RIP John Tout…..the first keyboardist for Renaissance….The progressive rock standard bearer.

On the morning of May 4th, I got a notice that John Tout, the man who was on piano and other keyboards for Renaissance, during their ‘Classic Five’ era passed on. His journey around the sun ended on May 1st, but that was just his physical body. It’s the work, the influence and the joy he brought to all of us that is going to live on.

While he was not front and center in the band as Annie Haslam, Jon Camp or the late Michael Dunford were….John along with Terence Sullivan …who was on drums…were the time keepers of the band. Well that is a little simplistic, John’s mastery of the keyboards…..from their first album ‘Prologue’ to ‘Azure d’ Or’ which comprised the ‘Classic Five’ collection was unmistakeable. As impressive as Stravinsky or Prokofiev…..as laid back cool as Dave Brubeck….as effortless as Oscar Peterson…while making his name in progressive circles as important as Rick Wakeman, Keith Emerson, Tony Banks, Michael Pinder, Richard Wright or even Richard Tandy. That is one hell of a group to be a part of.

If one wants to understand how broad this range is, give a listen to any of the following songs by Renaissance and you will get the overall gist:

– ‘Prologue’

– ‘Kiev’

-‘ Can You Understand’

– ‘Ashes Are Burning’

– ‘Running Hard’

– ‘Mother Russia’

– ‘Trip To The Fair’

– ‘Can You Hear Me’

– The Captive Heart

– ‘Day Of The Dreamer’

– ‘As Song For All Seasons’

– ‘Jekyll and Hyde’

– ‘The Flood At Lyons’
He excelled and extracted  deep emotions feelings  in the compositions through his playing, be it on a grand piano to electric keyboards from Moog, Yamaha, ARP, Mellotron and others. In the process, he taught us all HOW it is done. Which is what the next generation[s] of keyboardists for Renaissance were to follow.

Peter Gosling, Mick Taylor, Rave Tesar, Mickey Simmonds, Tom Brislin, Jason Hart and others have had some pretty big shoes to fill and 88’s to knock out. But if John Tout was not there in the beginning……then the lessons would not have been given, the standard would not have been set. But we were blessed, in concert, on disc and on the radio to hear, to enjoy…to be taken on one hell of an aural trip thanks to John Tout.

RIP Bro…..

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Not so much a May-Day per se…

RFLKRNEW1197While there is a bad pun implied, most folks out there know that when there is a May-Day call made, it means there is an emergency. A malfunction on an airplane or a boat and a need for expedited, immediate assistance. That is not the case here, well at least in the health vein. Perhaps in the housing arena, but that issue and the strategy behind same will not be played out here, seeing that would be petty, trifling…as well as uncalled for and even something out of the ‘prior restraint’ ballpark.

Those items mentioned in the above litany, the health ones we can talk about. Yes, the 100lb drop has been accomplished and when all adjustments, etc were made..it’s official. That drop from the high of 283 lbs, the same number that caused my bro Steve the Cardio to read me the riot act a few years back…..has been achieved. While it was a matter of changes to the diet, removing items that needed to be …exercising more, avoiding the traps of the fast food joints that seem to crop up in some neighborhoods, more than they would others. As well as being around those who are genuinely supportive about what is going on. ‘Genuinely’ being that they care beyond the ‘hi, how are you…how are the cats’ level of conversation etc [Be they **** or others *S*]. And this goes for the members of ‘The Gang Of Five’ and their staffs as well.

RFLKRNEW1199That level of honesty and intellectual intimacy is wonderful. As well as rare. If only due to the fact that this world….and in particular, many in my generation practice this…have turned being dishonest in relationships into an art form [which at times, seems to be rewarded by those who also delineate things based on race, religion, class, aspired to status, as has been mentioned in previous posts]. A rather sick art form….and in it’s own way, contributes to the lower and lower levels of discourse that does exist. It is any wonder then why the younger generation [not the folks I hang out with …as in the aunts and uncles to Rae and Marty]…but quite a few in the younger age groups take their cues on how to interact, relate and deal with family relationships etc from us and then fail. Miserably, as well as inflict some rather ugly emotional pain on others, if only because we tend to want to do same and then wear the entrails of those like medals from a battle. Strange, isn’t it??

But the ones who I run with [along with the cats] they are and continue to be aces. Yes, in spite of the rather visceral way that humans tend to act, that family of mine [created not genetically ascribed to] has helped to keep me grounded. Happy, thought provoked, engaged and needed. Which in it’s own way, accounts for why I do not look anywhere near the biological odometer number…..let alone STILL GET CARDED. Pretty darn cool, huh??*S*

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So that is it for now. I will leave the other social and political interjections for another time…or for other minds who have a higher tolerance for the bile and excrement, that those who really have little interest in the society acting in a human willingly inflict on the rest of the planet. As usual…til next time…from the land of the colourtini….enjoy the pics as the words fly through the air.

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Sidd Finch Lives again….

RFLKRNEW1170No I am not channeling my inner George Plimpton, however, seeing this is the day this is being posted, it is rather apt. For those who do not remember, look up on the Sports Illustrated site for what this is in reference to *S*

In any event, we celebrate here …..in addition to this being Marty’s first Easter, it is also time to honor the fact that the fast held.Yep…..and of all things, we do have a floor for the weight. It is not 180, rather it is 190lbs. Now granted, it is 10 lbs off of where I wanted to be, which was 180. Hence I could scare the daylights out of Steve the Cardio in May. Only kidding there, I love the guy like he is my brother and we do kid each other during those visits. No different than with my other docs. However, the 190 is one hell of an accomplishment, considering where things were before. As Rachel my oldest cat could tell you, as the ‘gang of five’ could tell as well……I was so far out of shape and close to other crap 3+ years ago, that Steve did read me that infamous ‘Riot Act’. Now…well you see the results here.

RFLKRNEW1180As for everything else going on..Marty is fully a member of the family and while I do get a tad upset that she decides to wake me up ad the oddest of hours, as long as she and Rachel are happy and healthy, that is what matters. In addition to same, the fact they do not get near any of the water in this place or any part of the plex helps a great deal. The city has really not gone out of it’s way to make overall improvements to other aspects of life in this section of town, outaide of some isolated pockets, so the issue with the water is nothing new. Hence, as long as they are going to be…pardon this…jerks about the issue, the kitties will be on filtered water. As well as being careful about their other food. No different than how I am about my own diet.

Before closing this out two other thoughts:

– One has to wonder if what has happened in the midwest was some type of karmic response to how some, in the name of fairness put themselves above the law or, have usurped the issues facing other groups, which have been part of their dialog and struggle for years. What that midwest state did in their recent passing of a draconian bill was and is another definition of insanity, but some of those who are saying they are the  ‘downtrodden’ [again not my friends or those I am close to due to other reasons, I mean those adults who are setting this example and those who are gullible enough to swallow same] have made it easy for such legislation to be passed by acting in ways that are myopic, selfish and egocentric. There are several other states that have similar bills pending and if they pass, it will show to the rest of the world, we are becoming more and more balkanized. As well as showing that Margaret Atwood was right about where we were headed. And if this seems a little out of place, keep in mind that Bill Maher said basically the same thing, in a piece about how the left has a similar, mirror version of those not playing with a full deck as the right has. Hence,  great minds do think alike.

RFLKRNEW1186– A couple of the pics here were from a bit of an experiment, due to the fact that…..yes, we can do this as well [As well as being inspired to do so by some of ‘my kids’…who are aces]. There is a rather vicious and ugly narrative out there, be it internal to minorities, as well as those who are ‘anglo’ [not all….so let’s get that straight now] that we should not do this. It’s wrong, emulating the ‘master race’ and other assorted horse manure. To that I say BS, we can…and there is basic, simple biological science that can back me up on this, 6 ways from Sunday. As well as the fact that, limiting one to what is [SIC] ‘part of one’s genetic or social makeup’ due to some lowered form of expectations is another form of insanity. Lord knows I do not buy into that, my friends do not do so either…..one has to wonder why the hell others do.

 

RFLKRNEW1184So with that…there is the latest dispatch…and til next time….from the land of the colourtini…enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air.

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Back in business….YAY

RFLKRNEW1173For those who are wondering, yes….that title is accurate. Reason being is that last month, the former laptop here decided to go to the PC version of ‘Boot Hill’. This was after connecting a USB cable for a wireless extension. But, it had been acting up for a while. However, Yours Truly being the geekette she is…..had tried to coax a few extra sessions out of it. Those did happen, but one morning, it died. More like the motherboard and the reading of the drive in same did.

Hence I was on the smart phone doing with little business I could there. That particular phone was and is here for the purpose, initially as a backup and then just to do minor things to keep connected with the outside world. That did help, although thanks to a limited income, the best phone and service available did have or rather, has some slightly limiting quirks to same. I will not go into detail about those because I am happy it, a Kyocera Event is still working. Which is a darn sight better than the alternatives.

In any event, I did purchase a new PC, a Toshiba with an AMD/ATI processor and graphics chip. While around here that could be seen as siding with the enemy [seeing the main firm in town for this is Intel], I am a big fan of AMD products. A lot of this has to do with the speed of the chips in question, which arrive to be placed in the PC overclocked. This results or rather, can result in a much faster system, be for use in gaming or for other purposes. Along with that fact, the new screen is pretty darn cool too. Same size as the last….but with a cleaner overall viewpoint. And after transferring files, pics etc over to the new PC, it became apparent that this was a good move overall. The graphics will show not just the good in one’s visage, but if there are problems…..those will be on the screen, in full living color. So I need to make sure anything I do does measure up to a high standard and that is not a bad thing. Also pics of **** and others look fantastic on this system, other pics tend to show that the effort, at times leaves something to be desired.

RFLKRNEW1171After the downtime….when there was limited online time, I had hoped to maybe, just maybe see something in the way of maybe some improvement in the level of discourse. To be honest, that did not happen, it seemed that the ‘adults’ who I am ashamed to say, I am a part of due to my years [even though I STILL GET CARDED!!!] have shown more and more of their rather myopic, bubble-centered and limited way of processing information. What is even more disturbing, is that this is a part of the social conditioning that not only happened in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, but is being passed on to the next 2-3 generations. Warped ideas about how the society should work, patronizing of those who [SIC] ‘are not like us, but are close to us due to a “common struggle”‘ [another oxymoron….but that is going to be saved for another time], as well as some using ideas from an era, where mankind came as close to having a mass level of insanity…but changing adjectives and descriptors in same to justify social movements. I know, this is a bit on the frightening side, if only thanks to this, it shows that humans have not really learned a goddamned thing in the years, the 70 years since that mass psychosis. In spite of the warnings from those as diverse as Rod Serling, Paddy Chayefsky, Margaret Atwood and Kenneth Johnson….among others. Makes one wonder how in the hell we even dare to claim we are better than our four-legged companions.

RFLKRNEW1172There is a cure or cures to what was in the above paragraph, but it would mean some out there getting out of their tribal mindsets and doing what is really in the name of the greater good. Even if those ideas for fixes are not ‘pretty’ or even politically correct. It will also require that people get out of the space where they co-opt the issues of others to justify their own actions, especially when those doing the co-opting have issues that are, more or less mutable ones, vis a vis those which can be seen on the street, the classroom, the emergency room readily. The other word for this is ‘sacrifice’, no different than in baseball. And that being done so for the right reasons, as well as being careful that one is doing so for those who really do need the help, as opposed to those who have a twisted desire to cut the pie larger for themselves and thinner for others.

Before closing this out…the pics are a mid-fast set. Each year I do this: no red meat, no excess sugars, no fast food, no Gatorade, Powerade and other drinks along those lines. My docs like the fact I do this….my cats do….and I think others have noticed the improvements. While to some…and Lord knows why….this runs counter to some illogical form of conventional wisdom, if running counter means I am around longer and in the process, do not have the visage look like a joke, then I am happy,  have done my job…and then some.

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So there you have it….and until next month….from the land of the colourtini, enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air.

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And now there has been a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel…

RFLKRNEW1164For one, let’s start out that this is being posted on one of the semi-official holidays in the US. Hence….the top in this pic should give a hint as to who the kitties and I are rooting for. While I will not say exactly who…let’s say their coach has the nickname of ‘DR EVIL’ and for some reason, that appeals to me :)

Secondly…..some of the issues in this plex are on their way towards some sort of resolution. Again while not actually going out of the way to break a confidence between my caseworker and I, what can be said is that while her hands are tied by some of how the state handles such issues, she agrees with me that the mechanics of same stink and hurt those who want to do the right thing. This was at the last meeting I had with my CW and since then…..a few of those who were causing the problems have either left on their own, or have been thanks to the courts, removed. Either way, this is an improvement.

RFLKRNEW1166As for the landlord, this means a few less headaches, for the tenants like myself, the above means we have some peace in the place. Which means I can get back to writing, tutoring and the cats will not be worried out of their minds due to the noise. Which was at all hours, thanks to the fact that due to some rather sad shortcomings in social policy…parts of town have become dumping grounds for those who the city does not want in the main business or residential districts. Portland is not unique in this, just that it is the most stark example of same. One has to hope at some point that this type of insanity does end at some point….it makes us, as a country look like a laughingstock to the rest of the world. With lowered standards each and every day/month/year.

RFLKRNEW1167Enough of that for the time being, there are others who can do social commentary with a little more flair and have a wider audience than I do. Back to the pics for a second: the diet is working like crazy. REALLY working like crazy….in a way where items that about 18 months ago or so would have been difficult to wear are now items I am swimming in. So getting to that magical 180 lbs. is really within sight and that is where I am hoping to keep things. Once again, I know that to some, those of us who have an even suntan actually wanting to lose some mass to stay healthy may seem to be ‘out of character’ or a ‘revolutionary act’ …but as has been mentioned to **** and others, there are some folks here who have a little time, effort invested in making sure the OEM equipment here still works. So I am not crazy about throwing away those good works, or what has been gained in the meantime in the way of energy…as well as looking as though I can and still get carded at places like Target. Vain???Perhaps….but I do not want to be in a position where I would look like I am headed toward ‘God’s Waiting Room’, to paraphrase one of my heroes, Digger Phelps.

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So for this month that is what is going on.And for those celebrating on the 14th, here’s hoping the result is not like what happened in Chicago on that same day, way back in the 1920’s. Or to paraphrase Yes…no need to be the ‘owner of a broken heart’. Til next month….from the land of the colourtini….enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air.

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We made it through a year…..hoping for better…

RFLKRNEW1146Well it’s the beginning of another year. And thankfully we made it through the last one. And while the ‘we’ here means that there is a new ‘Marty’ in the house, the term still applies. ‘We’. If only due to the fact that Rae and I made sure the new kid understood the paw prints she was going to inherit. And she has done so in fantastic fashion.

This year was also a big one….no pun intended….due to the fact that the health has stabilized. As has been mentioned in the daily dispatches to **** [as well as to others, but I make sure she gets them first] the loss here is 86 lbs. For all intents, that means I lost a person here. Ok…yeah…that may seem a little on the ghoulish side, which was not the intent.But how this happened was an issue of keeping faith with the diet. With few exceptions like holidays…..but staying true enough to that. Cutting even more of the convenience foods out of reach [as in dropping Pizza Hut off of speed dial], exercising more and of course….paying attention to the guidance by those who are in the ‘Gang of Five’…[vis a vis the CW that has been mentioned before, by those who only pay attention to those who want to be a part of the crowd, as opposed to doing the right thing…let alone understanding one does not need to ingest certain chemicals to do same.If one has been reading along , they know what my status is…and that just because I am not on a particular protocol does not mean I am an ‘unperson’. That status, the terms associated with same are and always will be 1/xxxx of what goes on here and is not the prime reason for the existence. After all there are other things….as one can gather by reading further, as well as looking up other posts from this front]  In particular, Steve the Cardio. It cannot be stressed here enough that it was him and the others who gave a damn and made sure that I did not repeat the incident of where the heart came close to shutting down and yours truly would end up being ethereal.

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Of course, as you can gather from the pics, this means I look different than I did 18 months ago. Thinner, happier and younger. Not that much younger, but gee….I still get carded at Target and other places. There is a certain amount of truth in that if one keeps themselves young at heart, as well as takes care of themselves, what they ingest and who they hang around…the benefits…internally and externally are many and legion.

In re: the latter point, I have made some wonderful, fantastic friends via social media. To some the fact that the number[s] are low…it speaks to the fact that I want to be around those who are quality folks. The ones I want to run with, if we lived in town go to a movie or a concert with….and of course, have them meet Rae and Marty. Trust me on this….TheRoyalBadnesses are over the moon that their mom is in such good company. And that some of them are the same ones I say goodnight to, at least their pics when logging off [as in **** and those other same ones]. It’s a matter of all of them meaning that much….and some who I have met in the latter part of this year have caused the heart to look forward to the next 365…and beyond. And if we can ever get that devil of an issue with the family shop and the old man’s trust straightened out…maybe have a little funding to go visiting some of these folks. With the cats along ….after all they would kill me if I did go on that kind of a trip but did not offer to bring them with me, seeing I had already promised them a trip to Arrowhead and The Murph at some point down the line.

Oh yes…before this ends….I am still doing the tutoring…still being a net mom. I love the fact that I am. There is something to be said about being needed..passing on some life lessons and having fun in doing so. And when that happens with folks where there is a lot of love and good vibes, hell that is all the better. [A couple other things would make this even more so, those following along know what those are……and that includes seeing Renaissance if and when they come out this way on their next tour….HINT HINT HINT].

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So there you have it…and here is hoping that this coming trip around the sun is a damn sight better than the last for the world, as well as improving on what happened here. So from the land of the colourtini……enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air.

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While not an Endless River, there is some good in the Time-Line

RFLKRNEW1136I realize some are going to see the header and thing this is going to be a progressive rock review piece. After all, what is mentioned there were titles of albums by Pink Floyd and Renaissance, respectively. And there is a connection, a somewhat strong bridge in same. Read along and you will see what I mean.

For one…an endless river here can refer to the issue of life still going on and what has been before still doing so. Yes, yours truly still tutors [with Rae and Marty listening and looking in seeing their Mom rock how to tutor *S*] and is extremely happy when I do because the person I do this for, they get a great grade. Something to put on the CV….a smile on their face. While this has been said here before, this does bear repeating. Especially in light of the turn our society is taking…where some…no matter how much good they do …are minimalized or marginalized due to, dare we say this…a melanin level due to genetics. It stinks that one has to do this in order to remind some that not all are like the rather strongly reinforced stereotypes.

RFLKRNEW1134So what you have above here is the good that has happened in the ‘Time-Line’, which while not…as my bro Jon Camp would call a ‘Cliff Richard Cue’ in it’s entirety, it is a way of saying there has been some good that has happened. I am reminded of how and why I should be thankful for same each time there is an errand/food run. Those I refer to as the ‘Abnormal Psychology Courses…101, 201, 301 and Graduate Level ‘ outings, if only due to how insane the world has become. How divisive as well as dismissive of others, barring they belong to a similar, particular tribe. While there are pockets of where this is not the case, it is more common than many of us are willing to admit, willing to say or willing to fight against. On the last part of the previous sentence, that is something which does not bode well for what the future may be, barring a major miracle. And as Mets and Steelers fans will tell you, those do not happen ever day.

 

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There you have it…..and the next time there will be a dispatch will be after the turn of the new year. As for the pics in this post, they were done to check again on the progress of the diet, as well as to make sure that I really can shock the daylights out of my primary member of the ‘gang of five’ when I see her in a few weeks :) Until the next posting…..from the land of the colourtini….enjoy the words as the pics fly through the air.

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