In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks upon the World Trade Center, amid the emotional upheaval and flat-out shock experienced by United States citizens from all walks of life, one song in particular—from a rather unexpected source—seemed to give the nation’s grief-stricken an inordinate amount of solace.
No, it wasn’t anything overtly patriotic or jingoistic. The tune had not a whiff of Lee Greenwood-esque swoops, rallying yodels, and martial ballyhoos.
Rather, the song was a previously obscure track from an album by New Age chanteuse par excellence, Enya. The song was called ‘Only Time,’ and had been culled from a recent Enya collection called ‘A Day Without Rain’ (or ‘Pain Without Rain,’ or ‘Rain Without a Day,’ or ‘I’m Standing On the Parapets of My Irish Castle Watching the Money Roll In’)—I forget the actual album title, but the song was not easily forgotten.
Americans connected with ‘Only Time’ and its somber, orchestral lyrics about not knowing where the day goes, where hearts flow, as love goes, and where love flies, and so on and so forth. Couched as it was in Enya’s signature vocal layers and the ethereal production values that tend to grab listeners and transport them immediately to a dewy glade surrounded by gnarled and grasping oak trees beneath a budding dawn (while the prior’s evening’s faery revelers twinkle off to bed), ‘Only Time’ was meditative. Its melody and lyrical simplicity were appropriate balms for soothing the scars and wounds of a cataclysmic strike against the heart of human decency.
The track gained airplay across the nation (and world) as if out of nowhere following 9/11, and a portion of the proceeds were allocated by Enya for victims of the terroristic assault. People stopped to listen. They allowed the gentle and mesmerizing atmospherics of the song to permeate their helter-skelter worlds, even if ‘Only Time’ was hardly the kind of brain-frazzling, hyperactive, histrionic, terrier-in-heat banger that would ever stand a chance in hell of being played on Top 40 radio under typical conditions, even at that time.
But the song worked something akin to a noble artistic miracle over 20 years ago, became a much-loved and respected reminder of both immense grief and human hopefulness, enshrined in the wider cultural ethos, and it won Enya a brand new level of respect and an even wider following (as if she needed more of either).
Imagine my surprise, then, to discover that, in the past few months while surfing YouTube, our fabled ‘Only Time’ has made yet another cultural comeback. Yes!
‘Only Time’ is now featured as the brief soundtrack of a YouTube ad promoting Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
I shit you not.
No dialogue is present in the ad. Just a mother and daughter sitting at a typical kitchen table, enjoying forkfuls of that quick-cookin’ cheesy goodness. They aren’t even holding hands, staring at each other with ponderous significance, or weeping with gladness over the stovetop concoction as Enya’s hymn to human grief wafts over their steaming bowls of cheap elbow ’roni and cheese-related product sauce.
Nope. They are just looking relatively bored, as if savoring the moment of dignity-as-packaged-in-American-fast food.
Only Time. On the table in 10 minutes, if you don’t let the pot boil over and require a glass of boxed wine to deal with the starchy spill.
And people say that nothing is sacred, anymore.
Who knows when the noodle boils, when the sauce spoils? Enya does, apparently. It must be getting more expensive to keep an isolated Irish castle in acceptable staff members these days.
#Enya #OnlyTime #KraftMacaroniAndCheese #YouTube #CrassCommercialism #Licensing #WorldTradeCenter #NothingIsSacred #JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranAuthor #CulturalCriticism #CheesyGoodness
I have always heard that, as one “matures”, the desire to surround one’s body with heat and to establish one’s residence in warmer climes is virtually a given.
If this is true, then I am even more of an oddball than previously understood, with new examples and manifestations of my weirdness being discovered almost every day.
I don’t want your damned heat. I want a year-round chilly, sweater-wearing, fireplace-stoking, soup-slurping lifestyle and the kind of weather that makes such a lifestyle unavoidable.
Perpetual Autumn would be choice, with ghostly winds a-whistlin’ and frost on the hoar. Or hoar on the frost; I’m open to the inclusivity and diversity of elemental/environmental choices.
At present, however, Summertime in the remote Ventana woodlands of California makes me sneezy, sleepy, wheezy, and a bit brain-dead. The majestic beauty of the landscape is not in question and my abject appreciation for said beauty is a thing never to be doubted. But the whole season throws a wrench into my otherwise humming-right-along works and wreaks absolute havoc upon my admittedly idealistic sense of scheduling.
I am still getting a great deal accomplished, creatively speaking, but have little interest in attending the more technical bits of drudge work that beg for completion at the margins of creativity.
Like revamping this bloody website into the commercial outlet I have in mind. I’m behind on that count and the Summer is fully to blame for this happenstance. I simply can’t get to it because I find myself not wanting to think the thoughts required to ignite the process that inspires the kind of cogitation guaranteed to result in action and, by extension, the completion of a goal for which I am really not ready.
Luckily, this is a conundrum with which I can coexist.
Plus, I’m working on three other things at once.
Oh, darn: maybe I’ll just hire someone to do the website.
Then again, such a scenario would necessitate interaction with another human who will likely have distinct ideas and recommendations of his/her own … ideas which are contrary to my mine.
Like that’s ever going to take place. Pffft.
To hell with it. I’m going to go for a jog before the thermometer hits 95 degrees.
See you when the rains come. In freaking February 2022, probably.
Jonathan Kieran presents CLASSIC KID-KIBBLE from YESTERYEAR
TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: BOO BERRY CRUNCH CEREAL (General Mills)
RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: As one of a trilogy of “monster-themed” cereals introduced by General Mills in the mid-1970s (along with Frankenberry and Count Chocula) Boo Berry Crunch was touted by its makers as “the first cereal to ever taste like blueberries.”
I have some good friends who operate one of those organic fruit farms here in Northern California. These fine people wouldn’t let so much as one luvin’ spoonful of Boo Berry Crunch pass their sustainable lips, but if they did, they would assure the world that Boo Berry Crunch did not taste remotely like blueberries. As I recall, Boo Berry Crunch tasted like crystallized drops of sugary summer sky that came to earth when a flying unicorn was strangled with the blue ribbon of a rainbow after a thunderstorm. Yeah, that’s what they tasted like. That and a slight nuance of Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo. I always wondered if there might have been a connection.
In any case, kids certainly overlooked any faint chemical undertones that might’ve been detectable in Boo Berry Crunch because, like any classic “gimmick cereal” of the early 1980s, it contained enough high fructose corn syrup to keep you bouncing off the walls, swinging on the jungle-gym and running the streets like a fevered Tasmanian Devil until dusk. Cereals like Boo Berry Crunch were, however, the bane of conscientious mothers and their wheedling children. A mother with two brain cells to rub together wouldn’t let you go near the stuff, no matter how much you pleaded for “just one box,” dancing around in your duck-feet jammies.
“Those are junk cereals!” my mother would declare. “That stuff is bad for you. Here, have some of this Cream of Wheat.”
“I hate Cream of Wheat! You gotta put half the sugar-bowl on it to get it down.”
“Cream of Wheat is wholesome!” Mother would parry. “It’ll make you grow up big and strong.”
“I don’t wanna be big and strong. I want to taste that sweet Boo Berry goodness on my tongue. It’s fortified with two essential vitamins … and iron!”
“Oh, the company just puts that on the box because the government makes them do it. There’s no vitamins in that garbage. And you don’t need to eat cereals promoted by ghosts. Ghosts are the spirits of the dead. Boo Berry Crunch is nothing but necromancy in a brightly colored box. Do you know what that means?”
“Yeah, yeah. Deuteronomy says it’s the stuff Satan feeds his demon-spawn down in Hell. But can’t we just get one box? As a treat?”
“NO! Here, try a bowl of these nice Grape Nuts.”
“Mommy, no! ANYTHING but Grape Nuts! My gums will hemorrhage!”
It never worked, our pleas for Boo Berry Crunch, especially when Mother was in a spiritual phase. Sure, Boo Berry Crunch was probably “of the devil,” just like she claimed, but we didn’t fear hellfire all that much at age six and neither, apparently, did our next door neighbor, Barbra Smith. Barbra and her derelict boyfriend, Hank, were nice enough folks. Sometimes, on summer weekends, we were even allowed to play with their kids or camp out overnight in their yard while Barb and Hank knocked back whiskey sours and staggered across the patio to the sound of old Beach Boys records. The next morning, Barbara Smith never felt much like going through the complicated series of motions required to produce a pan of Cream of Wheat. That’s because she could barely stand. When we stormed her bedroom begging for breakfast, she’d throw a few pillows or maybe a pack of cigarettes at us and pull the covers over her head, groaning about the light in the room.
“It burns! It burns!” she would rasp.
Then she’d tell us to look under the kitchen sink and get the hell out of her hair, already.
Barbra Smith’s cupboards were stocked with every form of sugar-saturated kid kibble that a much sought-after rural hairdresser’s money could buy. Boo Berry Crunch was always prominently featured and we would end-up stuffing ourselves to the brink of diabetic comas until Barb and Hank finally drifted out of their bedroom around noon and started rummaging in the fridge for Bloody Mary fixings. By that time, we didn’t care about Saturday morning Adult Invasions. Our bellies were full and our minds were tweaking on Bugs Bunny reruns. My experience of forbidden Devil Cereals –along with the bliss of carefree childhood– was complete.
Thank God for alcoholic neighborhood moms.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Mothers (even drunken ones, apparently) got wise with the advent of the Information Super-Highway and thus all of the brain-rotting, tooth-emulsifying treats like Boo Berry Crunch swiftly went the way of the Twinkie. May they rest in pieces.
EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: Part of the appeal of Boo Berry Crunch stemmed from the fact that it was one of the popular junk cereals fronted by a monster. Few kids in my day could resist the imprecations of a monster that promised a reliable sugar-high. Boo Berry Crunch had an extra advantage because my friends and I couldn’t stand that mealy-mouthed wimpy wonder, Casper the Friendly Ghost. “Boo” of Boo Berry Crunch, on the other hand, looked like he could’ve been Casper’s seedy, criminal uncle who earned a living as a supernatural bookie at some Ghostly Greyhound race track, or maybe as an inner-city loan shark. Boo was villainous and kind of “Peter Lorre henchman” creepy and that made you feel like a rule-breaking rebel, a real “bad boy” when you tore into a bowl of the good stuff Boo was pushing. What red-blooded American boy could have resisted that? Behold the very first General Mills commercial for Boo Berry Crunch cereal … in all of its Boo Berry Splendor.
Yours in Glucose,
Jonathan Kieran, ESQ.
As an intrepid and almost swashbuckling wanderer, adventurer, and explorer of many years, many nations, and many memories, I can tell you that no excursion could offer you more history, luxury, or pure jaw-dropping glory than a visit to Egypt.
Yes. It’s greater than Rome. Greece. The Grand Canyon. The Great Barrier Reef. The Great Wall of China. Name the amazing place and, I guarantee you, Egypt and its incomparable glories will put them all to shame.
I have been to Egypt ten times in my life and each visit proved more wondrous and revealing than the time before.
Temples that tower above you like brooding forests of stone and mystery, speaking to the richness of an ancient empire like no other.
Pyramids that make you gasp for air in disbelief at the very sight of their grandeur, humbling you to the very pit of your stomach, bringing tears to your eyes. A feeling of pure majesty and art that cannot be encountered anywhere else on our planet.
A river that transcends all dreams and thoughts of exotic beauty to make you feel as if you are the only human being on the earth: above, below, beneath, and all around.
Friendly people full of joy and ever ready with a welcoming smile.
Accommodations that are not only affordable right now, but which can outdo any other global travel plan in terms of desired luxury or adventure. Glorious FOOD, visions, amenities!
Oh, beloved Egypt!
But you have to go the proper way, and that means planning your trip with an outstanding, experienced and well-connected guide.
Guess what? Look no further! Essam is the gentleman and the guide with extra knowledge and experience to ensure you will never forget your adventure into Egypt for as long as you live, and provide you with an experience you will be able to hand down to your family members and children as a treasure trove of bejeweled memories, stories, and marvels that few see on Earth.
From the beginning of your trip to the end, it is an experience of welcome, security, luxury, and that “extra insight” that makes a vacation into a lifetime achievement. Packages galore that will not only suit any couples, single travelers, or groups, but which will can be customized with superb, instinctive guidance.
I can tell you that Essam is a man with that added spark of fascinating knowledge that others simply do not possess, and his references are beyond impeccable. He has that “something special” in terms of his Egyptological knowledge, insights that will impress and thrill you.
Stop THINKING about it … DO IT! A customized trip into the mystery and majesty of Egypt, ancient and modern, will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Check out Essam’s superb site–so many amazing options and possibilities! A professional of outstanding caliber and one of the nicest gentlemen you could hope to encounter in a land of legends and endless magnificence.
Hopefully we’ll get to interview Essam with a kind of “20 Questions” approach very soon, but in the meantime look at his site and start planning. If you have any spirit of adventure, Egypt is not to be missed in this human lifetime!
Take it away, Essam …
#Egypt #travel #vacations #deals #deluxe #bargains #luxury #tours #temples #pyramids #mysteries #luxury #exoticvacation #Nile #Pharaohs #tombs #FiveStar #CustomVacations #ExploreEgyptWithEssam
(photo courtesy of ExploreEgyptWithEssam.Com)
Well, it was one hell of a dream to ring-in the New Year. And I may mean that literally. Shadows threaten from the sky and tectonic plates shift beneath unsteady feet. Matters are going to get a tad metaphysical from now on. Maybe even thaumaturgical. Count upon heaps of the cryptic, as well.
There, there. Providence will reveal Its designs and Its infinite array of design-alternatives.
Providence tends to do that with every waking or unconscious millisecond. Be not amazed.
Meanwhile, when all seems lost—and when the Lost seem All—embark upon an expedition. The best treasure one could possibly discover and claim?
An island of one’s own, of course.
Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of fantasy books, the bestselling Amazon Pop Culture No. 1, Confessions from the Comments Section, and his latest, Kirkus-acclaimed & featured horror novel, Wistwood. Jonathan lives in the Ventana Highlands near Big Sur, CA, and has two upcoming books in the works along with a number of exciting cyber-developments in 2021. Stay tuned and learn more about Jonathan’s releases by clicking the book covers on the upper right of your screen.
#JonathanKieran #JonathanKieranWriter #ExistentialForeboding #Wistwood #Potpourri #Islands #Adventures