Inspiration for You

Inspiration for You
by Alex Mead


Can you feel the change? There are a lot of folks tossing around that word, change, lately. So much so that people are starting to believe in it. When lots of people actually believe they have to power to change things...they actually do.

Can you feel it? Feel the change comin? I wanted to put together a list of songs I've been listening to lately that deepen and intensify my belief.I recommend adding these folks as friends, visiting their pages often and listening to the songs that appeal to you as you need them.

Baba Israel and Yako 440
"feel the change"
Beatbox superstars Baba Israel & Yako 440 from New York build positivity with this track. This is the perfect song to set it off with. Lays the choice that's before us out there quite concisely.

My Rap Name is Alex
"Peace & Love"
Before I get to far in I wanted to do a bit of what they call shameless self promotion. My song Peace & Love isn't even a real song. I got asked to play a benefit show to raise funds to help send people to the RNC protests in September and my friends in the band Ibis and I were just improvising around. I just quickly threw the lyrics from two different songs together and this is what came out. Peace & Love.

the BloodThirsty Vegans
"Be Peace"
And my musical Family the BloodThirsty Vegans and I still have this song up from the first show I ever did with them. Oldie but goodie.

Michael Franti & Spearhead
"Hey World (Don't Give Up)"
It always surprises me when people haven't heard of Michael Franti and Spearhead. They are so popular among my friends that I sometimes forget that they are still slightly obscure out in the general population. The majority of their music is very inspiring, you can pick most any song, but Hey World (Don't Give Up) is a good place to start if you've never heard of them.

Kevin Wykoff (Slug's Revenge)
"Rubber Tramp Family"
Slug's Revenge is a bit different from most of the music on this list, but different people draw inspiration from different places. I, personally, find Kevin Wykoff's music to be very inspiring. I met him a couple times here in Buffalo and he really does play the guitar that fast. I traded him one of my books for his CD and Rubber Tramp Family is one of my favorite songs on the CD. Two minutes of earthy bliss.

The Human Revolution
"Public Servant"
I met human and his friends when they were traveling through the area in their biodiesel car. I got to play the Countries Game with him and I have to say the guy truly knows a lot about world geography. Knows a lot about a lot of things. It's quite evident in his lyrics. Public Servant seems like the kind of song that could really shift people's perspective since a lot of people aren't used to thinking in these terms.

"Beautiful Resistance"
Usually any song with the words "you belong to me" in it over and over again would go in one of my ears and out the other. But when it is talk of how we all belong to each other it's somehow beautiful and perfect. Every once in a while you run across a song where every word seems to be in just the right spot and like the lyrics are a sculpted work of art. This is just such a song. Almost every line in this track could stand alone as a beautiful and thought provoking quotation.

"Can't Stop"
Ozomatli is another really popular band in certain circles and they keep right on keepin on and doing their thing. They are well worth checking out. 'We've got faith in what love can do. Don't look back we gonna make it through, got to keep movin.' Can't argue with that. They have a LOT of their music posted up on their page, so after you listen to Can't Stop you might wanna do some digging. I recommend flipping down to their Street Signs CD and listening to the 1st track "Believe". It's definitely inspiring.

The luminaries seem poised on the edge ready to break through and spread light into the dark corners of the Earth. They have a big band that makes a big sound and lots of great voices bringing a unified message of peace.

Slo Mo
"Shine As You Are"
And last but far from least is Slo Mo featuring Mic Wrecka. "Shine as You Are" is one of my favorite songs of all time. They have a transcendant sound. And I find myself flipping over to this page and clicking on this song to draw inspiration all the time.


Peace & Love,
-Alex (My Rap Name is Alex)

Public Domain, feel free to circulate this list and lists like it. Add, edit and modify it as desired.


Water + Rates + Cameras

Water + Rates + Cameras

(this news item posted on April.25.2008)

Dirty Water

If you would have told me in 1978 that in 30 years the tap water was going to become "too dirty to drink" and that everyone would eagerly fork over a dollar for a bottle of water, I would never have believed you.

Annual Percentage Rates

If you would have told me in 1998 that some day I would be paying more than 29% APR on credit cards, I would never have believed you. Back then my mother was helping me establish good credit and explaining to me about credit cards, and how you NEVER EVER want to get in trouble on your credit cards because the credit card companies will gouge you for 15% interest per year. She made that sound like a very awful thing, so I wanted to never have that happen, but at least that was as bad as it could possibly get. She explained that that was the most they were allowed to charge by law, and besides they wouldn't be able to get anyone to pay any higher APRs than that anyway. My mother was very, very smart. Genius. But I guess she underestimated what they'd be able to accomplish in 20 years.

Police Cameras

If you'd have told me in 1998 that in 10 years we would all start to have police spy cameras going up in our cities I would have looked at you skeptically, but if you'd have told me that our general attitude toward this reduction of privacy would be "Well, hey man, we need those cameras to make sure we behave." I would have thought you were on crack. Did I get to vote on this? I'm pretty sure I would have voted that I don't need a police spy camera to make sure that I behave.


and PS: if anyone would have told me in 2004 that Brian Higgins was going to help them charge me crazy APRs and help constrict bankruptcy and help make my credit records available to all these creditors I would have never voted for him. Not even on the Working Families Party line.


movement + functionality + comparison

movement + functionality + comparison

(this news item posted on March.29.2008)

3 things that I often say, the meanings of which might not be readily obvious:

"Movement is a gift. Don't give it all away."

"It ain't broke, but it's vitally important that we fix it"

"Compare yourself... to yourself"


Movement is a gift. It's one of my favorite gifts. I am so grateful for all of my movable body parts and all of the useful and interesting ways they can move. To show my gratitude, I actually move them.

They LOVE that!

My mother was an enemy of movement --of sorts. For all of her other wonderful attributes, she did not like to sweat, move, exert... She was always giving her gift of movement away to others: to me. I don't know that she even recognized it as a gift. A lot of people don't. People are so shocked that I accept the gift of being able to ride my bike 5 miles to work every day, of eagerly receive the gift of helping them move heavy things around their house. What can I say? It's what's been working for me.


From time to time I hear people expressing consternation: "why isn't it 'working'". The it, of course, being the great American experiment. The question takes many forms; "How come America is the only country that can't figure out how to provide health care for people?"; "How come so many kids are graduating from college with so much debt and can't find any good paying jobs?" I even heard someone ask recently "How come the war didn't stimulate the economy like war usually does?" So many people are out there scratching their heads trying to figure out how it all became so dysfunctional? "Why isn't it all 'working'" I got news for you, folks. It ain't broke, but it is vitally important that we fix it.

Yeah, you heard right, it ain't broke. The system is not broken. At all. The system is doing exactly what it was designed to do, and it's doing it better than it ever has before in all of recorded human history. The system is designed, engineered and driven by elites (rich people), and the functionality that those elites want out of the system is "make the rich even richer". And man are they ever having a lot of luck with that.

At no time in human history have the masses of humanity been so willing to allow for such wealth concentration as we have now without having a revolution. How is it working so well for them now?

First, there's a lot of geographic separation. A lot of the desperately poor people are in the southern hemisphere way to far away from the wealthy elites to carry out an effective revolution against wealthy elites, and where possible, they are educated with money from those same wealthy elites about how those wealthy elites really are pretty nice people if you get to know them.

Second, the poorest among the people who do live close to the wealthy elites and the people who would have been inclined to revolt in the past, are now stupefied and nullified by debt (which is worse than poverty). The revolutionary who was revolting against the French Aristocracy in the 1700s has contemporaries that today are fully engaged with how to pay off the hospital bill from the emergency surgery last year. The college student that was out in the streets railing against war in the 1970s is now fully engaged in trying to work their 3 part time jobs to even make a dent in their college loans.

So, yes, the system is working perfectly. The rich are richer than they've ever been. The people who own and control and create our system could not be more pleased with the results they're getting. Their war against Iraq did stimulate the economy a lot by the way. Only now they've figured out how to not share it with the working poor and John Q. Public or even the soldiers fighting the war. The money from the war went directly to the pockets of executives and defense contractors and politicians, consultants and engineering firms that are down with the program. The program, again, is making the rich even richer. It working. It's not broken, it's completely functional.

But it is vitally impoartant that we fix it. Replace it. Push it off the table and let it smash against the floor. And build in its place a system that will educate without enslaving, heal the sick without incapacitating them, and study war no more. I'm just so ready to stop wasting humanity's potential.


Compare yourself... to yourself. Or don't. I mean, if there's a talent, skill or ability that you want to make sure you NEVER develop, the best way to go about it is to make some first attempt (try it a little bit) and then compare your results to somebody that is already really super good at it. Next, tell yourself "I'll never be as good as them." Now you can simply give up, and never try again and you won't ever have to worry about developing that talent, skill or ability that you don't ever want to have. You'll be safe from those pesky abilities forever. Nobody can ask you to use a skill you don't have eh?

If, on the other hand, you're like me and you enjoy having skills and abilities, you might want to try comparing yourself to yourself. Start out small, set yourself some goals that you can easily accomplish so that you can have some easy early victories. Be quick to forgive yourself for your attempts that don't turn out quite right. That's just a part of life. Record your results if possible, and stick with it for a while, and then go back and compare your abilities to your abilities when you were starting off. The more skills and abilities you acquire the easier it will be to develop more abilities that build off of those abilities. I'm not a big believer in "Talent is something you're born with or you're not." All of the talents people accuse me of having were developed over time and with the assistance of other talents that I developed earlier through working to acquire them.


be Peace,


gratitude + envy + concern

gratitude + envy + concern

(this news item posted on February.10.2008)


I am so grateful every time I get an opportunity to participate in making great music. I can not understand why some people are not. Of late I have seen people make some really great music and be MAD after. What's the point in that? Just create some joy, everything else will work itself out.


I sometimes wonder if it's even possible for a person like me to even get into a relationship with complete and total honesty any more. I get all kinds of envious of people in my community who've had the opportunity to be in love with people that I wish I had the opportunity to be in love with. And then I tell myself "Oh sure, if I were willing to be a liar and dust off all of those weapons of manipulation, I could have those opportunities too." I feel better when I tell myself that. But in reality, I'm mostly just envious that many people have the ability to tell the people they're attracted to how they feel about them and I often do not.


For many, many years the house next door was occupied by various neighbors that screamed at their children and terrorized their little ones quite publicly. Now the house always has it's curtains drawn and there are occasional sounds of muted arguing and once in a great while you see timid children out in front of the house. I like to tell myself it's none of my business. That's easiest.


500 + 56 + 30

500 + 56 + 30
(this news item posted on February.03.2008)

So maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't, but I had a numbers theme going through my journal for a while. One of the first posts I intended to make, in fact, one of the ideas that gave me the idea for numbered journal entries was going to be an entry called 500.

500 - 500 was going to be an entry about having 500 friends. On myspace. I had 498 at the time and I was just going to wait a couple days assuming I'd get a couple more friends and then write about who those friends are. Basically: a quarter of them are --or were at one time-- actual local friends that I see from time to time; 13% are people that I know and have met and hung out with in real life but live far away (mostly UU friends), and another 13% are causes that added me or I added because that seemed like the thing to do; A good 11% are bands, mostly ones that I really like, that I like to keep up with their CD releases and touring schedule and stuff; About 8% are books, other authors, book reviewers or bookstores; 5% are local businesses or activist groups that I want to keep in touch with; 4% are people I do not know --people who added me out of the blue that seemed like really awesome people or friends of friends or people I have no clue about but haven't taken the time to delete; and another 4% are local bands and musicians; 3% are pages of famous people that I really like and/or extremely well done fan sites for famous people I really like; and then the remaining handful are pages for movies (mostly documentaries) that I added for some reason or another.

So I still dunno if I'll ever quite reach 500. The 490s seems to be my limit, and looking through the thing just reminds me that I need to remove a few.


56 - I was, one upon a time, going to write an update post about all of the numbers at work. Featuring the pallet jack I once wrote about, 56. For anyone who might care, that pallet jack is doing just fine. I stopped using it for a while because the slightly better pallet jack that my boss always used to use back then became available to me. But now that one's in the shop and I've been reacquainted with my old buddy. For a machine it has many great sounds and sensations that are unique to it: almost gives it a personality.

30 - And in new news, my friend Jon and I are starting up a website for UUs over age 30. Trying to figure out how to unlock the potential in that age group and give back some of what was given to us when we were in the Young Adult category, and how to infuse UUism in general with all of the wonderfully life-afirming things that Young Adults seem to get and some older UUs out in the congregations may not completely grok.

Should be a fun ride. More details to follow on that I'm sure.

So that's that then.



clarifications + jubilation + elections

clarifications + jubilation + elections

(this news item posted on January.20.2008)


So I write, often, about the whole not having a car thing. Probably because it's become just a reality of life to me yet people seem to be constantly astounded by it. I talk about it in the hopes that it might one day seem normal, and better still: possible, to others. But, for the sake of disclosure, I feel obligated to confess that I had a lot of life factors that made it easy for me to go carless.

The biggest thing was that when we traded in our van to help a friend buy a car, I had no particular place to go. I became "self-employed" and for six months or so the only place I needed to go was to buy groceries and that was easy enough to walk to. Moreover, I had lots of money socked away so I could afford to pay $90 to rent a car any time I needed. I probably ended up doing that every other month or so and thought little of it. Anyway, I'm just saying that even though I get on a rant now and then about never owning a car, I am aware that I had advantages that helped me get there. Not the least of which was a free bike or two from my uncle Walter after I'd been walking a while.


So in my book writing I tend to write a lot about something being missing from the world. Some kind of human connection that's hard to define because it's rarely seen but is nevertheless missing.

During the month of January I've encountered people close to me being suddenly and unexpectedly joyful. Laughing and smiling and I noticed myself just falling right in and responding in kind. I know the world is possible where we can experience wonderment and mirth easily and often, and it's nice to see glimmers of it along the way to help keep the eyes on the prize.


So, now it's 2008. I'm still a registered Green. The Green Party still has Ten key values that I think are a solid foundation to build a movement on. Today I watched portions of the GP candidate debate and I very much enjoyed it. If you'd like to do so, here's a link:


Be Peace,