September 3rd, 2017


September 3--Felonious My Old Friend

I sat out in the garden this morning with my coffee and my long lens, stalking hummingbirds for someone who anticipated a hummingbird photo the other day and was left with a leaf floating in water :)

It was in the high 80s by 10 am, and the hummingbirds were playing dive-bomber with each other rather than placidly posing for me at the feeder. I have identified about 6 distinct hummingbirds that come to visit us. We think they live in the big trees in the yard behind ours. We love having them, as well as our squirrels and all the other birds that frequent our non-hummingbird feeder.


This guy spent about 2 minutes feeding and hanging out. He's not one of the ones that were battling it out earlier. I think he is a pacifist. Anyway, I got my shot and could go back inside before it got up to 90 degrees.

Malida is feeling better today. I could tell, when I asked her if she wanted me to get her some soup, and she gave me an order for a variety of foods at a variety of locations. I gladly fulfilled her requests and was home before it was too hot. She feels good enough to go back to work tomorrow.

Somewhere around mid-day I noticed a bunch of posts that referenced Steely Dan on my Facebook page, and eventually learned that one of the founding members, Walter Becker, had passed away.

I knew Steely Dan's music in the early 70s--it was all over the FM radio. I never really got to know them, though, until 1976, when I purchased a cassette of their album The Royal Scam. I was in basic training in San Antonio, and we were not allowed any personal items in the barracks. Anything we brought from home was locked up. I missed my music.

The first time we were cut loose on base was about two weeks after we arrived. We got two hours in the evening to wander around the training area. I headed to the base exchange satellite, which was about as big as a 7/11 store. They had a pre-walkman portable cassette player for sale, with a single earpiece. I bought it, and two cassettes--an album by David Crosby and Graham Nash, and the Steely Dan.

I got back to the barracks and hid the cassette player and music at the bottom of my locker, hoping that they would be overlooked by the almost daily inspections by our drill sergeants. At night, after everyone had gone to sleep, I would dig them out and listen to one or the other of the cassettes before I fell asleep. It kept me sane, and grounded in who I was--a person who needs music in their life. I am still that person.

I got to know The Royal Scam intimately. It's not my favorite Steely Dan album, but when I listen to it today, it brings me back to that moment in time when I had left home and started the adventure that would become the rest of my life. The drill sergeants never found the cassette player, or, if they did, they let it be.

I listened to a lot of Steely Dan this evening, and was reminded of how good their music was, and is. Their first album, Can't Buy a Thrill is a masterpiece. I am particularly drawn to the insane guitar solo on Kings, as played by session musician Elliot Randall. They used the best session musicians around, and they always shined.

Thank you for your music, Walter Becker. Requiescat in pace.
  • Current Music
    Steely Dan--Kings