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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Comment of the Moment: "Neil Young is likened unto Michigan weather"

Neil Young
Manchester, England - 3/11/08


Ah, the drama and hoopla that revolves around all things Neil Young.

We're not going to try and recap the latest developments on the Americana reaction thus far. For a refresher, see here.

The Comment of the Moment is from A Neil Young Critic Drifts Into Self-parody by BIGCHIEF:
Most of us have been NY fans long enough to know that he changes musical directions as erratic as a moth in a lampshade.

It's nothing new with Neil.

The only major difference I see was the advent of the internet and 'fan blogs' offering so much information about the mostly reclusive and eccentric artist who rarely gave interviews forcing his audience to draw upon their imaginations to not only interpret his music but his life in general which bordered on mythological with a great measure of 'mystique'. Rock journalists were rarely kind to Neil causing him to even further recoil away from mainstream media. Other then the 5 or 6 songs that Classic Rock stations still play to this day from his vast catalog, unless you had a 'Neil Friendly' fan for a friend or were fortunate enough to have an older brother or sister who turned you on there's a good chance that you would be among the majority who 'just don't get it'.

So even back in the day when he followed Harvest with the 'Ditch Trilogy' only to re-emerge with Crazy Horse with the brilliant Zuma, if you weren't a fan on top of his game this would all be lost on you. For those of us who remained faithful to the often ecclesiastic artist, we've been treated to moments of brilliance. that pattern continues to this day. Unfortunately, many so called 'fans' draw their conclusions from others often misguided opinions from others without fully researching Neil's artistic endeavors for themselves.

I remember the Neil boost I got when I watched his performance of 'Rockin In The Free World' on S.N.L. or the Bob Dylan Tribute when he did 'Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues & All Along The Watch Tower'. In my opinion those two TV appearances were not only highlights in Neil's career but those performances were among the greatest moments in televised Rock-N-Roll period.To the 'Americana' detractors, the rumored double LP ready for release this fall of original material will be, as poncho put it, more in the vein of 'Ragged Glory'.

Neil Young is likened unto Michigan weather. If you don't like what you got today, stick around a while. whatever suits you is probably just around the corner.

Thanks BIGCHIEF!

Hopefully Crazy Horse hits the road soon and we can really get down to business.

For more, see The Americana-ness of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Americana.

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34 Comments:

At 6/28/2012 08:45:00 AM, Blogger dean farinha said...

Nice!

 
At 6/28/2012 01:34:00 PM, Blogger no one said...

A well written piece that, with all due respect, doesn't say much. Like we all don't know that Neil is likely to produce something completely different and unexpected - the question is, will it be any good?
And then, of course, Matthew will chime in to ask " what is any good?"
There is some kind of consensus here that no one has the right to a critical opinion of Neil Young's work, that it's all one song means that it's all the same quality from beginning to end. Any one who claims otherwise is subject to torrents of abuse from those who profess to objectivity while continually refusing to be objective.
I read back last night through all the discussions surrounding Fork in the Road. The heart of the discussion occurred when Thrasher wrote that, paraphrased, "if you're waiting for another classic album, you may have a long wait." (if you don't believe he wrote this, go back and read the discussion threads,)
Thrasher has stolidly refused to address the implications of this statement for years. He ignores the fact that he wrote that, in essence, " You're going to have a long wait for another great Neil Young album. " But that's what he wrote and he's right... There is no indication from his recorded output over the last few years that Neil Young is capable of producing great works of art. If you disagree, fine... but your opinion is not only contrary to the collective critical opinion of rock criticism, it is contrary to the opinion of the site's host as expressed in his own words, even if he doesn't have the balls to admit it. Which is a shame, because there is a fertile ground for conversation and analysis if you are honest enough to confront the issue.
What's especially frustrating is that it was suggested, during the ranting over Fork in the Road, that recording an album of cover songs, such as had been done by Dylan and Springsteen, might serve as a means to an artistic renewal. That suggestion was reviled by many of the same people who are so vociferously defending Americana. And, once again, Thrasher is silent.
So fire away .... I don't give a shit.

 
At 6/28/2012 01:59:00 PM, Anonymous LRR said...

I'm singing these borrowed words, I took from the public domain,
Jamming with Crazy Horse,
New music on my brain

 
At 6/28/2012 02:03:00 PM, Blogger Dominic Holdem said...

i think it's very clear that no one will continue to spam this blog mercilessly until we all agree that neil young is a piece of shit.

ok, neil young is a piece of shit. now go away.

 
At 6/28/2012 02:58:00 PM, Blogger dean farinha said...

"no one" is really Neil string up controversy to gain free advertising.

 
At 6/28/2012 04:17:00 PM, Blogger Columella said...

The issue here, it seems to me, is not that everyone needs to admit that Neil is a piece of crap (a song I quite like, actually), but simply to admit that Neil's output isn't always the best. It would be much more interesting to have a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of various Neil albums, as some are trying to do, than to simply say that Neil can do whatever he wants to. Of course he can; the issue is whether that has value or not, and if so, how much, in the larger context of his collective output. I doubt many people on this site dislike Neil, but many, a group in which I count myself, do feel some of his work is sub-par. Saying everything is always great is as boring as you can get as far as cogent discussion goes.

Regarding the album at hand, I've been listening to Americana off and on since it came out. It's OK. I've found it works better when listened to a few songs at a time; all together, it gets rather tedious. The problem isn't Neil, though, it's Crazy Horse, and more specifically, Talbot and Molina. Molina's drumming in particular is B-O-R-I-N-G - leaden and plodding. Song after song of that is tiresome. And they can't sing. But that's a minor issue. There seems to be a tiredness or lack of creativity from the Horse this time round - strange given the lack of activity with Neil. They are literally pounding it out, without feeling and even without much thought it seems.

I went back and listened to Re-Ac-Tor, a critically panned Neil album I happen to like, and the difference in the Horse is amazing. On that album, they sound alive, aggressive, into it. The songs sizzle. The same can't be said for Americana.

But Americana isn't horrible...just dull and tedious in places. The song sequencing could have been better - stick "Wayfaring Stranger" up further in the playlist, and it would break up the monotony a bit. (That's a good version, although I prefer Emmylou's). And can the kid's choir, ferchrissakes.

It's OK to be a huge Neil fan and to not like everything he does, and at the same time acknowledge he can do whatever he wants. He's Neil, that's the way it is. But still, when he's slacking off, I feel I have a right to at least point that out.

Charlie

 
At 6/28/2012 06:59:00 PM, Blogger Matthew L. said...

What is "any good", anyway?

 
At 6/28/2012 07:40:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

In regards to 'No Ones' response to my comment, the context of my comment wasn't as much about the quality of Neil's recent releases or the lack thereof, but more so about how as fans we now have a forum to discuss our approval or frustrations as we never had in the past. And regardless of what anybody might say, Thrashers site is the only place to go to participate in these discussions. Neil's creative output has been all over the map since the beginning. However, other then your buddies or your priest, where could you go before to exchange dialog concerning this matter? Maybe with another fan while waiting in line to buy tickets at the venue before Ticket Master was conceived? Over the past several years Neil has acquired a cult status among his fans probably only second place in popularity to the Grateful dead. This was accomplished mostly by word of mouth due to the lack of promotion whether on the part of Reprise or less then enthusiastic Radio Station programmers. However, with the advent of the Internet and fan sites of which ThrashersWheat being chief among them, there has been an explosion of interest in Neil's career that he had never enjoyed previously. As a long time fan, I'm so grateful to be a part of this great site and enjoy the back and forth banter among fellow Rusties whether I agree with their point of view or not. I believe that some of us may take this site for granted in that not only doe's it's host provide us with a forum to have these discussions but is unique in that he also participates as well as staying on top of the latest Neil related news and information in just about every aspect of Neil's life and career. This is the first place I go to as a source even above and beyond Neil's own website. So really, if Thrasher ever decided to pull the plug there would be a lot of lost souls out there, myself included. So once again, Thank you Thrasher for the effort you put into this thing and for your patience above all.

 
At 6/28/2012 07:45:00 PM, Blogger dean farinha said...

The problem is the people that want to have in-depth conversations about weather or not the music is worth listening to or not, aren't really in a position to judge. "Worst Album, EVER!" Thank you Comicbook guy.
Did any of you hear Billy Corgan on Stern last week? He went on about Neil. I'm not a Billy Corgan fan but his opinions come from somewhere. Like him or not, he's accomplished in the business and can recognize Neil, and others for keeping rock alive. I sense a lot of opinions on the net come from angry people with no other outlet. I'm fine with it. Better here than on a tower somewhere. Just saying.

 
At 6/28/2012 08:05:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

No One,
I am on record saying I'm not a fan of FITR at this time ... I'm still hopeful it will click for me someday ... if it doesn't I'm fine with that ... I'm also on record saying Le Noise holds up to just about anything he's put out ... you're entitled to your opinion .... basically you're saying you're having trouble connecting to Neil's new stuff ... I feel for you bro ... but its my opinion that anyone who lambasts Neil's output over the last 7 years, and can't find something there to revel over ... I think its their individual issue ... they're out of sync with what he's doing ... I have no interest in rubber stamping anything Neil does, never listened to Fork more than a few times and don't even own it ... but its hard to argue with a credible face that there's nothing to love between Le Noise, Greendale, Prarie Wind, CD II, ect ... bottom line is don't bash the fans that are really groovin to the output and don't bash Neil for doing what he's always done ... perhaps turn the mirror inward and realize you've gotten off strides with Neil ... it aint working for you ... with "you" being the operative word ... no hard feelings, I actually like and agree with some of your comments previously ... Americana in my view is a joy, makes me feel good, I'm ecstatic to see Neil back with the Horse, they're going on tour ... smile life is good as a Neil fan ... the shows are fabulous ... he's in his 60s and jammin, Demme's putting out some epic films, their's a memoir or journal coming, admit it its pretty good right now even if you don't love every album like EKTIN

 
At 6/28/2012 08:52:00 PM, Blogger dean farinha said...

FITR is a car guys album. I listen to it in the garage when working.

 
At 6/28/2012 09:27:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature said...

Where is. Columella reading that no one thinks Neil is a piece of crap? This is a guy or gal whose been in step with Neil since EKTIN. Unlike Marian and i teenybopper fans of Neil since the early Buffalo days when he was THE teen heart throb. Justin Beiber and Neil have more in common than their Canadian roots and guitar chords. (Can you imagine Dylan being the object of desire for so many 10!year old Tweens?


Okay back to no one. He should be welcomes here as anyone else. All he is saying that the redundancy can be a little boring. No reflection on Neil or Thrasher but it ianazes me what our expectations are when we listen to music. Crazy horse vocals use to blend - Neils tenor with DW baritone. I've seen Molina rock it all the way to the moon on his drum kit and Talbot become one with the bass line. I don't hear singing on Americana. I hear a lot yelling into the mic and can only tolerate some of the songs as the background buzz saw in a day at the gallery which is five star. Thanks for allowing us to stream that and I look forward seeing it in a theaters!

I

 
At 6/28/2012 09:41:00 PM, Anonymous Mother N. said...

Whoah! The pads in my fingertips are not made for these ittybitty iPod keypads,.

 
At 6/29/2012 09:01:00 AM, Anonymous growl said...

Everyone (and no one) is entitled to their opinion. And in a free world, at liberty to share them. But if "no one" should see a car he disapproves of on the street, I would advise against knocking on the owner's door and telling him, "Your car sucks. And by the way, your haircut went out of fashion years ago. While I am here you may as well know your wife is ugly and your kids are obnoxious". Even if he is 100% right on all counts this would not be a good way to behave and he should not be too surprised if the car owner/husband/father is less than welcoming of his input. If you doubt this, give it a try next time you are strolling (or trolling) around your neighbourhood.

With regard to Americana, I think High Fyin' Bird is epic. But then, I like FITR, think Sleeps with Angels is Neil's finest album. And I despise the Toyota Prius, but promise not to leave a note explaining my views under your wiper if I see your's parked in my street.

 
At 6/29/2012 09:08:00 AM, Blogger dean farinha said...

@ Growl
lol That made me laugh.

 
At 6/29/2012 10:06:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Great comment as always from Big Chief, especially when you listen much to what he's saying. So true about the SNL performance and then Bobfest. Those twin performances of Rocking in the Free World and All Along the Watchtower will stand as towering peaks in the history of rock and roll. Always nice to remember back and revisit. Keep the faith and thank you sir!

 
At 6/29/2012 10:29:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature said...

I like high flying bird. The choir on god save the queen matches the visual images in the day at the gallery to a tee. There are some gems on this one.


Big chief states it perfectly why we're all here. We are only human doing what humans do under anonymity, however I am what I am. My mom & dad and bros will always ask me if I'm going to see Neil young "this time". Or if I saw or heard this or that about him. Nobody ever has an issue finding a gift for me. That is the beauty of being a real fan. My bros bought me tix to his show this time and i sorta winced saying i wasnt sure about this one bc my experience w/ crazy horse fans is not good. They laughed "its a rock concert not a symphany in a concert hall!!!! LOL But my family comes first so i will be the first to give it all away. Cant take it with you.

 
At 6/29/2012 01:43:00 PM, Blogger Matthew L. said...

@ Dean - I'm a big fan of FITR, and I don't know much about cars. We're just part of a special minority of people who get that album!

@ Mother Nature - Anyone who is respectful and doesn't flame people with hurtful attacks should definitely be welcome here. He has been a bit more respectful of late, but you obviously haven't been paying attention if you don't see why people give him a much deserved hard time.

@ No one - You continue to make this fallacious and untrue argument that there's a culture of people not being allowed or having a right to a critical or negative opinion of Neil and his work on this site. That is obviously utterly false.

I love reading intelligent, critical or negative reviews, even if I disagree with them, and most people who come here have no problem with that either. Nor does Thrasher. You guys take so much offense when a negative opinion is brought into question. It's like your assessments are untouchable or something. Well, it's perfectly okay to question someone's feelings if you don't agree. Such is the nature of friendly debate.

The only time I've ever attacked anyone angrily is when I felt they were disrespectfully flaming and/or trolling for attention.

There's a huge difference between a nasty flame attack and a well-reasoned, sensibly and respectfully delivered opinion.

 
At 6/29/2012 02:58:00 PM, Blogger dean farinha said...

We are the minority. I realize more than car guys like FITR. I just find most of the people I know that like it tend to be car guys.

 
At 6/29/2012 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hypocritical gouging greedy assholes going for the big payday just like in the Grapes Of Wrath. Right, Shepard Fairey?

 
At 6/29/2012 03:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He looked like he's suffered from a recent lobotamy on that CBS interview. And the suck ups that were asking the questions. And the vacant look and rabbit hole answer. Pathetic. This notes for making money. Either that or he just either cannot comprehend the contradicions involved in the ticket pricing vs. what he's singing about or just doesn't care. Either way he comes off as a greedy hypocritical asshole.

 
At 6/29/2012 06:09:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Typical 'ANON' comment .....

 
At 6/29/2012 06:56:00 PM, Blogger dean farinha said...

Yeah, once you see "Anon" you know you are pretty safe to skip it.

 
At 6/29/2012 10:55:00 PM, Blogger Sandy Horne said...

@ no one. You are now going through archival posts in order to find stuff to rant about??? REALLY!!?? Hahahahahahaha, man, that is just... well.. kinda weird and creepy.. And you think us, over the deep end, "Neil can do no wrong" fans are obsessed!!!

@BIGCHIEF, always love reading your posts. You get it in a way that few others do. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us!!

Sandy

 
At 6/30/2012 12:12:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@Sandy & all - thanks for the support.

@ no one - This Is Not For You.

 
At 6/30/2012 08:29:00 AM, Blogger no one said...

That's the best you can come up with? Really?

Because the reason I read back through a couple years of old posts was that, unlike the core crew around here (you know who you are... Thrasher and the Lapdogs would make a great band name. One thing I discovered last night that I missed the first time was that Matthew claims to be a songwriter. I'll throw you a bone (ha-ha...see what I did there?)and opine that your worst song, unheard, is better than Johnny Magic) I have enough intellectual curiosity and honesty to admit that I might be wrong or have misspoken somewhere along the way. And, if Neil's memoir/diary comes out and if, in my opinion or in the collective opinion of the critical consensus, it is not, in fact, the horribly written piece of garbage it appeared to be in the posted sample, I will admit that I was wrong to jump to a hasty conclusion.
But the same cannot be said of Thrasher and his crew. The posting you so cleverly linked to (note the implied sarcasm around the word cleverly), was the same old tired lines you used when you tried to run Pinto off. After he backed you into a corner, you cleverly (no sarcasm this time. It really was clever) attempted to convert him to the cause by fawning up to him and stroking his ego by telling him he wasn't one of the 4% (and if you want a prime example of intellectual dishonesty go back and see how that whole 4% moniker came into existence. Pinto blew you up on that one, too, but you stroked him into submission and he became as big a gasbag as the rest of you.)

But I couldn't find anywhere in my postings where there was a single opinion I would take back. Certainly some of the language was a little... aggressive, but it was mainly in response to the baloney that was posted in reaction to my posts.

So, Thrasher, once again... become the fascist Fuehrer and ban my postings, or, maybe... here's an idea... don't read them. Until then... see ya

 
At 6/30/2012 08:43:00 AM, Blogger dean farinha said...

I wish I had your money, no one.

 
At 6/30/2012 09:47:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@no one:
"You got love to burn.
You better take your chance on love.
You got to let your guard down
You better take a chance,
A chance on love.
Take chance on love
On love."

 
At 6/30/2012 11:04:00 PM, Anonymous /Mother Nature said...

I married Isis on the fifth day of May
But I could not hold on to her very long
So I cut off my hair and I rode straight away
For the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong.

I came to a high place of darkness and light
The dividing line ran through the center of town
I hitched up my pony to a post on the right
Went in to a laundry to wash my clothes down.

A man in the corner approached me for a match
I knew right away he was not ordinary
He said "Are you looking for something easy to catch ?"
I said "I got no money". He said "That ain't necessary".

We set out that night for the cold in the North
I gave him my blanket he gave me his word
I said "Where are we going ?" He said "We'd be back by the fourth"
I said "That's the best new that I've ever heard".

I was thinking about turquoise I was thinking about gold
I was thinking about diamonds and the world's biggest necklace
As we rode through the canyons through the devilish cold
I was thinking about Isis how she thought I was so reckless.

How she told me that one day we meet up again
And things would be different the next time we wed
If I only could hang on and just be her friend
I still can't remember all the best things she said.

We came to the pyramids all embedded in ice
He said "There's a body I'm trying to find
If I carry it out it'll bring a good prize"
It was then that I knew what he had on his mind.

The wind it was howling and the snow was outrageous
We chopped through the night and we chopped through the dawn
When he died I was hoping that it wasn't contagious
But I made up my mind that I had to go on.
I broke into the tomb but the casket was empty
There was no jewels no nothing I felt I'd been had
When I saw that my partner was just being friendly
When I took up his offer I must-a been mad.

I picked up his body and I dragged him inside
Threw him down in the hole and I put back the cover
I said a quick prayer and I felt satisfied
Then I rode back to find Isis just to tell her I love her.

She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise
Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed
I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes
I cursed her one time then I rode on ahead.

She said "Where ya been ?" I said "No place special ?"
She said "You look different" I said "Well I guess"
She said "You been gone" I said "That's only natural"
She said "You gonna stay ?" I said "If you want me to, Yeah ".

Isis oh Isis you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzling rain.

 
At 7/01/2012 09:26:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Is this a country club or is this a Neil Young Fan site? I agree, let's be civil, but if Kerouc and Ginsberg were told to tone it down, we'd still be living the delusion of the American dream. The truth shall set you free. No one as attacked the comments; not the individual. Took "Isis" for a spin yesterday. Not known to the lightweight Dylan fans; only to the hard core who liked his post beat raps and prose. Maybe that's what no one is talking about Neil not venturing out enough.... Neil is doing what inspires him for the moment. Dylan's feet never touched the ground.

 
At 7/01/2012 09:39:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

When Dave & Neil did alone and foresaken that was Americana. Isis is Americana too. I think I understand no one better than you...

 
At 7/01/2012 10:02:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Forgot the "ac" in Kerouac. Sorta like leaving the "cool" out of tha man like "wow man that is so cool man" which was considered beat talk ...

 
At 7/01/2012 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Isis was the highlight, the huge crowd pleaser back in the days of Rolling Thunder Revue. But at the time, a lot of people also thought it was kind of a reaction to the Bruce Springsteen phenomenon which was then beginning to sweep the world. So you never know sometimes, do you?

My favorite both times I caught the show (four hours long BTW and Dylan didn't even play for the first 90 minutes or so) was when Bob and Joan Baez did The Water Is Wide. Catch the recorded version sometime if you can. Neil has worked wonders with Americana, and I totally love the album. But Bob is in his own universe when it comes to this type of thing, and most others as well.

 
At 7/01/2012 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@MNOTR - pondering the connection between Dylan's Isis & Americana?

@Mr H - thanks for memories. Never considered a connection between Bruce & Bob on Isis?

"When I saw that my partner was just being friendly
When I took up his offer I must-a been mad."

 

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Wilco and Neil Young

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Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young

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Elton John and Neil Young

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Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

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"Powderfinger"
What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment
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I'm Proud to Be A Union Man

UNITED WE STAND/DIVIDED WE FALL


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up


Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...
peacefully

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"


"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize



John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel

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Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"


We're All On
A Journey Through the Past


Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Freedom:
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Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

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the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists


war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Occupy the Music

Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
#NullifyNSA
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"



Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


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Share

Words

(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul


Namaste