Mindlovemisery's Menagerie Music Challenge (21 February 2020)

I wasn’t going to post again today but NewEpicAuthor’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie post inspired me to start typing again. Today, I read about a Tom Petty song commemorating the end of an affair.

It made me think about other music about relationships breaking up, and I immediately think of ABBA in this context, those very last albums. It must have been particularly difficult for one partner to perform songs written by the other partner. For both couples. Especially as the songs were usually about … relationships.

ABBA’s last album was The Visitors, released at the end on 1981. There was no great break-up, they just stopped recordeding new material and went their separate ways. The word reform has been uttered, but how could they ever be as good?

So I shall just quickly present a song today from this last album, called When All is Said and Done. In fact the album was just released at the right time, in terms of the available technology – it is one of the first where everything was digital, and one of the first to have videos accompanying at least those songs released as singles. This song charted in much of the world, so will hopefully spark a memory.

Here’s to us. One more toast, and then we’ll pay the bill
Deep inside, both of us can feel the autumn chill
Birds of passage, you and me
We fly instinctively
When the summer’s over and the dark clouds hide the sun
Neither You nor I’m to blame when all is said and done

In our lives, we have walked some strange and lonely treks
Slightly worn, but dignified, and not too old for sex
We’re still striving for the sky
No taste for humble pie
Thanks for all your generous love and thanks for all the fun
Neither you nor I’m to blame when all is said and done

It’s so strange, when you’re down, and lying on the floor
How you rise, shake your head, get up and ask for more
Clear-headed and open-eyed, with nothing left untried
Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run
There’s no hurry anymore when all is said and done
Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run
There’s no hurry anymore when all is said and done

Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus

The Light Switch (Fandango's Friday Flashback)

Fandango appears to be getting back to normal after his house move, and a short while ago he posted his Friday Flashback.

I have always liked that idea, so shall also post my own. As much as anything, it reminds me of where I was. Hopefully, you will find it entertaining too.

I had a quick look through today and found a post which exemplifies my recovery – the light switch! I had a goal for a while to use my bad arm to turn on a light. I blogged about it and when I finally got there, it had been after about a year of attempts. This was the post where I commemorated my succss, two years ago tomorrow.

I’m not sure it I explain the problem very well in my post. Most of the time, my arm hangs down to about groin level – its default position. If I work at it, I can lift my arm to shoulder level. I can hold it there maybe five or ten seconds. Getting it any higher than that is a major effort. I can’t, even now, put my bad hand on my head, say.

The reason this switch came in was because it is about 6 inches above shoulder level. And for a while, it was impossible. Now, I can do it, but I’m still only strong enough to lift my hand up for ten seconds-ish, so there is no room for dicking around.

I tend not to try it particularly any more, just because I can do it every time I try. If fact, I was able to do it just this morning – I tested it before publishing! I still have to move my arm this bit then that, very like a crane I guess, the kind of movements I made seamlessly before without even thinking.

I’ve noticed that even though I can flick the switch as an exercise, I never try to use the bad hand instinctively to turn the light on or off as I’m entering/leaving the kitchen. I always have to go in the kitchen deliberately in order to test myself. So it is far from “natural”.

My hand unfortunately is still the same. I can use the fist as a “club” to flick the switch, but I can’t actually use the fingers. Even if I make a pointy finger before I start, it has curled up again by the time I raise my arm to the switch. If you remember Action Man with the grippy hands, that is our default position. Mine is like that all the time.

So my hand is mostly useless. My arm is doing okay though, I think. One of my bugbeears is that survivors are mostly just left on thir own to either sink or swim, so I haven’t seen anybody to tell me otherwise! Truly, I can understand why some peopl just give up.

[If you haven’t already noticed, the letter “e” on my keybard has started acting up. I will try my best to proof-read out any mistakes but I warn you now, I am very fallible! ]

Stroke Survivor

Really pleased this morning, I’ve achieved what was quite a longstanding goal. The first time was a couple of days ago, the second was just now.

The goal? To use my bad arm, unaided, to switch the kitchen light. Not much at all, but it shows how I’m getting gradually more movement.

The switch in question is on the wall, around 5 feet off the ground. Around about shoulder-height. With some degree of effort, I can get my arm to the horizontal, but just getting it that few inches higher, I haven’t managed. If I extend my arm too much, it gets too heavy and I can’t support its weight. So I have to move the bits of my arm very deliberately – it feels exactly like a crane. A Herculean effort. But, a couple of days ago, I finally conquered it. Even when I get my hand high enough…

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Fandango's Provocative Question (20 February 2020)

Wednesday. Fandango sems to be getting back to normal, and has just published this weeek’s Provocative Question. This week, he asks:

Are humans better at creating or destroying?

Okay, I’m not going to publish a long post today, because I already posted my answer here.

We are destroying the earth. Despite everything which is said, we are still pumping out more and more carbon than ever. Not just the industrialising countries like China, but countries like the USA and the UK too, countries which are already industrialised. We think we can talk about cutting carbon, and the problem goes away. We are destroying the rain forests. Despite all that is known, the clearing continues. We’ve just cleared big parts of Australia – or rather fire cleared it for us.

Now,my point is not so much this, but that people deny that the warming of the earth is man-made, despite the science. Or, possibly worse, people accept that climate change is happening, then pay lip service to to it, just before they hop on board their airplane. The numbers through Heathrow are about 80 million per year.

And the simple thing which makes me reach my conclusion? If people don’t feel they need to act now, when will they? Or, do they think that this problem belongs to someone else?

It’s never going to happen. In the words of Private Fraser (Dad’s Army, UK sitcom), we’re doomed!

[If you haven’t already noticeed, the letter “e” on my keybard has started acting up. I will try my best to proof-read out any mistakes but I warn you now, I am very fallible! The Space Bar also acts up, but it has been doing so for a while and you are less likely to notice this.]