Some More Thoughts on Warning Signs

or Knowing When to Stop

It’s hovering around 100 degrees out here in the Midwest, and I’m drinking my second cup of coffee while tapping away at a couple thoughts. It was my Pops who told me hot coffee on a hot day helps regulate the body temperature. I never asked where he picked up that bit of wisdom. Did he learn it growing up in Harlan County, while serving in the Army, or maybe while working as a chemical operator? With his passing the origin of that piece of advice is lost much like the origin of his advice about knowing when to stop.

“Stop Sign”

Pops warned me that there wouldn’t always be clearly posted stop signs throughout life. Sometimes I would have to use my best judgement, to realize that many individuals and institutions do not have my best interests in mind. He told me knowing when to stop, when not to follow, or when to go my own way wouldn’t be an easy skill to master but was one worth learning. Pops’ advice wasn’t unique. Most of us have been taught something similar at some time. But many of us (myself included) need to develop this skill now more than ever. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that warning signs abound and we often ignore them for one reason or another. Maybe we’ve become a little too complacent. Maybe we need to work a little harder at keeping an eye and ear out for those not so clearly posted stop signs.

-K-

It’s a warning sign when Phillip K. Dick stories start readng as realistic fiction.

-K-

From Lust to Warning Signs to Lasting Love

Eilen Jewell’s Queen of the Minor Key

In an age of streaming it’s all too easy to skip from song to song, album to album, and artist to artist. How many of us curate stacks of digital playlists for various moods and occasions that we hardly listen to (makes me wonder how many mix tapes I made way back when)? I do listen to albums from first song to last when I’m in a certain mood or situation and yesterday was one such situation. I drove several hundred miles over several hours by myself (my cat, Dr. Loomis, was with me but he wasn’t in a talkative mood). Instead of skipping from song to album to artist I opted to give some albums a full listen. One of those albums was Queen of the Minor Key.

Queen of the Minor Key by Eilen Jewell

I’ve listened to this album as a whole several times and the individual songs many more times, but driving along I57 with nothing but Illinois farmland to keep me company (Dr. Loomis was sleeping) allowed for a new listening experience. Jewell’s album is a fast paced ride through a well written collection of relationship songs that vary in story and nuance. Whether you want to listen to song about young lust, a relationship gone wrong, longing for a lost love, or lasting love Queen of the Minor Key has a song for you, and a few others too. Jewell’s ability to convey a love story in around the four minute mark with a bluesy/country sound makes for a fun listening experience. The stand outs for me are “I Remember You,” “Warning Signs,” “Bang Bang Bang,” and “Home to Me.” Of course they are all good and if you are in the mood to listen to and album first to last then cue up Queen of the Minor Key.

-K-

Queen of the Minor Key (2011) by Eilen Jewell.

Trigger warnings, caution labels, and red flags–we spend more time looking out for the bad than searching for the good.

-K-

“All Animals Are Equal”

Animal Farm and Warning Signs

Everybody loves 1984. Everybody quotes 1984. Everybody says we are living in 1984. Well, maybe not everybody but sweeping generalizations tend to get attention. There is one thing that most every reader may agree on, 1984 tends to overshadow another Orwell book that is in the same vein, Animal Farm.

Animal Farm is a fan favorite for many readers and it boasts a long list of positive critical reviews but it doesn’t get the attention 1984 does. I wonder if this is due to the novella’s length (many people equate long book with good book), its allegorical structure, or that it doesn’t seem as urgent or isn’t as dystopian as 1984? Maybe its that Animal Farm is a little too straight forward in its storytelling. Orwell is not to subtle in his use of foreshadowing throughout the novella. Animal Farm is loaded with warning signs (hell, the commandments should be written in bright yellows and reds). Readers know bad things are bound to happen and all we can do is go along for the ride.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

1984 may get a lot more glory but that shouldn’t keep you from checking out Animal Farm. If you are looking for something relatively short that will have you thinking long after the last page and is as relevant today as it was when it was published give this Orwell novella a read.

-K-

Animal Farm (1945) by George Orwell

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