april 20

Chris Thomas: Back To Basics

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A Forum Blog Post From: The Chris Thomas Files

Back To Basics Image One
Image Credit: ageucate.com

Change is upon us. The problem is that most of us are too busy fire-fighting our lives that we have difficulty sorting out just how we are changing. In order to understand ourselves and, our place within this change, we need to return to some of the basic truths of who and what we are. In this way, we will be better able to steer our way to the future. As humans, we are used to thinking of ourselves as physical bodies with some kind of extra bit we call a soul but, this is a false impression. What we really are is a soul that is 100 million years old and our soul has built for itself many physical bodies over the course of human history. As each of our many lifetimes has ended, we have merged with our higher soul aspect to review our successes and failures in the physical life we have just ended. With that process of review completed, we then plan our next physical life.

Everyone who is alive on Earth has undergone this process many times, with each successive lifetime planned to provide […] new experiences, as well as to re-live some of our past failures, in order that we complete the lesson our soul chose to learn. In this way, each new physical life is lived as a mixture of clearing out past failures, lessons we did not learn, as well as learning from the new experiences our next life will provide us with. Nobody directs the actions our souls take. Every action is chosen with full and free choice. It is how we, the physical body, react to our soul’s choices, as we encounter them in life, that determines how straight forwards our lives are. If we stray from our soul’s chosen path, we receive hints from our higher self in the guise of an illness. We return to our chosen path and the symptoms heal themselves.

All of the main choices we are faced with in life are chosen by our higher selves before we are re-born into our new bodies as babies. Babies and children are souls of the same age as we are, they just inhabit younger bodies until they become adults. Who our parents are, who our siblings are, the country we are born into, our way of life, our means of earning an income, who our lovers will be…all of the main aspects of our new lives are worked out before we are born.

Soul Image Two
Image Credit: moonhippiemystic.wordpress.com &
lucas2012infos.wordpress.com

This is something that we really have forgotten about. Everything we do in life, our way of life, our nationality, is all pre-determined BEFORE we are born. It is very easy to become distracted by the plight of those who live in other countries as we often compare their way of life with ours. If we consider that they have less than we in the west do, we become concerned. In doing this, we are making a judgement on the lives those others are living and who are we to make judgements in this way? The old Native American saying is something we really need to pay attention to: “Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their moccasins.”

This is not to say that we should not be compassionate or that we should not care. What we should be doing is finding a balance. Having spent thirty years working with people’s health problems, there have been many times where it was very tempting to step over the line and try to take on the problems my clients were having in their lives but, I had to draw back. No matter how much I might have wanted to cross that line, the reality is that, the situations that had arisen in my client’s lives were as a result of their soul’s choices and all that I could ever do was to help them understand the choices that they were faced with whilst doing everything I could to heal their ailments.

As we undergo this process of change, we become more and more aware of the plight of others and it becomes increasingly tempting to try to step in and solve their problems for them or allow the compassion we feel to distract us from sorting out our own problems. What we need to do is to find the correct balance. To give an example: The farmers in India have been under huge pressures by the [GMO] companies to only grow [GMO] crops. The Indian government, and banks, increased that pressure by insisting that bank loans to buy seeds were only granted to farmers who agreed to plant [GMO] crops. Traditional seeds (non-GMO) are 10,000 times cheaper than [GMO] seeds but, faced with bank and government pressure, Indian farmers planted [GMO] instead of traditional crops. Consistently, the [GMO] crops failed or produced much lower yields whilst at the same time requiring 300 percent more water and, huge quantities of herbicides and insecticides. Many thousands of farmers became bankrupt and committed suicide by drinking pesticides. But, by people in Europe rejecting [GMO] products, the pressure has now come off the farmers and they are able to re-plant using their traditional seeds. This is where balance lies. [By] rejecting to buy [GMO] products, we in the west have helped to save the lives of Indian farmers and improve their lives, immeasurably. This is compassion in action. We are not physically able to step in and alter the lives of these farmers, no matter how much we might want to but, by forcing the [GMO] companies to cut back on their crops, lives have been saved and livelihoods saved.

We need to remember to think before we act.

© Chris Thomas 2011

The Forum (One Vibration Forum Blog April 20, 2011)
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Military Monday: The Burning of Gosport Navy Yard 1861

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Gosport Navy Yard Image One
Destruction of the Gosport Navy Yard by Union forces.
Image Credit: M. W. Robbins Collection &
The Virginian-Pilot
pilotonline.com

I haven’t done a Military Monday since 2018. One-hundred, fifty-nine years ago, today…~Vic

In 1861, Virginia joined the Confederate States of America. Fearing that the Confederacy would take control of the [Navy yard] facility, the shipyard commander Charles Stewart McCauley ordered the burning of the shipyard.

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[The USS Pawnee was] dispatched to Norfolk to secure the ships and stores of the Gosport Navy Yard. Arriving at Norfolk the night of [April 20], she found that all ships, save [the] USS Cumberland, had been scuttled […]. [So], an attempt was made to destroy the Naval stores and the dry dock. Their efforts were largely unsuccessful but, she took Cumberland in tow and saved the frigate.

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On Saturday evening, at 9 o’clock, the Pawnee arrived from Washington with 200 volunteers, and 100 marines, besides her own crew […]. [At] once, the officers and crew of the Pawnee and Cumberland went to the Navy yard and, spiked and disabled the guns, [plus], threw the shot and small arms into the river. At 10 o’clock, the marines, who had been quartered in the barracks, fired them and came on board the Pawnee. A party of officers, [in the] meantime, were going through the different buildings and ships, distributing waste and turpentine, and laying a train, so as to blow up the dry dock. At this time, the scene was indescribably magnificent, all the buildings being in a blaze, and explosions, here and there, scattering the cinders in all directions.

The Government vessels had been scuttled in the afternoon before the Pawnee arrived, to prevent their being seized by the Secessionists, who had been in arms in both Norfolk and Portsmouth.

The Merrimack/Virgina Image Two
The Merrimack Conversion
Image Credit: M. W. Robbins Collection &
The Virginian-Pilot
pilotonline.com

The Confederate forces did, in fact, take over the shipyard and did so without armed conflict through an elaborate ruse orchestrated by civilian railroad builder William Mahone (then President of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad and soon to become a famous Confederate officer). He bluffed the Federal troops into abandoning the shipyard in Portsmouth by running a single passenger train into Norfolk with great noise and whistle-blowing […]. [T]hen, much more quietly, [he sent] it back west […]. [He returned] the same train, again, creating the illusion of large numbers of arriving troops [with] the Federals listening in Portsmouth across the Elizabeth River (and just barely out of sight).

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[In] July, Confederate shipyard workers begin converting the unburned underbelly of the USS Merrimack into the ironclad CSS Virginia in Drydock 1.

Sources:
Burning of Gosport Navy Yard (The New York Times)
The History of Norfolk Naval Shipyard (The Virginian-Pilot Online)
This Day in Naval History (US Navy Website)
How Fear, Deception and Indecision Nearly Destroyed Norfolk Naval Shipyard (USN History)
Norfolk Naval Shipyard (Wikipedia)

Clip from Hearts in Bondage (1936)

Tune Tuesday: Blondie 1979

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Blondie Image One
Frank Infante, Chris Stein, Jimmy Destri, Debbie Harry, Clem Burke & Nigel Harrison
Photo Credit: recort.nl

Forty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was Heart of Glass by Blondie. Written by Harry and Stein in 1974-75, its working title was Once I Had A Love. The inspiration for its writing came from The Hues Corporation‘s song Rock the Boat.

From The Guardian:

Heart of Glass was one of the first songs Blondie wrote but, it was years before we recorded it properly. We’d tried it as a ballad, as reggae but, it never quite worked. At that point, it had no title. We just called it “the disco song”. Back then, it was very unusual for a guitar band to be using computerised sound. People got nervous and angry about us bringing different influences into rock. Although we’d covered Lady Marmalade and I Feel Love at gigs, lots of people were mad at us for “going disco” with Heart of Glass. There was the Disco Sucks! movement, and there had even been a riot in Chicago, with people burning disco records. Clem Burke, our drummer, refused to play the song live at first. When it became a hit, he said: “I guess I’ll have to.” The lyrics weren’t about anyone. They were just a plaintive moan about lost love. At first, the song kept saying: “Once I had a love, it was a gas. Soon turned out, it was a pain in the ass.” We couldn’t keep saying that, so we came up with: “Soon turned out, had a heart of glass.” We kept one “pain in the ass” in – and the BBC bleeped it out for radio. ~Debbie Harry

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As far as I was concerned, disco was part of R&B, which I’d always liked. The Ramones went on about us “going disco” but, it was tongue-in-cheek. They were our friends. In the video, there’s a shot of the legendary Studio 54, so everyone thought we shot the video there but, it was actually in a short-lived club called the Copa or something. I came up with the phrase “heart of glass” without knowing anything about Werner Herzog or his movie of the same name, which is a great, weird film. It’s nice people now use the song to identify the period in films and documentaries. I never had an inkling it would be such a big hit, or become the song we’d be most remembered for. It’s very gratifying. ~Chris Stein

Blondie Image Two
Photo Credit: nypost.com
An Oral History of Blondie

From CityBeat:

In season one, DJ Johnny Fever not only plays Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” on his broadcast but, home audiences actually hear him announce the band’s, and the song’s, names. It was fantastic promotion for the up-and-coming Blondie, whose huge breakthrough album, Parallel Lines (with other seminal singles like Hanging on the Telephone and One Way or Another), came out the same month WKRP in Cincinnati debuted. The band reportedly gave the show a Gold record plaque celebrating the album’s major sales numbers as a “Thank You” card. It can be seen in the background as set design on several episodes in later seasons.

From NPR:

Unlike many DJs from that era, Fever played punk as well as rock and soul. The range of music on the show gave this fictional radio station a better playlist than most of the era’s real ones. […] although the show helped break Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” big, the exception, in Fever’s case, was disco. “I asked him to play one disco record and he threatened to throw himself in front of Donna Summer‘s tour bus,” Travis complains in “Baby, If You’ve Ever Wondered,” from season two.

As of April 20, 2011, Heart of Glass is #259 of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Awards & Nominations
Best Selling International Single (Juno 1980)
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2006)
Grammy Hall of Fame (2016)

Lyrics:
[Verse 1]
Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

[Chorus]
In between
What I find is pleasing and I’m feeling fine
Love is so confusing, there’s no peace of mind
If I fear I’m losing you, it’s just no good
You teasing like you do

[Verse 2]
Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

[Chorus]
Lost inside
Adorable illusion and I cannot hide
I’m the one you’re using, please don’t push me aside
We could’ve made it cruising, yeah

[Bridge]
Yeah, riding high
On love’s true bluish light

[Verse 3]
Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out to be a pain in the ass
Seemed like the real thing only to find
Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

[Chorus]
In between
What I find is pleasing and I’m feeling fine
Love is so confusing, there’s no peace of mind
If I fear I’m losing you, it’s just no good
You teasing like you do