, I decided to point my motorcycle toward the ramp up to the shark tank with this line: “When his girl loses her head / a man’s gotta think for two.”

The delightfully archaic patriarchalism delighted my perverse sense of humor — and actually seemed to bring the whole conceit of the song (“what it’s like to be a man”) home…

Anyhow, it may seem a pretty straightforward take on the new chastity and I suppose, on one level, it is… but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a few chuckles out of it. I know I did…

Head Full of Crazy, Heart Full of Fire

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previous versions
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Head Full of Crazy, Heart Full of Fire

When I see you
and I look in your eyes
I get a head full of crazy
and a heart full of fire
but I cant talk about it
and I cant act on it
and I couldnt really stop it
even if I wanted
I’m tellin you so that you understand
that’s what it’s like to be a man…

… I work all day and
I sweat in the sun
I’ll work all by life
and I’ll die when it’s done
but if I had you
to sleep by my side
if I had you
to be my bride
if I had you
I’d be glad to be a man

Now I know that you
would really like to stay
but have responsibilities
that must come into play
I must think of what’s right
— what’s right for you
When his girl loses her head
— a man’s gotta think for two
but that’s what it’s like
that’s what its like to be a man
(C)2007, TK Major


I just wanted to get to know ya — not roll with you in the dirt

Stood Up to Your Love

Like Odysseus lashed to the mast, like Hefner sacrificing himself on the altar of satyrdom, he was driven to the edge of madness not by her — because she was only a woman — but by the continual thought of her.

Even when he was with her he longed for her.

Even as the hours got twisted in the sheets caught up between them he found himself scheming to get her back into a bed she hadn’t yet left.

It was really a shame that he didn’t much like her.

Certainly, he thought she was smart enough but vain and self-obsessed in a way that made her seem slow to understand anything that required a stretch of imagination or — more improbably still — a leap of empathy.

But his thoughts collected around the idea of her like iron filings around the end of a magnet. And every time he shook them free they were drawn inexorably back to her… to the idea of her.

Stood Up to Your Love

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Stood Up to Your Love

ya said its hard to love you
and I useta find that true
but now its impossible
no matter what I do (but)

I stood up to your love
I stood up like a man
I gave and gave and gave
until I didn’t give a damn

if this is the best love
ya can shove into my face
maybe you should save it
cause I seem ta lost the taste

I used to see ya
in your fishnets and mini skirt
I just wanted to get to know ya
not roll with you in the dirt

but then thats your idea of love baby
no matter who gets hurt
youre gonna do what youre wanna do
and youll get yours first

well im here to tell ya
best not count me truly yours
cause party of the second part
done just ran around the world

I don’t know how ya lost control
but one day I just woke up
one day I was a zombie
a slave to this thing you call love

the next day the fever broke
the mirror was icy still
I looked for your reflection
as you sat on the window sill
For the first time I saw your eyes
the icey timeless calm
I knew I was almost lost
and my soul was almost gone

(C)1990, TK Major
(C)2007, TK Major


Baby’s still the same…

Little Baby Doll






What good is having free will… if you don’t use it?

Little Baby Doll

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Saturday, October 15, 2005
Monday, February 06, 2006

Little Baby Doll

Baby started something
back in 1986
Baby started coming home
and showing me new tricks
Little Baby
Little Baby Doll

Baby said forever
just takes too much time
but Baby said “I’m here right now
so that should work out fine”
Little Baby…

“Veni, vidi, vici,”
Baby said when she came home
I said that’s fine for Caesar
but Babylon ain’t Rome
Little Baby…

Baby liked to gamble
with the things she said she loved
but Baby blew her hands
when push came to shove
Little Baby…

Baby played the vagabond
Baby played the whore
Baby played with fire
she’s not playing any more
Little Baby…

Saw her on the street one day
but I didn’t call her name
After all this time
I know that Baby’s still the same…
Little Baby
Little Baby Doll
Little Baby…

(C)1993, 2007, TK Major