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Reelin’ in the Years – 2008

It’s 2008 and I’m 46 years old. I remember some difficult years after my father’s passing. Things were unraveling a bit until I got into a new relationship with Ginger (not her real name).

Looking back through my life I see just how much different women have helped to keep me going in the right direction. In my bio, I talk about God and how important that is to me. And yes it is. But God also works through people. And Ginger came into my life at the right time.

Ginger and I went our separate ways but I appreciate the good times and how the relationship helped to get me where I am now.

I’ve never married and don’t have kids. Being a contemplative person can put one a bit out of touch with the latest trends, memes, etc. It didn’t help with my writing much. Trying to connect with an audience when you spend a good deal of time in contemplation isn’t easy.

It’s getting better as I’m older and probably more integrated than before. My conversion was no small or superficial matter. So it took a while to pick up some of the ol’ routines that seemed so worldly and superficial immediately after.

Around this time my niece introduced me to Coldplay. She gave me a CD that I thought was pretty good.

Listening to this song again, I’m thinking a lot of vintage bands lose their spark and a new generation takes their place. We need new generations to keep things fresh. Not just in music but in life itself.

That might sound funny after my 2007 rant about ageism. But I know there’s something wonderful about youth. Talented and creative youth, that is. Conventional, narrow-minded youths bore me like anyone else. And yes, some older people bore me too. Countering ageism isn’t about chronological age. It’s about maintaining our sense of wonder, curiosity, and openness—at any age.

Luke and Rey – Luke is amazed at Rey’s quick grasp of the Jedi fundamentals and her immense potential – via Pinterest

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 IBM’s ageism scandal: 5 ways the company reportedly screwed older workers (fastcompany.com)

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Reelin’ in the Years – 2006

It’s 2006 and I’m 44 years old. 44 is an unlucky number for the Chinese. At least, for those who believe in the I Ching. Hexagram 44 is a time where temptation and darkness can cause real danger.

I Ching hexagrams 0 to 64

I Ching hexagrams 0 to 64 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to consult the I Ching pretty much daily when I was a lot younger. By 2006 I don’t take it too seriously. Basically, I got bored of it never really coming true.

It dawned on me that I was just projecting my own desires onto the hexagrams. And I also believe the Holy Spirit is of a different order than the order talked about in the I Ching. However, I admit, I still notice when I see the #44.

Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’ve been watching the news you’ll know that 2006 is the year Stormy Daniels claims to have had unprotected sex with President Trump.

I guess someone had a bad day…

I recall hearing this song and not thinking too much of it until the extremely catchy chorus. It’s by a Canadian artist who did better in other countries than in his own native land.

That happens sometimes.

Stone Path, The I Ching Trail, Autumn Is Not

Reelin’ in ALL the Years


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Reelin’ in the Years – 2002

Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 2002 and I’m 40 years old. I’m adjusting to Toronto life nicely, after spending almost a decade away.

The city has changed a lot since I was a kid. Not only bigger but a much better cultural and religious mix. Toronto is emerging as a multicultural powerhouse. Traffic is getting more congested, not just at rush hour but earlier and earlier in the day.

One of my favorite pastimes is to browse Dollarama, a Canadian biz success story for the new millennium. As prices soar everywhere else, more and more people are shopping at the dollar store and having a great time doing so. Back in those days, everything was just one dollar. And it was amazing what you could find.

I remember shopping at one of the earliest Dollaramas and hearing this song come over the store speakers. It was perfect. Looking around me, it seemed the shop was full of people from just about every nation and religion on Earth. I was full of goodwill and love for all mankind. A great time to be Canadian. A great song.

Carlos Santana has been around for many years. Our family owned his classic vinyl albums from the late 60s and 70s. He’s always had a tasty playing style but in this tune, the licks are not just tasty but happy.

I think he is one of the great guitarists. Not because he plays a million notes a minute but because he chooses his notes so carefully. And his instrument has such a delicious tone.

English: Carlos Santana Live in Hamburg, Novem...

Carlos Santana Live in Hamburg, November 1973 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Michelle Branch – Wikipedia

In this song, I’d say the vocal performance and lead guitar are about 50/50 in importance. Just like the game of love should be.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Daughtry brings cadre of hits to Palace Theatre (triblive.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 2001

Image – Wikipedia

It’s 2001 and I’m 39 years old. This was an eventful year. I formally converted to Catholicism at Easter in 2001. I remember feeling graces pouring down on me after leaving the church that sunny day.

The other main event, of course, was 9/11. I was with my parents that morning. We had CNN on and saw it happen. I recall thinking, Oh, they’ll just put the fire out and it will be okay. Little did I know I was watching a turning point in history.

In Toronto, the FM of 2001 had nothing to do with the FM I loved in the 70s. FM in 2001 had become what AM was in the 70s but with better, stereo sound. This programming trend actually began in the late 70s/80s but who’s counting…

So here’s a hit I remember liking by the Canadian singer Nelly Furtado. Things are getting better in the pop world; for me, anyhow.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1999

Sonny & Cher during a rehearsal break at ABC T...

Sonny & Cher during a rehearsal break at ABC Television’s Wembley studios on 26 May 1966. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 1999 and I’m having the same problem I had with 1998. I don’t connect with most of the pop charts this year. But I respect Cher for coming back with “I believe.”

She was big in the 70s TV show Sonny and Cher. To resurface with the foresight of where pop would be going… dance, dance, dance… is impressive. But I’m not inspired by the song.

With David Bowie, I respect the artist and happen to like the song “Somebody Up There Likes Me” on the album Young Americans.

Young Americans? Isn’t that another 70s relic?

Well, yes but it was r-e-m-a-s-t-e-r-e-d-i-n-1-9-9-9. Sorry folks, I have to do this remastered trick because maybe I am getting old and just not digging the charts like I used to. 37 years old, moving back to Toronto this year. I bought Bowie’s 1999 CD Hours and was mildly disappointed. But this old hit remains a fav.

Come to think of it, I don’t think my not liking tunes released in ’99 was an age thing as much as an out-of-sync thing. I’ve enjoyed a lot of pop since the EDM explosion. So either I’ve changed, the times have changed or maybe both.

1970s UK Sci-Fi TV show depicting an imaginary 1999 where an explosion breaks the moon free of its orbit – Image http://projectswordtoys.blogspot.ca/2013/08/

Technology is marching forward in ’99. People are burning CD-R/RWs and checking out digital photography. I was a bit slow to shell out for these tech advances so was still pretty old skool in ’99. Film camera. Tapes, CDs and Vinyl.

Earthpages is getting search engine recognition and I’m learning what I’m still learning today. How to get out there and be noticed on the web. Transitioning from an academic to a popular writing style has not been easy. In ’99 I’m either coming off too serious or too glib.

Striking that balance when you’re primarily a religious person who goes to Mass several times a week is not as straightforward as one might think. Ironically, I find that going to Mass enhances rather than squashes my creativity.

I still receive the Eucharist several times a week, something I’ll probably talk about more in years not yet reeled in.

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Billy Bragg’s Bratty Brother (ask.metafilter.com)

 Cher Concert Tickets for Lubbock, Austin, Corpus Christi, Bossier City… (prweb.com)

 Technology shaping the future of music but its soul remains the same (triblive.com)

 Dressing David Bowie As ‘Ziggy Stardust’ (thecut.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1997

OK Computer released by Radiohead in 1997. I like the album/band name but the music never grabbed me – Image via discogs.com

It’s 1997 and I’m 35 years old. U2 releases Pop which for me was a waste of money. One could actually discern the beginning of U2’s slide with Zooropa (1993), Achtung Baby (1991) being a tough act to follow.

Meantime David Bowie releases a strong album, Earthling. I almost chose the song “Little Wonder” from that CD as my fav for ’97 but it doesn’t resonate so much now. I mean, this was 21 years ago and people change.

’97 was the year I completed my doctorate. Hardly a light year. I remember standing in the hall awaiting my examiners’ response after being grilled on my thesis.

Also a TA that year, one of my undergraduate students showed up to cheer me on. He was a bit unconventional and, thinking it would help, started to massage my back while I was standing in the hall. It just made me tenser. I had bought a new suit for the occasion and was afraid he would wreck it while working on my back muscles…

Such is life. I guess I politely asked him to stop. I dunno. Can’t remember exactly.

For Christmas that year I got a greatest hits CD containing the single “Walkin’ On The Sun.”

I like this song’s retro style. 1950s or early 60s, for sure. The lead singer reminds me a bit of Chubby Checker or Bill Haley.

Most of the other pop from ’97 doesn’t age very well. This song harkens back to a classic time of surfboards and beach parties, so still works today. Sort of like that old song “I’m Your Venus” which has been reworked at least twice, I think, for ladies’ razor commercials!

And their kids were hippie chicks or hypocrites
Because fashion is smashin’ the true meaning of it

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

The Number Ones: Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” (stereogum.com)


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Reelin’ in the Years – 1996

Liam Gallagher of Oasis performing at a concer...

Liam Gallagher of Oasis performing at a concert in San Diego, 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 1996 and I’m 34 years old. ’96 is an awful year for music. At least for me. There’s a whole bunch of IMO second rate bands pumping out lousy rock that the kids of that era seem to really love.

These bands didn’t grab my attention. So was I just becoming an old fart, out of touch with the scene or could I simply discern that the music was crap?

Well, the success of these bands seemed short lived and today they’re mostly forgotten. So I tend to go with the “just crap” hypothesis.

The Beatles (sort of) released the Lennon post-mortem reconstruction of “Free as a Bird.” I remember hearing that and feeling some nostalgia but also that it wasn’t quite right. Proof positive that Elton John and Bernie Taupin were wise to say:

And you can’t go back and if you try it fails ~ The Captain and the Kid

No Doubt released Tragic Kingdom which I enjoyed at the time but not so much today. And Oasis had a hit with “Wonderwall”—another one I liked then but not so much now. Listening to that tune last night I was amazed at how Liam Gallagher’s vocals ingloriously drift off-key when he holds a note.

Image via musicdirect.com – Fair Use / Fair Dealing rationale

Yes, I understand that “detune” is cool in EDM but was he doing that on purpose or is he just a crummy singer? I guess a hit is a hit. So he must have known what he was doing. And as I say, I liked it when I was younger.

I don’t remember too much from my personal life for ’96. Probably just working my butt off on the Ph.D., a few friendly and romantic dates here and there, and taking long walks, checking out Ottawa mostly on foot.

I do remember talking to a lot of street people and watching their natural progression from say, just losing their apartment to becoming homeless babes in the urban woods.

I learned a lot from talking with those street people—musicians, drifters, and drinkers, alike.

It was sad and I sometimes tried to help. But after getting scammed by one operator I started giving less and less, with a few exceptions. I guess what I learned most from my long interactive walks is that street people are individuals just like anyone else. No stereotypes really apply to any of them.

The shield from the Coat of arms of Canada. Th...

The shield from the Coat of arms of Canada. The shield was created by a Royal Warrant in 1921, thus out of Canadian Copyright. http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/ceem-cced/symbl/arm1-eng.cfm (Wikipedia)

Anyhow, my fav song for ’96 wasn’t an obvious choice. I really only recall the hook when Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip sings “You are ahead by a century…”

Gord Downie is a hero in Canada. A very brave guy. With terminal brain cancer, he kept performing and advocating for Canada’s First Nations communities, trying to shed some light on one of Canada’s dirty little secrets.

Personally, I think there are more dirty little secrets in Canada. But only time can bring those to light.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. But I look at it as a physician would look upon a desperately sick nation. No cure without first identifying the disease.

So with that said, hats off to Gord Downie, a great Canadian in line with other heroes like Terry Fox and all those who sacrificed their lives or health in the line of military duty, fighting to ensure our country remains “The True North Strong and Free.”

Reelin’ in ALL the Years

 Liam Gallagher On Noel’s Wife: “She’s The Reason Oasis Is No Longer” (stereogum.com)

 North Korean Figure Skaters Make Olympic Debut, To Cheers (gpbnews.org)

 Music icon Quincy Jones says Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen can play guitar ‘just like’ Jimi Hendrix (businessinsider.com)