52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Week 9 – Highwayman by the Highwaymen

You’ve been waiting for it – when are we going to get both Country and Western.  Here it is – the Highwayman is a classic – and it also presents the continuum of the adventurism and spirit of the American west.

http://youtu.be/aFkcAH-m9W0

 

Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson made two albums as the Highwaymen.  When you put that kind of legendary talent together – good things happen.

I’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I can; perhaps I may become a highwayman again…

-cj cheetham

52 songs for 52 weeks will get your music collection up to par. If you want to have a better music collection – check in each week . Add a song a week and in one year’s time your music collection will be the envy of all your friends.

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Do Free People Need to Be Forced to Buy Good Products?

Have any of you noticed that the government is always ordering you to buy things?  For example – if you want to buy a car, the bureaucrats have created so many regulations regarding that automobile, that you have to get certain safety features and you have to get a certain amount of fuel efficiency.  Do you need a light bulb?  Guess what, soon government will order you to buy (very expensive) fluorescent light bulbs, because they are in essence outlawing the incandescent light bulb from the market place.  Likewise, the government is forcing people to buy toilets that use less water and a standard flush toilet with some serious water pressure will soon be a thing of the past.

Of course, when the government orders free citizens to buy certain products the bureaucrats and politicians tell us “the new product is better, that is why people must buy it!”  Likewise, when your government bans the sale of a product, they do so because (they claim) that product is inferior, dangerous, wasteful, and expensive.  The product is so bad; we won’t allow consumers to buy it.

So, maybe we should ask ourselves.  Do we really need to be ordered to buy good products?  Do we really need to be prohibited from buying inferior products?  The answer is a resounding, no.

I was listening to music quite a bit this weekend.   I simply hit shuffle on my IPod and it played all weekend without repeating a song.  It’s an incredibly convenient device.  The digital music revolution has truly improved the lot of music fans.  I couldn’t help but remember a key point – no one in the government ordered me to buy an iPod for “my own good.” 

In fact, my decision to go digital was a completely free choice.  I still own hundreds of Compact Discs, but I long ago copied that music to my iPod as well.  It is a better way to deliver music to consumers.  Sure, there will always be the fans of vinyl albums and compact discs, both of which offer tactile joys.  However, the music industry is dominated by downloaded music these days.

It got me to thinking about my music experience over my lifetime.  I can remember in the early 1970s, my mother would be listening to Frank Sinatra on a 33 RPM long playing vinyl album.  At the same time, my sister was listening to the Monkees on a 45 RPM vinyl single.  My brothers and I were fooling around with a reel to reel tape player listening to the Beatles.

Later, in the 70s my oldest brother had an 8-Track player in his car.  Pretty sweet that 8-track player, except for the fact that the best song on the album almost always seemed to be the song that would fade out as the player switched from track one to track two, thereby ruining the song.  This didn’t stop the 8-Track from gobbling up a significant portion of record sales.

By the time I reached high school in the 1980’s I scoffed the 8-track as a relic.  The 45 RPM singles were long gone.  No, we had reached music nirvana with the advent of the stereo cassette.  It was portable, could be slapped in a car stereo or in a portable boom box.  We never had it so good.  Not only was this the apex of music products, but we could now make “mix tapes” – perfect for parties.  I remember wondering why people were still buying vinyl when it was so obvious that the cassette was the better product.

By the end of the 1980s, I was finding it harder and harder to purchase cassette tapes at a record store.  Someone had gone and introduced Compact Discs.  Ask someone under the age 30 if they even know what a cassette tape is and you will probably get a blank stare.  When I would go into record stores in the 1980’s, entire walls were covered with cassettes.  By 1990, the cassette was dead and I was transitioning to the CD.

The quality of the CD, a digital recording, well it was so much better that no one wanted cassettes anymore.  Vinyl albums limped along but the market for vinyl was just about destroyed.  The LP was now a nostalgia piece or worse a novelty item.  CDs ruled the day, and let’s face it; we all thought they would rule forever.  That is until along came digital music, MP3s, and iTunes.  I’d tell you to go to a record store and look for a CD but digital music destroyed music stores along with the CD.

I’ll bet most of you had a similar experience with different forms of music over your lifetimes.  In fact, I’d wager that today most of you have some kind of portable digital music player, or music files on your computer right now – and that you have more music digitally than you do physically in the form of albums, CDs, or heaven forbid cassette tapes.

Now ask yourself something.  At any time in your life did government force you to buy a music product?  For example did bureaucrats announce that they were outlawing the reel to reel tape in favor of the 8-Track?  Do you remember the President or any of his cabinet officials ever getting on television with a somber announcement that the cassette tape was now the only legal music product in America and that it would no longer be lawful to sell 8-tracks?  Was there a ban on CDs announced forcing the advent of iTunes?

Do you remember any of that?  Of course not.

Here’s what really happened.  People like music a lot and they are always seeking the best way to own it and listen to it.  The music industry likes selling music a lot and in order to make money they want to give people what they want.  In other words, the advances in music happened naturally, driven by consumer demand and producer innovation.  That relationship between consumer and producer is free of coercion.

Need another example?  Ask yourself – how did the free world transition from burning wood, to burning coal, to burning oil and gas?  None of that was ordered and that is why it worked so well.  Only when the bureaucrats in government got involved in massively regulating energy did we suddenly stop progressing.  Strange, isn’t it?

This brings me back to the original question.  Do free people have to be forced to buy a good product?  Let’s take a look at that fluorescent light bulb.  If it is a better product, why would any government have to force people to buy it?  Why would government have to outlaw the incandescent bulbs?  Is that what happened with the 8-track tape?

People who are free are also rational actors.  When we spend our money we want good products that offer value and quality.  Free people can figure that out without help.  They do not need to be ordered, threatened, cajoled, begged, or forced to behave rationally.  Our own experience with music proves that.  If consumers are willing to seek the very best products on music, they can handle light bulbs too. Free people can also decide how many MPGs they want their car to get.  People can decide how much flushing power their toilets need.  I could literally list products for days that we do not need to be told how to buy.

Yet, your government and the bureaucrats within that government disagree.  They want to force you to buy the products that they want you to buy.  Of course, they will wrap this brute force up in nice speeches about the efficiency of the new light bulb.  How it will save money in the “long run” and how it is simply a better product.  But we know from our own experience, when something is better, we don’t need to be told to buy it.  We simply buy the CD and forget all about the cassette tape.

So why does government need to use force and law to make you buy a light bulb, or a toilet with no water, or a tiny tin-can of a car? 

Here’s the dirty little secret.  The government is forcing you to buy these products because government knows you won’t naturally, freely buy the products the government wants you to buy.  In other words, the government is actually forcing you to stop buying what you want, to buy what you don’t want.  The government knows that the products they are forcing you to buy are in fact, not better.  It’s as if the government was forcing you to buy 8-track tapes and outlawing iTunes.

Does that make a bit of sense?  No.  Is it how free people should be treated by their government?  No.

Remember that the next time the government announces how they are going to force you to buy a better product.  Remember, if a politician is forcing you to buy something, it is more than likely an 8-track tape he is pushing.  

Enough with the heavy-handed government; we, the people, can figure this stuff out on our own. 

-cj cheetham

Check out the vintage 8-Track Player Commercial:  http://youtu.be/3PMMGvmnCSE

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Hometown by Joe Jackson

So sometimes when the music stops
I seem to hear a distant sound
Of waves and seagulls
Football crowds and church bells
And I wanna go back to my home town

Joe Jackson is a great song writer.  Here he captures, almost perfectly what most of us think about from time to time – our hometown.  I confess, there are times I wish I could go back to Pembroke Mass, and spend a day fishing on Chandler Pond or playing pick up basketball with my friends behind the Junior High School. 

I’ve been back to Pembroke, and like the song says, I know it will never be the same.

I guess that is how it must be – but not how I wish it could be. 

And now I plough through piles
Of bills, receipts and credit cards
And tickets and the Daily News
And sometimes I just wanna go back to my home town

http://youtu.be/o4ru-yrlM7s

-CJ Cheetham

52 songs for 52 weeks will get your music collection up to par. If you want to have a better music collection – check in each week . Add a song a week and in one year’s time your music collection will be the envy of all your friends.

Programs vs. Leaders: How Programs Undermine Leadership (Part I)

In any endeavor, leaders have awesome responsibilities.  First of all, the leader must provide the critical vision so the team knows what they are striving to achieve.  Secondly, the leader must articulate the values of his organization thereby establishing the culture that will drive success.  Lastly, the leaders must provide the tools, training, and resources necessary for success. 

Please note, that each of these three critical aspects to leadership and ultimately organizational success rely on a leader doing something quite radical:  a leader must communicate with and lead his subordinates.  The level of communication required for the team’s success is high.  If a leader wants to convey vision, values, and training to subordinates, it will require a great deal of personal interaction.  Because this is true, smaller organizations and businesses have a huge advantage over large, lumbering organizations.  

The United States Military is a great place to work.  The rewards are high, the respect we get from our fellow citizens is humbling; and for the most part we work with people who are incredibly dedicated to the success of the team.  But let me let you in on a little secret:  the United States Military is also a gargantuan, soul-crushing bureaucracy.  Like all bureaucracies, the military version of bureaucracy is dedicated to opposing leaders and common sense.  There is no better example of how the military bureaucracy is at odds with leadership than in the area of “programs.”

The United States Air Force has more programs than you could imagine.  There are literally so many programs that no member of the Air Force could possibly name them all.  There are resiliency programs, fitness programs, training programs, mentorship programs, equal treatment programs, smoking cessation programs, etc.

Now, you may already be reacting with what is wrong with resiliency and equal treatment?  Aren’t these noble goals?  And just what is your beef with training programs, Cheetham?  Do you want a bunch of untrained, non-resilient jerks serving in the military?

Here are the problems with programs:  programs separate leaders from followers; programs rarely achieve their stated goals; programs generally relieve leaders of their number one responsibility, namely the responsibility to train their own followers.

I think some practical examples will help illustrate this.

The Advanced Distributed Learning Service – a place where no learning happens

The Air Force Advanced Distributed Learning Service (ADLS) is a web-based training program that the Air Force uses for a multitude of training classes.  For example, any Airman can log into the ADLS website and access a smorgasbord of training classes.  There are classes on computer security, unexploded ordinance, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, safeguarding information, first aid, etc., etc.

 Again, there are so many courses, that no one Airman could tell you what courses are offered, but many of these courses are required (mandatory) annual training for all Airmen.  If you don’t complete those courses someone will let you know that you are not meeting standards.

The ADLS provides the Air Force with a fast, easy, efficient way to train across a huge organization.  If you want all Airmen trained on computer security, simply create a computer based course on ADLS.  Then Airmen all over the globe can read through the standardized training materials and take a test each year.  Problem solved – you have just created a class that can train 300,000+ personnel yearly on the critical issue of computer security.

There is just one problem – no one actually learns anything by taking these courses

Here’s how the courses are supposed to work:  an individual logs on and opens up a series of lessons.  The lessons have a series of slides, text, audio narration, and sometimes video.  At the end of the lessons which could take a couple of hours, all designed to convey critical information, the student takes a quiz or test to show that they have mastered the information.

Sounds okay, except this is how the courses actually work:  the student advances the slides of all lessons as fast as humanly possible (10 minutes is achievable) and then takes the quiz (over and over if necessary) until he/she achieves a passing (usually 70%) score.   Then the student can print a “certificate of training” and not have to think about that subject again for 12 months.  Note the student did not read the slides nor the text; the student did not listen to the audio and didn’t watch the video; he didn’t learn a thing.

There are many ways to describe such a system, but describing it as “training” is not one of those ways.  Likewise, there are many ways to describe the students’ experience in that system, but “learning” is not one of those ways.  In fact, I’ve never met anyone in my career who would say they have learned anything in an ADLS class.  Furthermore, leaders at all levels throughout the Air Force know this unpleasant fact; we all know that our Airmen are breezing through and not learning a thing!  So, if there is no training and no learning happening, why is this system being used? 

Problems with a centralized computer based training program:

1.   It is easier for leaders to outsource training to a website:   This is a perceived benefit for leaders.  Rather than have to devote manpower and time within their organization to train these critical topics and ensure that their personnel understand the subject matter, the leader simply says “make sure you get on your computer and get that certificate.”  The leader is literally abdicating his responsibility to this program.

2.   The Myth of Standardization:  There is a cult-like obsession with standardization in the military.    Therefore, this computer program which provides the exact same information, in the exact same way to more than 300,000 personnel makes the standardization cult very happy.  But I must remind you, the only thing being standardized is a lack of learning and a lack of training.

3.  CYA:  If you aren’t sure what CYA means – google it.  The reason this training system is popular is because it offers cover for leaders.  Going back to our computer security training example – if a sergeant violates computer security procedures the first question that will be asked is “was the sergeant trained on computer security?”  Now, that sergeant’s leader can produce a slick certificate proving he was trained.  Yes, we all know that he wasn’t trained – but he has a certificate.  So now the leader gets to say, “Well, I did everything I could.  I mean, the guy was trained.  We don’t have a training problem – just a bad egg.  It’s certainly not my fault.”  Technically he is right, because that is what every unit in the Air Force could say.  The real comedy comes next – when in response to the sergeant violating computer security, another web-based security class, new and improved, is created and 300,000+ Airmen who didn’t do anything wrong get to click a mouse and get another certificate of “training.”

4. Bean counting:  Under this system, leaders have become obsessed with tracking who has completed web-based training.  In fact, that is all they are concerned with.  Yes, they know that no one learns.  They really don’t care a bit about the quality of the training.  No, what today’s leader is focused on is statistics.  Did everyone do the training and get the certificate?  Never mind if the training had any merit – just get it done.  I don’t want to have to answer to headquarters. 

A Better Way:  Leader Centric Training:

There’s a better way to train Airmen.  Let’s return to leader-centric training.  That’s the kind of training where leaders at all levels actually communicate with subordinates.  Rather than shuffling them off to a website to get trained on computer security or something like that, let’s actually have Airmen trained by their supervisors and peers.  The current web-based nonsense creates resentment of leaders. 

Airmen are thinking “my boss knows this training is terrible, that we aren’t learning, and that we are going through the motions, yet he keeps demanding I do it.”  That is not a morale building thought.  It doesn’t engender confidence in leaders.  Airmen are asking why the system is allowing this.

The leader-centric concept creates more accountability.  If Airmen aren’t trained properly under the leader-centric construct, we’ll know exactly where to go to fix it – right to the commanders.  I know what my fellow commanders are thinking.  How in the world will I have time to train all of my airmen on all of these mandatory training requirements the Air Force has? 

First of all, commanders can empower and trust subordinate leaders to train their organization.  Secondly, training your folks is a core leadership trait and something commanders should be interested in.  Most importantly, if the Air Force has so many annual training requirements that we don’t have enough time or people to train those requirements effectively and genuinely, then we have lousy requirements.  Maybe, this gigantic bureaucracy has created too many darned training requirements!

Additionally, leader-centric training creates better morale in an organization.  It creates trust and respect across all ranks.  It instills feelings of confidence in your subordinates because they are trained by their superiors.  They trust the sergeant who trains them.  They respect the officer who trains them.

I can remember when I was a private in the Army National Guard in Massachusetts.  One day after a long day of convoy training I was sitting with some friends, drinking out of my canteen under the shade of a tree.  A sergeant came over and asked “what are you guys doing?”  

-Nothing.

“Well get out your soldier’s manual.  I’ll train you guys on SALUTE reports.”

THAT is training. 

He didn’t say, “Well, when you get back to the barracks make sure you log into the website and breeze through the SALUTE report training.  I’ll need those certificates before close of business.” 

Not only did I actually listen, learn, and demonstrate knowledge back to that sergeant, but I also respected him more.  Years later, when my unit deployed for Desert Storm, it was nice to know that the people who were going to war with me actually knew what the heck they were talking about because they had trained me, trained with me, or been trained by me; they were not trained by mindless web-based training.  If the training isn’t important enough to have a human teach it, then frankly, I doubt its importance.

Lastly, leader-centric training ensures that the trainee gets it.  Only a human being can see when another human being does not understand a concept.  A website cannot do that.  If someone isn’t getting it – then the leader must find a way to train it differently.

The Elephant in the Living Room

There is an elephant in the Air Force living room.  That Elephant has ADLS painted on her side.  She is sitting in front of a computer trying to work a mouse with her huge feet.  She is clutching with her trunk a bunch of meaningless training certificates.

How is it possible that almost 100% of the Air Force knows that ADLS is failing our Airmen and nothing is done about it?  To the contrary, new ADLS training requirements are constantly being added to the system.

What is it about a program that makes them so resistant to reality? 

END OF PART I.  We’ll wrap it up with a look at other programs and how they are at odds with leadership – and what can be done about it.

-CJ Cheetham

Coke adds life

Remember that advertisement?  Coke adds life! 

One day in college, I experienced something so amazing centered on a can of Coca Cola, that it changed my entire outlook on life. 

I was completely broke.  I don’t mean like some college kids claim to be broke – I mean 100% busted.  I wasn’t living in the dorms, I had no meal plan, and I had no money.   My parents were in financial dire straits as well – the result of my Dad losing his business a few years earlier.  So they were in no position to help at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I had some income from a part time job and my service in the Massachusetts Army National Guard.  But one particular Wednesday morning, I literally had no money in my wallet, no money in the bank (my savings were completely exhausted).  Furthermore, I had no prospects to get any money until either my National Guard check arrived in the mail or Friday/payday rolled around.

What I did have was a car.  It wasn’t much of a car, a 1974 Malibu Wagon that I bought for 50 bucks.  It was kind of a long commute, about thirty to forty minutes from my house to class every day – but it was still the most cost effective plan I could come up with.  It was after all, the days of 99 cents a gallon for gas.

Bright and early that Tuesday I had started up the wagon and headed off to class.  I rolled onto campus at 7:45 – plenty of time to make my 8 AM class.  There was only one problem – the car was just about out of gas.  When I say I rolled onto campus, I am not far from literal truth. 

It was a cold day on the University of Massachusetts campus, and as I walked across the quad en route to my first class the wind nipped at my ears.  Even worse was what my own mind kept whispering in my ears “how are you going to get home?  You have no gas and absolutely no money.”

I made it through my morning classes struggling to listen to lectures.  My fellow students, oblivious to my problem weren’t going to be a help either.  At best, by this point in my college experience I had a few acquaintances in my classes.  But I didn’t have many friends and I certainly would not run into anyone that I could hit up for 10 bucks.  My pride was not going to allow that sort of belittling begging moment:  “Hey, I know this is weird, but I don’t have a penny to my name and I have virtually no gas to get home either.  You wouldn’t happen to have a ten-spot I could borrow do you?”

My last class of the day wasn’t until 3pm, so I had some time to work on the problem.  The question was – where was I going to come up with enough money for gas to get home?  Make it home, Cheetham and you know that your National Guard check will be waiting for you.  Just make it home.   But where was I going to find five dollars for gas?

I trekked back across campus to the Chevy.  It sat in the parking lot, it’s nearly empty gas tank mocking me.  But maybe there was hope inside that car.  Hadn’t there been many times that school year when change had fallen out of my pocket?  Quarters, dimes, nickels – they were no doubt under seats; floor mats, in the glove box, and maybe even in the back!

I picked up my pace with an almost optimistic bounce.  I said a prayer as I opened the driver’s side door, “Please God, just five dollars.  Maybe, four dollars, God.  I think I could make it home with four dollars – but seriously, God nothing less than $3.50.”

I reached under the driver’s seat – and found a sock and a Milky Way wrapper.  I threw them in the back seat and reached under again.  Here we go!  I pulled out a quarter, a nickel and two pennies.  I moved on to the other seats and the floor mats.  My hands were clawing.  Despite my frantic searching, the car was yielding very little cash.  When I was done, I sat in the front seat and counted all of the money I was able to find – seventy-two cents.  That was it.

Again, these were the days of cheap gas, but I had enough money for three quarters of a gallon of gas.  That wasn’t getting me home.  Angrily, I put the seventy-two cents in my front pocket.  “You have to be kidding me, God.  Not even a buck?”  Downcast and feeling rejected I walked back to the academic building with three hours to kill.

Around two o’clock I realized something else – I was incredibly hungry.  It is one of the worst feelings I have ever had in my entire life.  Here I was, with no money, I hadn’t eaten all day and I was seriously considering how I was either going to find a way to sleep in the library by hiding in the poetry section (no one goes there) or gut it out sleeping in that ice cold wagon.

There really was no one to call, and in those days before cell phones, why would I drop a precious quarter calling to whine to someone who was in no position to help me anyhow?   

No – it was the poetry section for me.  I’d simply hide from the library staff as they closed up for the night and then I would curl up with T.S. Elliot, Robert Frost, and Anne Sexton.  They (actually the central heating system) would keep me warm.   If the library staff caught me huddled near Chaucer?  I guess then I was gutting it out in the car. 

I was resolved to my fate as I sat in the lounge of the academic building waiting for my three o’clock class.  I fantasized about picking pockets of the students walking by.  I was tortured with the thought of going up to a complete stranger and asking for money.  Never!

In the lounge area it began to get dark as the sun got low in the sky.  Why was I so darned hungry?  It had only been about nineteen hours since I last ate something.  For crying out loud, people had gone weeks without eating and survived.  I was sitting in a heated building on a university campus and I was starving.  

Looming across the room from me was a Coca Cola Machine.  Its bright red glow beckoned me – “come closer.”  The hum of its compressor spoke to me, “Fifty cents for an ice cold can of Coke.  Come on kid.  You’re already sleeping in the car tonight, at least have a Coke.”

I think when you are completely broke and hopeless, spending fifty of your last seventy-two cents on sugary cola makes a lot of sense.  It did to me anyhow.  The situation wasn’t going to get any worse was it?  I might as well suck back a cold soda before that next class.

So I walked over and dropped a quarter, two dimes, and a nickel into the glowing red temptress.  I pressed the button for Coca Cola Classic and after a series of clunks as the can pin-balled its way through the innards of the machine, out rolled an icy-cold can of Coke.  I picked it up with a sigh and walked back to the couch where I had taken up residence.

I cracked open the can, relishing the familiar clicking and ripping of aluminum.  I smiled and took an incredibly large swig.

My God!  It was the worst thing I had ever tasted.  It was like salty, disgusting water.  Somehow, I had opened a bum can of Coke.  I fought the urge to spit out the wretched liquid. 

This wasn’t possible, was it?  I looked inside the can – it was full alright, but not with cola.  And then I noticed something just inside the rim – something cylindrical.  What is that in there?  I poked at it with my pinkie and out popped a spring-loaded plastic tube.  There was a small roll of paper inside it.

At this point, I have to let you in a key part of this story.  Watch this:

http://youtu.be/ZixEXf6vB94

I pulled out the plastic tube in complete disbelief.  It looked like there was cash inside of it.  I worked the bill out of the tube and unrolled it.  Alexander Hamilton stared back at me, smiling.  Okay, he wasn’t smiling but I was.

Ten Bucks!  Are you kidding me?

I proceeded to hoot and holler quite a bit.  I literally jumped up and down a few times, as some students walking by looked at me like I was insane.  They gave me that “take it easy, buddy” look.

They didn’t understand – a miracle had just taken place!

 I went immediately to buy a sandwich and a coffee.  I still had six dollars and change.  I could not get over my good fortune. 

I’ve told that story many times in the 20+ years since it happened.  How do you explain such an event?  You really can’t, just as I can’t ever explain the series of consecutive miracles it took for me to even make it through college.

Now that I am older, and no longer a desperate college kid, I look back on that day and I have trouble remembering the fear and desperation.  It really was an awful feeling – to be completely broke.  But I can’t remember that very well.  All I can remember is how it turned out perfectly. 

As I said, that day literally changed my outlook on life.  The bottom line for me was and is that if you keep grinding, eventually good things will happen.  And even when you have nothing, you are hanging on to the end of your rope, and you are trying to figure out where you may sleep for the night – there is still hope.  Because, you never know what will pop out of a Coke can.

That’s what I learned that day as a young man.  But as a man in my forties, reflecting on some of the amazing things I’ve encountered in life, I am drawn to that little prayer I said as I walked to my car.  “Please God – just five bucks.  I’ll settle for four.” 

And God answered, “How does ten dollars sound Cheetham?  I’m on your side.”

-cj cheetham

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: America by Simon and Garfunkle

Week 7 – America by Simon and Garfunkle

“Michigan seems like a dream to me now” It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw I’ve gone to look for America

In the late 1960’s, when people were still hitch-hiking acrosss the country or setting out for adventure aboard a greyhound bus, Simon and Garfunkle recorded this tune.

I’ve got to be honest – I do miss the pre-information age – and whenever I hear this song it makes me remember a time when the country was big and adventures were just around the corner.

And I much prefer this road song to Kerouac’s literary road.

Take a chance – it’s America and something great might happen.

“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why

http://youtu.be/W773ZPJhcVw

-CJ Cheetham

52 songs for 52 weeks will get your music collection up to par. If you want to have a better music collection – check in each week . Add a song a week and in one year’s time your music collection will be the envy of all your friends.

52 Songs for 52 Weeks: Leaving New York by REM

Week 6 – Leaving New York by REM

You find it in your heart; it’s pulling me apart

At one point in their career, REM couldn’t release a song without getting massive airplay.  Then something strange happened – they put out one album that no one liked all that much (New Adventures in HiFi).  After that album cooled REM’s popularity, for some strange reason they could never recapture radio stations.

Their last few albums got virtually no recognition and a bunch of incredible songs never got the attention they deserved.

This is one of those songs. 

It’s easier to leave then be left behind…

http://youtu.be/93qDO1vhusw

-CJ Cheetham

52 songs for 52 weeks will get your music collection up to par. If you want to have a better music collection – check in each week . Add a song a week and in one year’s time your music collection will be the envy of all your friends.