♫ Man In The Mirror ♫ (Redux)

I don’t know if it is a product of my dark mood of late, or of everything happening in the world at the moment, but it seems that recently my songs have been ones that carry a message rather than upbeat, fun songs.  Tonight’s song is no exception.  I first played this one nearly two years ago, June 2019, and today it speaks to me just as much as it did then.  At that time, we were seeing human rights crimes against humanity on our southern border ordered and directed by the then-president.  Today, we are seeing mass shootings, hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Blacks, and massive attempts to undermine our democratic foundation by taking away our right to voteDOES IT NEVER END????  Can we humans never just learn to live in peace and accept each other as we are???  Imagine what we could accomplish if we all pulled together instead of engaging in hatred and bigotry …


Say what you will about Michael Jackson … love him or hate him … he had a voice and he often used it to try to open our eyes to the social injustices he saw around him.

Released in January 1988, this song is about making a change and realizing that it has to start with you.  The song was written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard; Garrett also sang backup on the track.  According to Garrett …

“The song was deeper than just the visual of a man looking at himself in the mirror. It was that, juxtaposed with the idea of a man going deeper inside himself to change from within. To make a difference on the outside, you have to first start from within. So I think that Michael just got it… he got the meaning of the song right away.”

The single sleeve for Man in the Mirror contains a dedication to Yoshiaki Ogiwara, a five-year-old boy from Takasaki, Gunma, Japan who was kidnapped and murdered in September 1987. Jackson was touring Japan at the time and dedicated concerts in Osaka and Yokohama to Yoshiaki’s memory.

Pay attention to the lyrics … think about what they say.  WE are the winds of change, but only if we choose to be.  I want to be that ‘man in the mirror’ … well, okay, perhaps that ‘woman in the mirror’.  Music should entertain … most often I think it should take us away from our troubles.  But sometimes, maybe music should prick our consciences, remind us of our duty to humanity, to ourselves.  Sometimes maybe it should open our eyes … our ears … our hearts.

Man in the Mirror
Michael Jackson

I’m gonna make a change,
For once I’m my life
It’s gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I, turn up the collar on
My favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
‘Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya’ see
‘Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways, ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that
(Take a look at yourself and then make that)
Change!

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you want to make the world a better place)

You can’t close your, your mind!
(Then you close your, mind!)
That man, that man, that man, that man
With the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
That man, that man, that man,
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
You know, that man
No message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
(Take a look at yourself and then make the change)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Ooh)
Oh no, no no

I’m gonna make a change
It’s gonna feel real good!
Come on!
(Change)
Just lift yourself
You know
You’ve got to stop it,
Yourself!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
I’ve got to make that change, today!
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)
You got to
You got to not let yourself
Brother
Hoo!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
You know I’ve got to get
That man, that man

You’ve got to
You’ve got to move! Come on!
Come on!
You got to

Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
(Yeah! Make that change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now!
(Man in the mirror)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Aw!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
Gonna make that change

Come on!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it
(Change)
Make that change.

Songwriters: Glen Ballard / Siedah Garrett
Man in the Mirror lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave

♫ (Something Inside) So Strong ♫

Almost every song I play here is one I am familiar with … an old favourite.  But every now and then I am introduced to a new song, one that I never heard, but upon listening for the first time, it strikes at something inside, so to speak.  In a conversation last night, David mentioned this song and the title did not ring a bell, so I went in search of.  And found.  And liked.

This song was a hit in the United Kingdom, coming in at #4 upon its release in 1987, and hit #3 in the Netherlands.  However, it did not chart in the U.S., and in fact I don’t know that it was ever played in the U.S.  Too bad, for it is a most deserving piece of music.

The songwriter and singer is Labi Siffre, a a British singer, songwriter, musician and poet.  According to SongFacts …

Siffre was profoundly affected by a television documentary from South Africa showing a white soldier shooting at black children. He came out of self-imposed retirement from music in 1985 to write this protest song against apartheid as a response. Siffre originally intended to give the song to another artist to sing, but was convinced to release it himself. It became one the biggest successes of Siffre’s career, peaking at #4 in the United Kingdom.

Siffre told the BBC’s Soul Music programme in 2014 that the song was also influenced by his experience as a homosexual child, adolescent, and adult.  The song has remained enduringly popular and is an example of the political and sociological thread running through much of Siffre’s lyrics and poetry. It won the Ivor Novello Award for “Best Song Musically and Lyrically”, and has been used in Amnesty International campaigns.  I was surprised to learn that Kenny Rogers covered this song in 1989 … I had not heard his version either, and while I am a fan of Rogers’ voice, his songs, this song, in my opinion, belongs to Labi Siffre.

(Something Inside) So Strong
Labi Siffre

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me, you can decide
To turn your face away
No matter ’cause there’s

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Oh, something inside so strong

The more you refuse to hear my voice (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that’s mine
My light will shine so brightly it will blind you
Because there’s

Something inside so strong, strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Oh, something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
Well we know better
Just look him in his eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway

There’s something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong, oh
Something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
Well we know better
Just look him in his eyes and say
We’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway
We’re gonna do it anyway
Because there’s

Something inside so strong, (something inside so strong)
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Something inside so strong (oh oh yeah)
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no
There’s something inside so strong

Oh oh, something inside so strong
Oh oh, something inside so strong
Oh oh, something inside so strong

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Labi Siffre
(Something Inside) So Strong lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Filosofa’s Mind Meanderings

I am in a pensive mood tonight, rather saddened and disgusted by what I see people doing.  Y’know … Donald Trump is to blame for a lot … I could spend this entire post pointing out the things for which he should be held to account, but he isn’t responsible for our own behaviour … only we can be held to account for what we say and do, for how we treat others.  It is true that Trump has encouraged much of what is happening, has praised white supremacists, denigrated democrats, Muslims, Jews, women and a whole laundry list of others.  But, at the end of the day, I am responsible for the things I have done … nobody else.

I read an article this evening in The Week

A municipal worker in Michigan required 13 stitches after moving a Trump lawn sign rigged with razor blades.  The sign was closer to the roadway than permitted by local ordinance, town Supervisor Dave Scott said, and when the worker put his hands on it, he initially “thought it was electrified,” and then “realized he was bleeding aggressively.”  The homeowner has denied doing the boobytrapping.

And this isn’t the first time.  The same thing happened in Texas in November 2016, just a few days before the election.  Who does such a thing?  What if a small child or animal had been the one to discover the treachery?  Does the person who did this even have a conscience?

I read John Pavolitz’ post from a few days ago titled Good People Aren’t Voting For Him A Second Time, and I found the following particularly relevant …

I often hear people say, “I’m a good person and I’m proudly voting for Donald Trump again.”

I now consider that an oxymoron.

I don’t believe any good people are voting for this president a second time—or they are in complete rebellion against goodness as they do.

I believe that act is fundamentally antithetical to anything good.

There are things good people simply don’t do:

Good people don’t ignore the assassinations of unarmed black men.

Good people don’t vilify and attack the peaceful protestors of those murders.

Good people don’t create phony ANTIFA conspiracies, just to avoid saying that Black Lives Matter.

Good people don’t incite armed crowds to “liberate” state capitols over protections designed to save lives.

Good people don’t make fun of mask wearers, when life is in the balance.

Good people don’t tear gas citizens for a transparent church door Bible photo op.

Good people don’t defend murderous white vigilantes.

Good people don’t discard people while protecting property.

Good people don’t justify kneeling on a black man’s neck for eight minutes until he expires.

Good people don’t demonize a black woman for being executed in her bedroom in the middle of the night.

Good people don’t repeatedly deny the severity of a murderous virus, knowing people will die while he does.

Good people don’t call veterans losers and suckers.

Good people don’t stammer and deflect when asked to denounce white supremacist organizations live in front of the nation.

Good people don’t take away healthcare from hundreds of millions in the throes of a pandemic.

Good people don’t pounce on the corpse of a Supreme Court Justice after an election has already begun, just to take away a woman’s right to autonomy over her own body and appease religious zealots.

Good people don’t hold unmasked rallies while cases flare wildly, after themselves having a virus they were saved from.

Good people don’t lie as easily as breathing, or make a mockery of a religion they have no interest in, or treat people of color and women as property, or disregard the systems and laws of this land because power and complicit enablers allow it.

And good people, regardless of how good they claim to be—don’t encourage or embrace or support or elevate such people.

They simply don’t.

And yet, pick up a newspaper or look at an online news source and you will find example after example of people who seem intent on putting down or harming others.  WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???

I have long said that Donald Trump is merely a symptom of a larger, underlying problem, and this is being proven on a daily basis.  When a town’s sheriff says it was okay for a group of people to plot the kidnapping of the state’s governor simply because she implemented safeguards to protect those very people, we’ve got a far bigger problem than we first thought.  And we all know, I think, that the problem will not simply disappear on January 20th when Joe Biden is inaugurated into office.

Every Wednesday, I write about good people who are doing things large and small to help others in some way.  I haven’t run out of those ‘good people’ yet, so we know they’re here, but they are overshadowed by those who commit heinous acts like putting razor blades on yard signs or applaud the killing of Black people or condone putting children in cages simply because they were not born in this country.

Today, I am not proud to be a citizen of this country, I am not proud of the people who, rather than make their voices heard in a peaceful manner, use violence to get their point across.  I am not proud that we have a government that condones what is happening in our society today.  I, like many of you, have tried to use my blog to make changes, to be the voice of reason (most of the time, anyway), to show people why certain things are wrong, even unacceptable in a civil society.  But it seems that the people who most need our message simply aren’t getting it.

We are becoming … or perhaps have become … a nation of selfish, greedy people who put their own interests ahead of the greater good without a thought, without a pang of conscience.  Those who engage in violence or acts of cruelty and  claim they are acting as their religion tells them to are the worst of the lot, for their religion is Hypocrisy.

I think we will have a new president in just over three months, and new leadership in the Senate, and all of that is good.  Joe Biden will do his level best to unite the people of this country.  But, if people continue to hate for little or no reason, he will not be successful.  We the People must look inside ourselves and ask some tough questions.  We the People are the only ones who can change what we have become, and if we don’t do it, then we cannot work together to make this a good place for our children and grandchildren.

I end with more words from John Pavlovitz’ post that reflect my own thoughts …

Goodness is not a matter how good you imagine you are.
It is not a matter of what you claim to believe.
It is not something you possess simply because you desire to possess it.

Goodness is determined by the way you move through this world: a world that is either more or less loving and compassionate and equitable and kind because of your presence and your decisions.

♫ Man In The Mirror ♫

Yesterday afternoon, I wrote a post about the atrocities the United States government is committing against innocent migrants on the southern border, particularly children.  This morning’s post was about one of the ways in which the United States government is accelerating the ravages of carbon emissions on our environment.  These are only two of the many ways in which our government has sidestepped responsibility and accountability for the survival of the human species, or human race, if you will.  With all this fresh in my mind, is it any wonder that tonight’s song is one of social conscience?

Say what you will about Michael Jackson … love him or hate him … he had a voice and he often used it to try to open our eyes to the social injustices he saw around him.

Released in January 1988, this song is about making a change and realizing that it has to start with you.  The song was written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard; Garrett also sang backup on the track.  According to Garrett …

“The song was deeper than just the visual of a man looking at himself in the mirror. It was that, juxtaposed with the idea of a man going deeper inside himself to change from within. To make a difference on the outside, you have to first start from within. So I think that Michael just got it… he got the meaning of the song right away.”

The single sleeve for Man in the Mirror contains a dedication to Yoshiaki Ogiwara, a five-year-old boy from Takasaki, Gunma, Japan who was kidnapped and murdered in September 1987. Jackson was touring Japan at the time and dedicated concerts in Osaka and Yokohama to Yoshiaki’s memory.

Pay attention to the lyrics … think about what they say.  WE are the winds of change, but only if we choose to be.  I want to be that ‘man in the mirror’ … well, okay, perhaps that ‘woman in the mirror’.  Music should entertain … most often I think it should take us away from our troubles.  But sometimes, maybe music should prick our consciences, remind us of our duty to humanity, to ourselves.  Sometimes maybe it should open our eyes … our ears … our hearts.

Man in the Mirror
Michael Jackson

I’m gonna make a change,
For once I’m my life
It’s gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I, turn up the collar on
My favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
‘Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya’ see
‘Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways, ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that
(Take a look at yourself and then make that)
Change!

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you want to make the world a better place)

You can’t close your, your mind!
(Then you close your, mind!)
That man, that man, that man, that man
With the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
That man, that man, that man,
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
You know, that man
No message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
(Take a look at yourself and then make the change)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Ooh)
Oh no, no no

I’m gonna make a change
It’s gonna feel real good!
Come on!
(Change)
Just lift yourself
You know
You’ve got to stop it,
Yourself!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
I’ve got to make that change, today!
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)
You got to
You got to not let yourself
Brother
Hoo!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
You know I’ve got to get
That man, that man

You’ve got to
You’ve got to move! Come on!
Come on!
You got to

Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
(Yeah! Make that change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now!
(Man in the mirror)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Aw!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
Gonna make that change

Come on!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it
(Change)
Make that change.

Songwriters: Glen Ballard / Siedah Garrett
Man in the Mirror lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave

Racism of the Everyday Variety

hijabYesterday, a friend of my neighbor was shopping in a local Kroger, shopping for food to feed her family, when she accidentally bumped her cart into that of another shopper.  She apologized, the other shopper said “no problem”, and the matter should have ended there.  However, as she moved on, she heard the other shopper say to her friend “ISIS”.  The friend of my neighbor, you see, was wearing her traditional hijab.


The picture below was taken in Florence, Kentucky on 09 July 2016.  blacks sign


A Hispanic friend walked into a fast food restaurant and waited to be served, but the employee continued doing busy-work around the store, cleaning up and pretending not to even see my friend. Then a white woman entered the store and the employee served that woman first, while my friend continued to wait.


When we think or speak of racism, we think of the big, glaring examples, like KKK rallies, Trump speeches, police shootings of unarmed blacks, anti-anything-but-Caucasian rallies and protests, but racism exists in everyday life.  You can find it, obviously, in the supermarket, on street corners, in schools and in nearly every church across the nation.  U.S. WASPs have darned near perfected the practice of everyday racism.

racism-8We, those of us who are socially and morally conscious of such things, try to combat racism in the U.S. through legal channels and by attacking the institutions that promote or tolerate such behaviour.  That, too, is necessary, but I wonder if perhaps we would be more effective by using what little voice we have to combat the smaller events like those listed above.  For example, had I been shopping and seen the incident between my neighbor’s friend and the other woman, I might have stepped in and explained to the woman that: a) the proper term is Daesh, not ISIS; b) the vast majority of Muslims are not affiliated with terrorist organizations like Daesh; and c) Islam is a religion of peace and love, not hate.  Frankly, by the time I finished with that lady, she probably would have parked her cart and went running out of the store, as you all know how I am once I step up onto my soapbox!  Or, had I been the woman who walked into the fast food place and was immediately waited on, I might have said, “No, she (the Hispanic woman) was here first … please take her order first.”  And I will not even speculate on what I might have done had I come upon the man holding the sign, other than to say I would be calling upon my friends to take up a collection for bail money instead of writing this blog post.

racism-6It is called ‘everyday racism’, and it is relatively small things like this that grow into full-blown racism of the type we see propagated by various organizations, particularly this year in the culture of fear, bigotry and multiple phobias that have been pushed forth by politicians, religious leaders and the media.  People are now afraid to use public restrooms, they are afraid of women wearing a hijab, they are afraid of people who look, speak and act differently than themselves.  We must bring common sense back to the streets.  We must be willing to stand up for our beliefs, the belief upon which this nation is based, that “All Men (and women) Are Created Equal”.  We must be willing to stand up to the bigot and the xenophobe.

For the most part, none of us will ever have the opportunity to destroy the KKK, to be instrumental in passing laws that provide safe haven for Muslims, or to bring dirty cops to justice.  But that does not mean we are powerless.  We have the power to apply our values, our convictions, if only we dig down within ourselves to find the courage to do so.  Certainly it is far easier to walk away, to turn our heads and pretend that we just do not see.  But I can tell you that when you put your head on your pillow tonight, whether you wish it or not, your conscience will either reward you for standing up for your beliefs, for your fellow human being, or will cause you to question why you did not.  Think about it.