Friday, March 12, 2010

Chapter 13: Cancer

Cancer” will return after these messages.

Chuck-D says, "Welcome to the Thunderdome" (a cinematic reference to a post-apocalyptic gladiatorial arena/abattoir…a people's court of death); well we say, "Welcome to the thump-a-dome!” …like You could have had a V-8. …candy-coating on conventional commercial confections causing cranial cavities?  Nine out of ten thinkists agree that brushing your brain thrice a day with new improved daily SIDzCarboDent will fortify your logic-enamel and lead to better check-ups from the neck up.  Let your mind smile awhile while you stave off the bile of wiles. …in your dairy case.

The Technical Account
After fastidiously filling my thoroughbred synth-stables with breeds the likes of Korg®, Arp®, Yamaha®, and Sequential Circuits®, I had laid out $1,800.00 for a [cue "Psycho" minor second string stabs]…
Casio. [gasp!]

Collective Incredulity
A Casio?  Wait a minute… You paid almost two grand for a [urp!] Casio? …beginners' keyboard with instrument icons and low-grade built-in speakers?  Believe it or don't …once upon a time, Casio—the dollar, ninety-nine keyboard king—was in the professional keyboard biz.

Full disclosure moment:
There was a time when—shamefully—I read “Keyboard” magazine more frequently than I would read the Bible (the fact notwithstanding that “Keyboard” at that time was a keyboardist’s-bible); now I hardly ever read “Keyboard.” [PTL!] I receive so many free pro-mag subscriptions that it makes little cents-sense to pay for effectively redundant information.

Okay. Back to our story…

           “Keyboard” had given quite a favorable review to the Casio FZ-1 sampler, which was a 16-bit keyboard with a 2" x 2" monochrome LCD [that was super high-tech in 1987—the Ensonic® Mirage™ and Roland S-50 era of sub-$2k keyboard samplers]; and it was the second of three pro-Casios that I would purchase.  Hip Hop was jumping [bad pun], and so was the proliferation of a new instrument—as old as humanity itself:  the human beatbox.  In those pioneering days, even after walking to the music store barefoot in the snow uphill both directions, there were no endless selections of sampler construction discs to be purchased.  We'd have to sample the sounds for ourselves, layer them, and assign keyboard areas.  After constructing my “SIDzBeatbox” on my FZ-1 (consisting of gulps, clucks, the ubiquitous standard flatulence sounds, burps, an apple-bite, and a cough), I tested it by sequencing a drumbeat pattern.  Notably, the cough served as "snare"—keeping the backbeat and holding the pocket.

I then tested the pattern by adding other complimenting synth-lines:  a Prophet 600™ bassline and CZ-101™ "Fantastic Piano" sound (from the first of my pro Casio® purchases).  This line became the prominent melody line and steered my direction toward an "Axel F" (Harold Faltermeyer’s) groove.

The song gets its name from the cough-snare—as in lung cancer from smoking.  Co-producer and collaborator Jack had connections with cancer research organizations, and we had then entertained the notion of pitching it for use in a PSA.

As previously mentioned, "The Mμne-Pi Parables" was originally to have been predominantly instrumental.  As lyric after lyric was added to songs, an arc evolved (except for five songs overall, two of which have spoken word elements).  As a result, "The Mμne-Pi Parables" has become a vocal album.  "Cancer" was the last instrumental to turn.

While the "Axel F" model held validity as an Old School reflection, it was monotonous after awhile.  By four minutes of it, it felt to us like it dragged on thrice that.  I got the idea of making a lateral old school move from "Axel F" to "Genius of Love."  Thinking "Genius of Love", I immediately thought of using Sarah Jjirah's (my adult daughter) vocals around which I would build a female vocal ensemble.  It's always a pleasure to work with Sarah Jjirah—who's featured along with her brother Niles rapping non-interpreted glossololia on "Malabala" [on 1999's SCM's "Men in Martian Ice"].  As I poured over ideas in thought, the lyric came to mind:  "Why do they call it cancer, 'cause they can, sir, that's your answer".  In much the same manner that "It's out there waiting, if you know what to find…" speedily ramped me along on my lyrical way with "That Said…" (quickly after following my glossololia word-map), "Lust just smokes that Pop from far from start that's involved in the molestation of noggins for fun" clicked in and the verses just fell into place.

My Mission Statement:


I've long held that the most insidiously vicious attack on society has come through poisonous philosophies.  Philosophies shape visions and for lack of positive visions, people die.  I wanted to write this song-article to voice a warning that I have only thus far been able to do in small gatherings and person-to-person.  I feel it my appointed duty to tell those under the spell of Pop culture's voluminous debaucheries that all it wants to do is use them.  Sadly for all too many, their responsive sentiment is (as it sez in the book of Withers) You just keep on using me, 'til you use me up. …said responsive sentiment, I experienced raising two new-millennial teens.

Everything the world teaches on morality is based on a sliding scale—weighing bad against worse against the absolute worst.  If a young person is sexually-active with one of a few partners, that’s not as bad as those guys who enjoy competitive sexual escapades or the young ladies who have lost count since losing their virginity.  For those of such a mindset, as long as there exists the Springer-Povich freak show exhibitionists, they will have license to be at least not that bad.

Traditionally, young people are indoctrinated to seek guidance from their elders.  In theory it works well—if said elders are morally responsible.  However, in a world where pornography is called adult entertainment, and marriage circumstances adhere to flexible rules that range from those started in traditional houses of worship (ending with the exchange of vows and rings) to shack-up, hook-ups where the participants boast of their needing no paper to prove their love …and everything else between and surrounding.  On entertainment news shows, daring has moved from its legacy of modifying heroism to describing plunging necklines on starlets' gowns, which show everything but nipples—ironically a gender-common anatomical component.

Show business is a business that must show profits.  The music business is a show business, and when it comes to profits, it's all about selling; and sex sells.  As such, poisonous philosophies destroying seeds of righteous hope serve as herbicides these days—destroying so many precious flowers.  Deflowered, the product is made more malleable for mayhem manufacturers who cultivate licentiousness by marketing it as open-minded, evolved, and free-thinking …free of hang-ups (a.k.a. moral compunctions).  For teen me, music became my religion.  My philosophies, planted by my parents, were harvested and reshaped by the Rock stars that gleamed on "In Concert", "Rock Concert", "Soul Train", and "The Midnight Special."  I wanted to be one of them.  I once mused, When and if I die, I wish to be interred in an Anvil® road case.  I laughed gleefully when WAR's front man signed their live lp with, "…Lonnie Jordon drinking wine. …Howard Scott smokin' dope."  And while my Bible-belt parents were guiding me away from teenage sexual activities, Marvin Gaye counter-urged, "…get it on."  In the practice of (mostly) taking every thought captive, I've learned to ask, Did that thought sound like it was from God or from Satan?  Admittedly, I'm not perfect at doing that—which is why I practice.  When I fixate on someone's bountiful, middle-aged midriff muffin-toppling over the designer's intended boundary, I'm quite sure it's not the Holy Spirit nudging my ribs and snickering.  When I divert my eyes from a shapely bundle up ahead of me on the sidewalk fulfilling her jeans to pleasurable points of perfection, I am quite certain that voice screaming What are doing, man?!  We're missing the show, is not that still small voice of God inside airing the complaint.

And when I heard my parents, priests, and preachers warn against fornication, was "There's nothing wrong with you loving me," a valid dissenting opinion or not? …certainly doesn't sound like a true prophetic word.  And what about that word?  When I grew up reading the dictionary constantly, I developed an appreciation for the existence of the many terms available to us with which to communicate our thoughts under a contract of excepted understanding of words and their meanings.  Anyone who has continued reading this far into my blog must understand by now that I do love words.  The problem today is that words are not kept to their meaning.  A politician these days will speak so as-a-matter-of-fact-ly to force through his opinion.  And when called upon to account for his inaccuracies, he will chalk them up to purposeful obvious hyperbole.  Assertions unquestioned become undisputed truth.

In modern song lyrics, the phrase making love ubiquitously appears.  We're told that loving yourself is the greatest love of all—despite Jesus having stated that no man ever hated himself, and also stated that there is no greater love than that of one person laying down his life for another.  With diametrically opposed expressions, there is no room left for compromise; either the world is wrong or Jesus is.  And if Jesus is, He isn't Jesus.  Also, when the same singers who sing about making love sing that God is love, then ispo-facto is God sex?  Or is sex their god?  Marvin Gaye wrote this in his "Let's Get It On" liner notes:  "I don't believe in overly moralistic philosophies.  Have your sex; it can be very exciting, if you're lucky."

The next line of "Let's Get It On" states: "…and giving yourself to me could never be wrong, if the love is true."  The contingency here sounds a little like the author of the line:  "Did God really say that […you would die]?" [Genesis 3:1].  It reminds me of Hitchcock's MacGuffin contingency:

Two gentlemen are on a train sharing a berth, when the man on the right catches a glimpse of a strange item stowed on the luggage shelf above his counterpart's head.
"What is that?" asked Mr. Right
"Oh that," answered Lefty. "That's a MacGuffin; it's used to trap lions in the Highlands."
"But there aren't any lions in the Highlands."
"Oh…" Mr. Right muttered—slightly dejected. "Then I guess it's not a MacGuffin." [Brrrummp!Bummp!]

So giving herself to him turns out to be wrong—whadaya know?  It just so happens the love wasn't true—no liability on his part; the disclaimer was plainly stated.  Sex sells; what is bought?  I've long held that sex is the one highly addictive drug that is the most accessible, and its addiction most easily rationalized.  A close friend of mine, working out his salvation fervently and in sincerity …five days a week, would have a girlfriend over on weekends to quench fires he claimed were allowed by his creator, so as well should his dousing so be allowed. …sounds infinitely less godly as does it ring allegorically serpentine.  If you feel like I feel, baby, then c'mon.  Playing on feelings relinquishes home-court advantage.  The path of least resistance is definitively surrender.  Every Easter Sunday, Oscar Sunday, Superbowl™ Sunday, Memorial Day, 4th of July in (the states), etc., we commemorate the efforts of those who opted to traverse paths of most resistance.  Our heroes have traditionally been those who have in some significant way(s) self-sacrificed for the betterment of others.  It is the triumph of spirit over flesh: the definitive mortal battle.  On this one thing, we spiritual traditional worshipers and New Agers alike concur.  We are spiritual beings operating in a material world.  And to do so requires a material vehicle with which to interact with that which is material.  Human existence is therefore like our eternal spirit beings—in order to form a more perfect union along the material-world freeway—are hitching rides on a carnal delivery truck.  The body is that delivery truck—driven by a most dedicated tunnel-vised driver.  Left unguided otherwise, the truck will make its appointed routes by rote.  Following a course of allure designed toward procreation, it will reach its destination on auto-pilot.  Like an officer commandeering a citizen's vehicle we must be about our spiritual assignments, or we will find ourselves joined in the duties of our enemy.  In popular American society, there are those who are so eager to blame all the world's social ills on religion.  Well, there is good religion and there is bad religion. [Since words are so easily and often stripped of their intended meaning by grey-area licensed colloquialism, I choose to no longer refer to my faith with the word religion.] What is more the case is the sex-colloquialism presented as love. It has had more to do with polarizing our world's societies and politics than anything else in Western civilization.  Religion most often comes under fire when ultimately it is deemed puritanically restrictive toward those wanting to practice whatever…sexually—free of any moral consciousness.

Marvin Gaye (author of the aforementioned "Let's Get It On") is credited with bringing social consciousness [to R&B, at least] with his classic album:  "What's Going On?"  It seems as soon as he had his answer, he had to get it on.

One of the things I'm personally most adverse to is that which would work to control my behavior.  In Marvin's Motown (Hollywood), sex is all there is. He quotes T. S. Elliott as saying, "Birth and copulation and death, that's all the facts when you get down to the brass tacks."

We humans of spirit and flesh are connected to the material world by our senses.  There are triggers that motivate us to want to eat when we are stimulated by the sights and smells of a favorite meal …that cause repulsion through those same senses when we encounter something disgusting.  The genders are designed with curves, beauty, and symmetry conveying health to draw each to the other for companionship.  The tunnel-vised driver knows where he wishes to go only by instinctive controls.  Unless they are controlled, his instincts will control.  If a spirit retrains a driver to yearn for smoke-borne nicotine filling its lungs, eventually he will relinquish control over the matter to the driver—after he learns the route by rote.  Eventually he will live to regret his impotence in matters healthful.  Corruption will have its way, and in some way his existence in some way will prove vain.  There are those who champion food until diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or some other awful results befall them.  There are those who will self-convince that they (again quoting Marvin) "…can't see anything wrong with sex between consenting anybodies" until they find themselves desperately alone and maybe realize that after all, even though they champion the cause of their own godship…through it all, they were being controlled.

To serve God and humanity through the humanities, truth and lie must be earnestly vetted.  When proficient prolific professionals create per their programming, they recreate and reinforce the views of their source.  If the voice is God's, the recreation is Godly; if not, it is not.  Jesus wants us to have life and life more abundantly.  The enemy comes but to steal, kill and destroy.  Then taking into account all the empirical evidence concerning a specific behavior, one can logically ascertain by benefit versus detriment, if it is gifted from heaven or the pleasure from hell.

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