Song Lyric Sunday — Space Oddity

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams is leveraging a suggestion from Di, at Pensitivity101, to use the words Space, Planets, or Aliens as our theme. I decided to run with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

“Space Oddity” was written and recorded by English singer-songwriter David Bowie. It was first released on 11 July 1969 as a single, and then as the opening track of his second studio album, David Bowie. Its release was timed to coincide with the moon landing, but while the song received critical praise when it was first released, it sold poorly in the U.K. and found a very small audience in America. But following the commercial breakthrough of Ziggy Stardust in 1972, RCA Records reissued “Space Oddity” as a single in the U.S., where it peaked at number 15, becoming Bowie’s first U.S. hit.

Bowie wrote this after seeing the 1968 Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Space Oddity” is a play on the phrase “Space Odyssey,” although the title does not appear in the lyrics. Bowie said that he was very stoned when he went to see it, and it was really a revelation to him. It got the song flowing.

The song tells the story a fictional astronaut named Major Tom, who is informed by Ground Control that a malfunction has occurred in his spacecraft. But Major Tom does not get the message because he either misses it or is in such awe of outer space that he does not hear it. Eventually, Major Tom, cuts off communication with Earth and floats into space.

Some Bowie followers have claimed that Bowie’s Major Tom, floating helplessly in outer space, represented a Sixties counterculture hopelessness about political reform (“Planet Earth is blue / And there’s nothing I can do”). Others have suggested that the song was reflective of Bowie’s loneliness and heartache following his break-up with his girlfriend, Hermione Farthingale, which deeply affected him.

Here are the lyrics to “Space Oddity.”

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

Ground Control
To Major Tom
(Eight, seven, six)
Commencing countdown
Engines on
(Four, three, two)
Check ignition
And may God’s love
Be with you

This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much
She knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you he—

Here am I floating ’round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

A to Z Challenge Reflections

img_4815Those of us who participated in the 2019 A to Z Blogging Challenge last month have been asked by the promoters to write a post reflecting back on our experience. Okay, fair enough. Here are my thoughts.

During the month of April, I had 15,438 views, of which 1,586 were of my 26 A to Z posts, so the A to Z posts accounted for just over 10% of my total views for the month. And I probably gained some followers in April through my A to Z Challenge participation.

My top five A to Z posts viewed in April were:

  1. B is for Blogger (120 views)
  2. G is for Gender (95 views)
  3. X is for Xenophobe (93 views)
  4. A is for Acronym (92 Views)
  5. C is for Chronological Order (68 views)

Interestingly, 57% of my A to Z posts were viewed in the first half of the month and only 43% in the second half, so readership dropped off significantly as the month progressed.

One of the goals of the A to Z Challenge is to encourage bloggers to post every day during the month of April. But I already post multiple times a day anyway, so I’m not sure that having to come up with a challenge post each day wasn’t more of a burden than it was worth.

And yes, it was a bit of a burden. Unlike many others who participated in the challenge, I didn’t have a theme. So I had to come up each day with some rather random “alpha-post” in addition to my other prompt-response posts and my political rants. And yes, some of my A to Z Challenge posts were political rants.

I met a few other bloggers who were new to me as a result of their participation in the challenge, but not that many. A few hundred bloggers participated and ain’t nobody got time to read a few hundred posts each day from other bloggers.

Aint Nobody Got Time For That GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Will I do this again next April? I honestly don’t know. I’ll have to see how I’m feeling then, assuming that I’m still alive and blogging.

Z is for Zilch

FE58492C-6D4C-4ECB-BCF1-FF260933D86EI’ve got zilch, zero, zip. So it’s a damn good thing that today is the last day of the 2019 A to Z Challenge. Because I’m used up. There’s just nothing left for me to give. And I didn’t even have a theme for this 26-post alphabet challenge, like many bloggers who participated in this challenge did. I was free to post about whatever popped into my tiny little head. And even with that freedom, it was a burden.

So it’s over. For another year. If I’m still around and still blogging in April 2020, I’ll have to think long and hard about whether or not to participate again in next year’s A to Z Challenge.

Of course, should I decide to do it again next April, I can always just recycle my 2018 A to Z Challenge posts, since the odds are that many of you won’t still be blogging in a year.

It’s true. I read a couple of articles I found recently on the internet — so you know they’re accurate — when I Googled “What is the average lifespan of a new blog?” One article said that the average lifespan of a new blog is about 100 days. Another site estimated that new blogs these days typically have a four to six month lifespan.

And for those few of you who will still be here next April and who may have diligently read each and every one of my posts for this year’s challenge, you probably didn’t read, much less remember, any of my posts from last year’s challenge. Thus, by next year, they’ll all seem new to you.

In fact, do any of you who were around for the A to Z Challenge in 2018 even remember what my Z-post was last year?

Hint: it wasn’t “Z is for Zilch.”

Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts:

Y is for Yankees

9B98C3B5-973C-4665-A5FD-6746012E81A1The New York Yankees — the baseball team I love to hate.

When I was a lad growing up in the Washington, DC area in the mid-fifties and sixties, my favorite baseball team was the Washington Senators. They played in the American League and their arch rivals were the New York Yankees. Back then, the Yankees were the perennial American League champs, while the hapless Senators were the basement dwellers.

There used to be this saying, “Washington: first in peace, first in war, last in the American League.” Most Senators fans, including me, hated the Yankees.7715B4F8-1531-462C-884B-0C32EC35431CThere was even a 1956 Tony Award winning Broadway musical and a 1958 movie version titled “Damn Yankees.”

It was about a frustrated Senators fan who makes a pact with the Devil to help the baseball team win the American league pennant against the Yankees. I loved that movie!

About 35 years later, my family and I moved to the Boston area, where, once again, my home town team, this time the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees were — and still are — fierce rivals.

And even though it’s been a decade since I moved to San Francisco, I still, to this day, hate the Yankees just as much I did when I was a kid in DC and for the almost 20 years we lived near Boston.

In fact, the only thing I hate worse than the Red Sox losing is the Yankees winning.

Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts:

X is for Xenophobe

4F6BB380-E9BD-4736-9808-50345B95CBA7Let’s see. There’s xylophone. Nah. There’s Xerox. Nope, I did that last year. How about xfinity? No, that’s a made up word that serves as the brand name for Comcast’s cable and internet service.

Oh wait. I know. Donald Trump.

I know what you’re thinking. Donald Trump doesn’t start with the letter X. Actually, though, Donald Trump is America’s Xenophobe-in-Chief.

A xenophobe is a person who fears or hates foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers. And based upon what Donald Trump says and does, he is definitely a xenophobe.

He wants to spend billions of dollars to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico because, according to Trump, Mexicans “have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. They’re killing us at the border and they’re killing us on jobs and trade.”

And it’s not just Mexicans that Donald Trump hates. He hates people from what he calls “shithole” countries. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” he wants to know.

Shithole countries in Africa, like Nigeria, or island nations like Haiti. Trump said that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts,” and that Haitians “all have aids.” “Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump asked. “Take them out.”

Instead of people from Central America with brown skins or from Africa with black skins, Trump spoke of taking in immigrants from “great European countries like Norway.” Could skin color have anything to do with that. Well, that would be racist, wouldn’t it? And for the purpose of this post, I don’t want to talk about Trump the racist, even though he is one.

Nope. This post is exclusively about Trump the xenophobe.

Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts: