Monday, July 21, 2008

The Ship that Sailed the Moon

Somewhat like 2008, 1973 was a pretty crappy year. Nixon was president. We were still in Vietnam. Arab-Israeli War. OPEC oil embargo. Gas lines (gas went from 38 cents a gallon in May 1973 to 55 cents in June 1974, oil quadrupled to $12 a barrel in 1974). Recession. Apollo was over.

I was still in college but spending most of my time with music - listening, writing, singing, recording. That was cool except for being dirt poor and having to take a full time job in a psych hospital to live (and eventually finish my physics degree when I finally realized that I wasn't the next Elton John or James Taylor).

That May one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite writer/artists was released, There Goes Rhymin' Simon by Paul Simon. Al Gore said in a speech the other day that we need to move within ten years to 100% renewable energy sources for our electricity. I think he's right - we need to try anyway, really try. As many have done recently, he cited the Apollo timetable from JFK's speech to Apollo 11's landing as evidence that when it's really important, we can do amazing things, even though we are far from perfect, and we all have lives to go on with. I think we can do amazing things too, and for some reason it reminded me of a song from that 1973 album.

American Tune

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
But I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
But it's all right, it's all right
For we've lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we're traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what went wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

For we come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the ages most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh and it's all right, it's all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest

Words and music by Paul Simon (c) 1972

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