Friday, August 26, 2011


Excuse me, but if my blog statistics are correct, how do you find my blog from googling "estimated value of bulletproof-car market in mexico?" While I may have posted a few photos of a beach vacation in Cancun, I know that My Scenic Byway has never come close to addressing that subject matter. I don't know that I have anything to offer about the bullet proof car market anywhere. Sounds exciting share...

Snack Time

I went to the Harbel Supermarket for the first time. This is the big market in Monrovia. I love visiting grocery stores in other countries. Its one of my favorite things to do when I am in another country. Checking out what people eat and how they shop is fascinating.

I was impressed. I would be ok if I lived here full time. You can get quite the selection of goods at the Harbel. They even have a whole wine and liquor section. I also saw most of the fixings you would need to prepare mexican/tex-mex food. Not bad Liberia. Not bad. And thank you Lebanon because it is your people who run this grocery store. And the night clubs.

I bought some snacks so I don't always have to eat at the restaurant in my hotel. Awesome. If you wonder what I am doing here at 1 am when I still can't sleep due to jet lag...I am probably listening to my iTunes library, doing work or checking email, and snacking.

Pickles and cheese and a collection of weird sodas

Bugles! Ramen noodles!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thank You Liberia

For having Bugles at the Harbel supermarket in Monrovia.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Music Memories

Its 10:26 pm here. And the rains just started. Pouring, pouring, pouring. Fast, hard rain. I love that. Its rainy season here in Liberia. I've been here since Sunday afternoon and in spite of it being rainy season, this is the first rain that has hit since I've been here. And its Wednesday night.

I did this to myself. I jinxed myself. Because this morning I told a friend that it was not as hot and humid here as it usually is and that it isn't raining. So, what happened next? It got more and more humid all day long - like I remember. And moments ago it started pouring. Ahhh..yes. That is the Liberia I remember! I am superstitious that believe that once you reference something, then it will happen. You have to knock on wood to protect yourself and I forgot to do that this morning when I bragged about it not being so hot and rainy.

I turned the TV on, mainly for background noise. CNN. Covering the war in Libya. Which I just can't focus on right now. I just wanted noise. But now the TV has gone out. So let's turn on the music instead. iTunes DJ mix - Neil Young (From Hank to Hendrix), followed by Tom Waits (Hold On). A little melancholy for a rainy, lonely Wednesday night in my little hotel room in Liberia listening to the rain, but equally beautiful and appropriate I suppose. And hey the power and the internet are still working!

Then Chet Baker - love, love, pure love. Chet Baker is the music I share with my husband. We share a lot of music, but that one is special. Followed by Madonna - Rain - how appropriate.

What did I do when I traveled all of these places far from home before I had my music library on my Macbook Pro? Made mixed tapes and brought a walkman. Are you old enough to remember that? I remember the ecstasy of my first walkman. Then carried CDs and a CD player. And then carried my iPod. Now I don't even need that. You can use your iPhone or just access your music library on your computer. Times change. Fast.

When I listen to my music library now when I travel, most of my music at my fingertips on my computer, my music collection reminds me of times and places. Doesn't that always? An artist, an album takes you right back to where you were, who you were, what you were doing at the time you listened to it. And that process of remembering can be fun, happy, melancholy, sad, intense.

Moments of music memory that instantly come to my mind include when I start to think about it...I remember driving across the Great Rift Valley listening to Jesus Christ Superstar on my walkman back in the 80s. The scenery was so amazing and strange and the music from the soundtrack was so intense. Recollections of swapping mixed tapes with my fellow students at the University of Nairobi in the 80s - Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, Terence Trent D'Arby. Young, fun, completely carefree times. Never to be that way again. Not to that extent. Finley Quaye reminds me of a very lonely time spent working in Rabat, Morocco. I will forever equate old Justin Timberlake with working out at a hotel gym in New Delhi. For months. I can't listen to ELO without recalling a work trip driving around Zambia with a colleague and friend listening to their greatest hits CD. On and on.

I cherish those life memories and music memories on the Byway. And being on the road again - for work, when I am alone at night in my hotel room - always seems to be the time when all those times and memories come rushing into my mind. I guess when you are home, busy with your life, you don't get those times to reflect.

Its stopped raining now. And Biz Markie - you say he's just a friend - has come on. That would take me back to college. Good, good times. So long ago but still there in my memory like its just yesterday...

Goodnight all...

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Small Moment of Gratitude

Hello from Liberia where I am working for the next two weeks on our energy support program. I probably won’t have much time to blog, but I will do what I can because I want to capture this place as best I can because it’s a big part of My Byway now.

I am so proud of this project. Proud that my organization competed and won this. Proud that I led the effort. Proud to now see the work that is unfolding almost one year on the ground. Proud of the local team here – of Liberians and expatriates from the US, Nepal and Sri Lanka who make it all happen. And one of the most beautiful and rewarding things about my job is working with our local team here on the ground. My job is to support them and help make them successful – an easier thing to do when you have such a great team.

If you work in the international development assistance business you know that a great deal of the project money actually supports the United States. It pays for salaries for staff from organizations; it buys technical consultants, many of whom are American; and it buys goods and other services from US companies. This is one of the things that grates on me the most when some people complain about how much US government money goes to development assistance. First of all, if you analyze the numbers, it is peanuts. Peanuts in comparison to other government spending. Second, if the US wants to play the game of being a global leader, it has to get involved. Development assistance can do good things to help others and in turn build relationships on international, national and local levels. This is good for my country and it is good for the world. Third, a lot of US citizens and businesses, large and small, benefit from this work. It creates jobs. It pays my salary. And I am grateful for that. But put the benefits to the US aside for a moment.

On a personal level, nothing makes me happier than when a project does good work (they aren’t all good) AND creates good local jobs for local people. In a place like Liberia, as in so many others, there are limited opportunities for smart, educated Liberians – of which there are many. I love that our project can create four years of solid, good employment opportunities for people. I wish we could generate more. With this alone so much good can be done for so little money in the big picture.

The project that I work on in Liberia has such an excellent staff – it makes me so proud and so happy to work with such a great team and I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity. It is their country and this work stands to benefit them. The expats all do their work and pack their bags in four years and move on to the next country. The Liberians however will still be here, hopefully carrying forward the good work that has been started and benefiting from it.  Today, here and now, I feel good about my job. Really, really good. And I feel lucky to feel this. To experience it. Thank you universe. Thank you for allowing me to be a small, tiny part of the greater good. Give me power, give me strength to contribute. Because that is what life is about. That is what traveling on the byway is all about. A small speck. A small moment in time. A small scene on the byway. Let me help make a difference in this great big world. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Art of Packing

I leave for Liberia tomorrow. A two-week work trip.

I've been organizing and packing for days. Unlike with a vacation, a work trip requires more packing effort for me. Although I take a long time to pack for any and every trip. Ask my husband. Or my ex-husband. Or anyone who has ever lived with me. All the many years of many travels and I still can't pack quickly. Or very light. I've gotten a lot better, but alas, I will never be the carefree girl who grabs a bag and throws some stuff in and is done in five minutes. And then during the trip can live with no regrets and happy with their small, fast packing decisions. I envy those people.

However, while I might pack a lot, I don't pack outrageously. I usually take one check in bag and its always just at the allowed weight, not over. Then I take one carry on roller bag that has two computers (crappy work Dell and gorgeous personal Macbook Pro - I am not going to post photos on or blog from the crappy Dell), my big camera, some fun stuff to read (3 hours 40 to Atlanta; 13 hours 40 to Monrovia - good times!!), some of my work folders and anything else I can fit in there without breaking my back when I hoist it in the overhead bins. Because I am a firm believer that you are allowed to bring what you want, but you must carry your own stuff. I take full responsibility for what I bring.

I approach packing in the serious, intense, Type A way I approach a lot of things. Love me or not - this is me. I make a list - a very long and organized list - and I check everything off as I pull it together. I try to think of everything I might need or want. Rarely to never do I forget things, and those few times I do forget something I feel really bad about it and beat myself up a little about it because - I. do. not. forget. things. It is in my DNA. To be honest, as I get older, I do forget things more and more sometimes. I guess that is just the way life goes as we age.

In addition to creating the famous packing list, preparing for a trip like this always involves:

- a trip to the drug store where I inevitably spend $150 buying things I "need" for the trip.
- too much time spent trying to find and pack every possible toiletry I might desire over a 2-week period in mini-size.
- a trip to the travel clinic to ensure vaccinations are up to date and to get a prescription for anti-malaria medicine.
- checking the local weather to decide what kind of clothing I need. I don't know why I do this because I already know. Liberia is always hot and always humid, but right now its also the rainy season which means rain every day. And mud.
- pulling out most of my clothing from the closet and drawers to decide what clothes to wear.
- talking myself out of bringing 3 books to read because given my track record, unless its a beach vacation I won't read any of them.
- the cats laying all over my clothes and/or sleeping in my open suitcase while I am packing.

To pick out clothing, I have this routine (that I don't recommend) where I first pull every piece of clothing that might possibly work for the trip out of my closet and drawers onto the bed into giant piles, and then I weed through the piles and cut them back to a manageable set of mix and match clothing for the trip. Leaving a big mess of clothes that I won't pack that I then have to hang up or fold again. I have to do it this way. Start with more and then weed it down. I also have to try everything on - which amuses and confuses my husband. My argument is that I don't want to get to my destination only to discover that those pants don't fit me anymore, that shirt looks stupid with that skirt, and this dress is way too short or low cut to serve as appropriate work attire. That makes sense to me. I will also tell you that in spite of my Type A personality I am not one to fold my clothes neatly. My husband folds clothes a million times better than I do. Apparently the folding techniques I learned from my year working at The Gap didn't stay with me.

For this trip I have to consider that it is a work trip. I will be working in our office and attending meetings with officials, so its not shorts and t-shirts or low cut sun dresses. However, it is a work trip in Liberia, which means heat, humidity, rain and mud. I will be sweating all the time except when I might be freezing in over air conditioned rooms. So, this means business casual clothes that handle hot, humid, and muddy and too much air conditioning. And that hopefully dry fast.

Thank god for REI. Since moving to Salt Lake and working from home where I no longer feel the DC work environment pressure to dress up and wear heels, I have become a shopaholic at REI, which is a convenient 5-minute drive from our house. Over the past year most of my wardrobe has transformed and screams REI. My luggage is also from REI. Some days I am like a walking advertisement for REI. Head to toe. I think its funny.

Let me tell you - no one compares to REI (that I have found) in selling comfortable, durable, attractive outdoorsy type wear that can be dressed up a little so its appropriate, but not too flashy for an expat working on a development project in an office environment in Liberia. I was planning to blog just about REI, but never got around to it, so here is a mini ode to the store. Thank you REI!  I love you.

To give you an example - here are two REI outfits that I will be taking with me to Liberia. And they are freshly sprayed with DEET to help me from succumbing to malaria. Again...good times! I don't like chemicals like DEET and it freaks me out to spray it on my clothes. But getting malaria freaks me out more. I've had it. And I don't really want it again.

Back to my packing list...The packing list is always many pages long - listing out every toiletry, every type of clothing, every charger and cord, etc - that will ensure that I will have everything I need for my trip - for work and for my personal needs. If I am going to be on the road for two weeks, especially in a place like Liberia where you can't run out to the mall and pick up something you forgot, then I am going to be damn sure I've thought about everything. And going to a place like Liberia, and for work, adds things to your luggage that you normally might not pack such as:

- an umbrella. because its rainy season and it rains every day.
- bags and bags of chocolate for the office staff. just because.
- little toys for the cute little boy who hangs around and whose father works at the compound where we have our office. who wouldn't do this?
- a flashlight. two words. power outages. expect them. you will have them, even with a back-up generator.
- insect repellent. one word - malaria.
- medicines that i would not normally care about: malaria medication, prescription anti-diarrheal medicine, pepto bismol, immodium, cold medicine, etc. trust me. you need these. you will always need these.
- enough clothes to change twice a day due to the excessive humidity and sweating, and to maybe not have to do too much laundry.
- lots and lots of cash. its a cash only economy. no atms. no way to get money. one trip i had to carry like $5000 in cash on me. not a usual thing for me.
- a giant stash of mail that my office wants me to carry over for our expats.
- external computer hard drives for the office. cheaper to send with me than by courier.
- computer grease. this one has worried me. i received an envelope full of small syringes that just say VOI. i have to carry this in my checked in luggage. i worry that someone will see this weird package and wonder what the heck I am up to. i swear its just grease to fix computers! and you can't find it in Liberia.
- work stuff. pens, highlighter, notebook, calculator (oh i love my calculator and can't live without it, especially when analyzing a 19M budget), and try as i might i can't not bring a stack of file folders with papers that i know i will need. i know i can find everything on my computer, but some documents i need to read and work with and i just can't do it yet without the hard copy. i need that paper in my hands.

So you see? This stuff starts to crowd out your normal packing of clothes and basic things. In fact I am staring right now at the pile of things on my floor that I will be taking over to the office to leave and not bring back, and I am deciding that this is just about a second bag's worth of stuff.

On that note...I need to go finish my packing so I can relax this evening and hang out with my husband. I wish I could pack him in that second bag.

Off to the next Byway adventure...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I found this link today and wanted to share it, because I think its interesting and cool and gets at my views for My Scenic Byway. Photographing your world, your life journey, your own scenic byway...for your own memories, and to share with others.

This video is on YouTube. Its by Jonathan Harris and its called Today. When he turned 30 he decided to take one photograph a day, posting it to his website with a short story. This video captures all of his photographs together from that year, 2009. He is a very good photographer - the photos are really gorgeous and interesting. And his life looks pretty exciting! If I were to attempt one photograph a day for a year, I am not so sure mine could be quite as intense as his. Close though. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Journey

There is a FB page I track called Pure Nourishment: The person who runs it posts these positive quotes and statements all day long every day. Here's one really relevant to My Scenic Byway and my beliefs - that life is all about the journey, not the destination. Too often I think we all spend too much energy thinking about the destination and not enough on living in the moment of the day by day trip we take getting there. A good reminder. Happy weekend.

Mojave Desert Blog and some thoughts on energy planning

If you are interested in renewable energy development in the United States, and or you have an interest in threats to America's public lands, particularly the Mojave Desert in California, I want to bring a blog to your attention. Its called the Mojave Desert Blog. The blog has been around since 2009, but I've just discovered it in the past few months. This blog is reporting on what I am calling the mad California Green Rush. Like the earlier gold rush. The parallels are ironic. 

This mad rush and push to develop large-scale renewable energy. Noble ideas behind it. Green energy is good, right? I work with renewable energy and I am a supporter. But what I am learning has forced me to pay attention to things I didn't know were happening, and to ask questions about my own personal beliefs about renewable energy development - what I believe in, what I can support, and what I cannot.

I now read this blog every day and it is opening my eyes to things that have been happening in our country that I was completely oblivious to. And reading it makes me angry and depressed and sick in my stomach. But I can't ignore it. Once you know, you know. And I want to know. We should know. 

I got interested in this blog because of what is happening - the potential for development of a large wind farm on public land - in an area that is important to me - the Pipes Canyon, Pioneertown, California area, near Joshua Tree National Park. And now I am aware that what might happen there is already happening ten fold all over California's public lands. I am shocked.

And before you pooh-pooh me about NIMBY-ism, let me leave you with this.

In a study commissioned by the US Chamber of Commerce in May 2011 to examine the potential economic impact of permitting challenges facing proposed energy projects, Bill Kovacs, Senior VP for Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs, notes in his introduction to the study “The results of this analysis are startling! One of the most surprising findings is that it is just as difficult to build a wind farm in the U.S. as it is to build a coal-fired power plant.”

I would ask why is this finding startling? Renewable energy development does not deserve less scrutiny and regulation than traditional energy development just because it professes to use a clean and green energy resource. Whether one is building a large coal-fired power plant or a large wind farm, there will be impact on the environment and it will affect neighboring communities.

Bill Kovacs goes on to add “Often, many of the same groups urging us to think globally about renewable energy are acting locally to stop the very same renewable energy projects that could create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. NIMBY activism has blocked more renewable projects than coal-fired power plants by organizing local opposition, changing zoning laws, opposing permits, filing lawsuits, and using other long delay mechanisms, effectively bleeding projects dry of their financing.”

If recent activism has blocked more renewable energy projects than coal-fired power plants, it is because there have been more renewable energy projects being proposed for development than traditional power plants at this time, and because it is a new an untested area of energy development. The US is experiencing an unprecedented push and rush to replace more traditional energy resources with clean and green ones. No state better demonstrates this mad rush than the state of California.

California is a leader in the move to green energy. The state is being driven by state requirements to meet a goal of having 33% of energy use in CA fueled by renewable energy by 2020. The federal government is pushing forward tax credits, subsidies and incentives to support renewable energy. So we are seeing a mad rush of development to try to capture these financial benefits before they disappear. Because this kind of large wind and solar development is really not economical right now. They can't do it without these subsidies. I know that fossil fuel was subsidized and I don't disagree with subsidizing renewable energy. It needs its fair chance too. But I have a problem with rushing development - of any kind.

As of the summer of 2011, in California the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposals for development of 17 wind projects and 15 solar projects on public desert land, ranging from testing to feasibility to full on development stages, affecting an area of 631 square miles. Statewide there are many, many more projects being considered for 1000 square miles of public land. You can find a BLM map on line to see these sites. If you live in southern California, it is very likely that one is near you and will have some impact on you, if not immediately, then down the road.

This sentiment of discrediting community action and painting community actions as nothing more than self-interested “NIMBY activism” – people who support green energy but don’t want to take the steps necessary to really see it through, is repeated time and time again in the press and the statements of government officials and energy developers. Communities who speak out on these projects and try to stop them are portrayed as anti-development and trying to get in the way of America's financial recovery. Information tends to focus on specific local opposition to a particular wind or solar project, thus framing these actions, inadvertently or not, as NIMBY activism.

However, when you take each of these individual projects now underway as part of this California green energy rush, and examine them together, as a whole, as a new approach for state and national energy planning, you see that these actions of the government and renewable energy companies are transforming public spaces of the Mojave Desert and other wild lands in California into industrial zones. Many participants in the backlash against renewable energy development that I have studied are not opposing renewable energy per se, but rather are questioning the way projects are being designed, evaluated, planned, sited and constructed.

To those who would dismiss a community's concerns about large energy development as only poor sport NIMBYs (not in my back yard), I would counter that they are the change makers. It is these communities that recognize problems, bring them to society/decision makers' attention, and if successful, effect changes and produce better energy planning and design that then benefit the broader society. It is too simple to dismiss such activism as selfish, misguided and not forward thinking. With most issues, be they matters of health care, the environment, urban planning, industrial development, energy planning, and so forth, people are driven to get engaged and become activists when an issue affects and impacts them directly. So this “NIMBY activism” becomes an important and necessary impetus to effect change and is no different than what we see across other areas of planning for public lands and our structured environment. 

There is a major shift going on in this country regarding energy development. Some of it is great, fabulous, wonderful. Some of it is poor planning. Wall street companies are making A LOT of money off of these developments. Many communities are being impacted. All energy development deserves scrutiny, no matter the resource.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Box Elder Blues

I feel my job here today on the Byway is to warn you to never plant a Box Elder tree near your house. Unless you want the company of its little friends - the Box Elder Bug gang, which will join you every summer, seeking out the parts of your house that are warmed by the sun and doing their best to join you inside your house. Or they will settle for hanging out with you on your patio or porch. But they will be there. And there will be nothing you can do to get rid of them. Until the weather cools and they die. And return next summer when its good and hot.

Ahhh the Box Elder tree. Also known as Acer Negundo or Box Elder Maple or Maple Ash. While I think I had heard of this tree in the past, I never had any experience with them until we moved into our rental house in Salt Lake City a year and a half ago. We have two Box Elder trees in our backyard - big trees that provide lovely shade and greenery to the patio. The only problem is that Box Elder trees bring Box Elder bugs (boise a trivittata).

From Wikipedia

They come because they only eat the seeds of these trees. They aren't bad looking as far as bugs go (yes I know, they are insects - I just prefer to call them bugs). They aren't scary bugs and they remind me of the lightning bugs I grew up with back east. But I hate them. Because they are everywhere when its hot and they crawl into my house and die. They come in through the poorly insulated door frames and windows and they die all over my window sills and floor. I spend my late summer days with the dust buster collecting tiny carcasses here and there and occasionally having to be the slaughterer of the box elders, which I can't stand. I don't like them, but I like squishing the poor little things even less. It makes me feel like I need to go and cleanse my spirit somehow. I think of karma and how they are harmless and I am killing them and it makes me feel crappy. But seriously I don't want them crawling on me in my bed at night, or worse yet, having babies in the house! So they have to go.

You see them outside on the patio or on the window outside, mating, and I am yelling don't mate, don't make more babies! Like a crazy person. The other day we found two in the house, on the ceiling, mating. I made my husband kill them. See, again, the slaughterer. Sigh.

I might be making this sound worse than it is. It is not like having some kind of ant or other infestation in your house or even in your yard. It is not that bad. I just hate that they come into the house. But it is a problem that we have to deal with. If you ignore it, it can get worse. This year we had a cool, late spring which killed off a lot of their eggs resulting in many less bugs this year than last, and I am extremely grateful to the weather gods.

You might be asking yourself, why don't they try to control these insects? Well, we do. We have a company come and spray all the time - which I hate doing, but it is necessary. They spray the house and the window sills and doorways - which is why they come into the house and then die. They spray around the trees. But they always tell us - you can't get rid of them. You can only control the population. The only thing you can do is cut down and remove the Box Elder trees - which we can't do because its not our house and property. But some people tell me that even if you cut them down and remove them, you will have Box Elder bugs for a long time because they are born knowing to return to their home site. I am not sure if I believe that or not, but its a scary possibility if you are a homeowner dealing with this problem.

Thankfully we aren't the owners of these Box Elders and next year we will leave them, and their bugs, behind, smarter and more in the know now to avoid these trees in future rental or purchased properties. I would advise that you do the same.

Seriously why would anyone decide to select these trees and plant them on their property? I don't get it. Why? If you know, please tell me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This is your Life

I saw this via a friend on Facebook. I am not sure where it came from so unfortunately do not know who to credit. But I had to share it because I love it. Its beautiful. The kinds of things I try to remember, but that too often get lost from our heads and hearts sometimes. Words to live by. Words to remember. Reminiscent of my ideas behind My Scenic Byway and life itself. Life is scenic. Live it. Love it. Eyes wide open and taking it all in. Every minute of it. Because yes, life is short.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More Dreamy Byway

I've been busy, with no time to write all the things I want. More to come soon. For now some dreamy Scenic Byway memories...

Utah Salt Flats

Lake Tahoe
Pipes Canyon, Pioneertown, CA

Route 50, Nevada

Route 50, Nevada

Dixie National Forest, Utah

Also see: Dreamy Scenic Byway

Monday, August 8, 2011

Return to Gilgal

Every time I return to the strange little sculpture garden, Gilgal Garden, in downtown Salt Lake, I find new, interesting little things. There is never anyone there, so alone you can wander around and wonder about the inspirations that drove this man to spend a lifetime finding and working this stone. It has become a "must see" place to take visiting friends and family.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Playing Tourist in Salt Lake City

Spent the day showing a friend some of the touristy spots of Salt Lake City - Brigham Young's house (The Beehive House), Temple Square, and Gilgal Garden. It was my first visit to Temple Square where you can see the outside of the main temple and visit the place where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practices.

Brigham Young

The Beehive House - Brigham Young's house.

The Church Office Building

Temple Square

Inside one of the Visitors Centers

Gardens around Temple Square

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dreamy Scenic Byway

Wishing you a happy weekend, scenic travels, and dreamy dreams...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Heaven is...

rolling in the sun.

Mr. Kitty - who almost died a few months ago - is still hanging in there and very much enjoying his old age and his remaining time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Birthday MTV

MTV just had its 30th birthday. It was this past Monday, August 1.

I heard about it first seeing a headline on Facebook. These days I get more and more news from FB - the "like" button for PBS, NPR, and many other news sources sending the headlines straight to my FB newsfeed. So, I expected to see tons and tons of FB entries about this pop culture milestone from music loving friends and my "like" sources. But surprisingly I saw very little to nothing. Maybe I was just busy that day and there was a lot on FB and I missed it? Maybe I just missed it because I haven't been watching tv (except for taped episodes of True Blood, Weeds and the Big C) and I don't regularly read the newspaper like I used to. Did you know about this? Did you hear a lot about it? What did you think?

This is the kind of thing that has made me stop and say WOW. And remember. 1981? 30 years old? Really? I was 14 that summer and I can still remember it SO clearly. I remember suddenly discovering it on tv. I remember those first videos. It was amazing. It changed everything. And the rest is history. Those of you younger than me who were not there to witness its very beginning - you. just. will. not. understand. Ever. Don't even try. And it doesn't count if you were 5. I was 14. A teenager. Right there. A teenager in a small town with no access to music other than the lame top 40 local stations and word of mouth. Before excessive cable tv, before the internet. Before college where one's music exposure could really blossom.

And as we all know, you were definitely around to see this, MTV later became CRAP. And it still is crap. It has been for a long time. I haven't dared to watch it in years. But at its start it was such a beautiful, wondrous thing. We would watch it for hours and hours. We would stay up all night at friends' houses watching endless loops of videos. It broadened our musical knowledge and tastes and brought a common musical knowledge and culture to a nation and then went global. It changed everything - some good and some bad - and music and culture would never be the same.