♫ Superman (It’s Not Easy) ♫

Keith mentioned this song a few days ago, and at first it didn’t ring any bells, so I headed over to YouTube to listen and … sure enough … I’ve heard this one many times and always liked it.  Long story short, once I listened, it got rather stuck in my head and I even woke in the middle of the night singing it in my head so loudly that it woke me!  (Thanks, Keith … I guess I deserved that for all the times I’ve planted an earworm in your head!) Now, I’ve mentioned before that I rarely get the lyrics right in a song, because with my poor hearing, I never hear them right.  So, until tonight when I began researching this song, I had a feeling it was about the Muppet character, Kermit The Frog! 🐸 Why, you ask?  Because I thought he was singing “It’s not easy to be green.”  I must admit, as a long-time Kermit fan, I was a bit disappointed to learn the truth, but I did enjoy learning what the song is really about!

This song, released in April 2001, is by Five for Fighting and is the only song of his that I can recall liking.  I would have expected Five for Fighting to be a group of five musicians, but no … it is a single musician, John Ondrasik.  According to SongFacts …

This song about trying to fit in was written from Superman’s point of view. The superhero is portrayed as misunderstood and not as powerful as people see him: “I’m only a man in a funny red sheet.” Superman may be invincible, but he has feelings too, and while he’s off saving the world he sometimes wonders if anyone thinks about what he is going through.

The song reflects what John Ondrasik (who is Five For Fighting) felt at the time – he released his first album, Message for Albert, in 1997 and it went nowhere. Explaining what led him to write the song, which appeared on his next album, Ondrasik told us it was “frustration about the inability to be heard.”

This became very popular after the September 11 attacks. The reflective tone fit very well with the mood of the United States, and many radio stations put it in heavy rotation. Ondrasik heard from emergency workers and others who found it a source of comfort after the attacks.

Ondrasik performed this song on October 20, 2001 at the “Concert For New York,” a tribute to the police, firefighters, and rescue workers involved in the World Trade Center Attacks. It was a very touching moment, and he called this performance “the most important thing I’ll ever do musically.” Ondrasik stood next to James Taylor and Pete Townshend at the end of the show when they all sang “Let It Be.”

The song hit #14 in the U.S. and #48 in the UK, but actually fared better in Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, and Italy than in the U.S.!

Superman (It’s Not Easy)
Five for Fighting

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me

I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane
I’m more than some pretty face beside a train
And it’s not easy to be me

I wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
‘Bout a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd, but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed, but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
And it’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away, away from me
Well it’s all right
You can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy or anything

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me

Inside of me, inside of me, yeah
Inside of me, inside of me
I’m only a man in a funny red sheet
I’m only a man looking for a dream
I’m only a man in a funny red sheet
And it’s not easy
Oh, it’s not easy to be me

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: John Ondrasik
Superman (It’s Not Easy) (iTunes Session) lyrics © Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Five For Fighting Music

America’s Wake-Up Call — Jeff & Jill Are Baaaaack!!!

The date for the re-start of mine and Jeff’s project, September 11th, came about quite by accident … to start with, that is.  We counted back eight weeks from election day, picked the first Friday in those 8 weeks, and … were stunned to see that with this logic, our first post would be on the 19th anniversary of 9/11.  Nineteen years … wow.  In some ways, it seems like only yesterday, doesn’t it?  The building I was working in, a publishing company here in Cincinnati, has since been demolished, but I remember the exact place I was standing when one of my staff called me over to tell me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  The rest of that day is a blur, but that single moment in time remains frozen in my mind.

For a number of reasons, 9/11 is very personal to me, as it is to many of you but that isn’t my focus with this post.  This is the final leg of mine and Jeff’s project, started back in January of this year with the goal of helping our readers understand the importance of this election year, the issues, and why it is so crucial that each and every one of us do our part.  It just happens, though, that this anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, provides us with a good lead-in to jumpstart our project.  The title for this second half of our project is “America’s Wake Up Call”, and by the time you finish reading this post, I think you will understand why.

On September 11th, 2001, terrorists flew planes into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one that we believe was headed for the White House that was brought down by heroes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  In under two hours, our lives were changed.  At that time, President George W. Bush was at the helm.  No matter what happened later, no matter what mistakes or poor decisions he made in the months and years that followed, I will always remember him for what he did in the hours and days that followed:  he united us.  He comforted, he understood, he grieved along with us.  His was the voice of caring, of compassion, of intellect, of … calm and reason.

This is the text of his address to We the People on the evening of 9/11 …

bush-2Good evening.

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature — and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.

The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance. America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism.

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.

Now, fast forward to 2020.  Can you envision the current occupant of the Oval Office, whom I refuse to refer to by the title of “president”, giving such a speech or acting in such a rational manner as G.W. did on that day?  Try to imagine, if we had a similar crisis in this nation today, how Donald Trump would react.  He would screech, he would point fingers, his face would be twisted into a hundred contortions.  He would blame … he would blame Democrats, he would blame Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer.  He would blame any and every one of us in one way or another.  Would we feel comforted as we did nineteen years ago?  Hell no!  We would be terrified! 

Bush-1George W. Bush united the people of this nation … he brought us together in our shared grief, and helped us to understand that we needed to reach out to each other, that we were all in this together and that together we would get through the days ahead, the loss of loved ones, the shattering of our lives.  Donald Trump is not anywhere near the man that George W. Bush is and was on that day.  Donald Trump would use the crisis as a means to drive the wedge that already exists between the people of this nation just a little bit deeper, to cause us to fear one another instead of reaching out and offering comfort, just as he has done with the current pandemic.

I can offer at least one hundred reasons that Donald Trump must be defeated on November 3rd, that Joe Biden must be elected, but this may well be the best reason … we need a leader who leads, who cares about us, who has the intelligence and demeanor to remain calm in the midst of a storm and unite rather than divide.  We do not have that leader today … let’s make sure that next January we do.

Discord & Dissent Table of Contents

Thirteen Years Later

I am taking a 4-day hiatus from my blog, going camping with a special friend, and will be away from computer and from news of the outside world from Saturday, July 2nd through Tuesday, July 5th.  I have scheduled a few of my “oldies but goodies” and will see you all when i return to the real world (maybe?) on Wednesday, July 6th.  Please don’t go away … I shall return, rested and happy and ready to start ranting once again!  This one was originally posted on September 11, 2014.

This is what I posted yesterday on Facebook. I don’t often post on Facebook, as I work hard at not offending friends or family and I realize that my posts may frequently be offensive to some, but once a year, on the anniversary of 9/11, I reserve the right to post my thoughts and feelings about the event itself and how it has impacted us today:

Thirteen years ago, an event changed the lives of every person in the U.S. and many more than we will ever know outside the U.S. It has been compared to Pearl Harbor, and rightfully so, in the sense that it was an event that would, in one way or in many ways, have far-reaching and ever-lasting consequences. We all lost someone or something on that horrific morning of September 11th, 2001. Whether we knew and cared for someone who lost their lives that day or not, we still suffered a loss. Whether we were in New York City, Washington D.C. or Seattle or Dallas, we suffered a loss of some of our innocence and security. A loss in the belief that as Americans, everybody loved us and we were invulnerable to the traumas that beset other nations. A loss of the belief that we were safe in our everyday lives. All gone in just 102 minutes on an otherwise beautiful late summer day.

I wish I could say that the lessons we learned on that day have led us to be better people, more caring, kind and compassionate people. I wish I could say that we began, both as individuals and as a nation, to think in a more global sense about our roles and responsibilities in the world. I wish I could say that it made us just a little bit better, and for a short time, I believe it did. For a short time, we stopped to ask people if they were okay, we opened not only our wallets, but also our hearts to those who had suffered the most. But it didn’t last long and now, thirteen years later, there is more hatred both on an individual level and a global level than there was before that fateful day. There is less tolerance among people in this country and among nations as well. Racial tensions have escalated in the U.S., religious intolerance is at an all-time high in the U.S., and we seem to have closed both our hearts and minds to anyone who is different or believes differently than we do.

Almost 3,000 people lost their lives on September 11, 2001. More than 1,000 first responders have died as a result of injuries or diseases from their efforts at the site, and the numbers continue to mount every month. Although an exact number is difficult to determine, thousands of U.S. servicemen and women have lost their lives in the resultant wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These figures do not even take into account civilians of other nations who lost their lives as a result, either direct or indirect, of 9/11. Yet at this time, global terrorism is at an all-time high, and when we most need to be unified, to stand together and try to resolve our problems together, we are fighting amongst ourselves over the immigration of children from South America, fighting over gun regulation, fighting over gay marriage, birth control, and affordable healthcare. Politics and placing blame seems to be more important than human rights and trying to learn to live in global peace and harmony. Perhaps we lost more than we ever imagined on 9/11 …. perhaps we also lost our humanity.