They’ll Never Keep Us Down

Hazel Dickens cuts right to the chase in this folksy, bluegrass labor song. Born in 1925 and passing in April of 2011, it’s not hard to see Dickins as pro-union and feminist in the music composed, played and sung.

United we stand, divided we fall.
For every dime they give us a battle must be fought.
So working people use your power, the key to liberty.
Don’t support the rich man’s style of luxury.

Down By the Riverside

This chestnut has been a favorite among folks who gather to resist. Here, in 2011, shouter Craig Adams and company present a jazzy, swinging rendition. If music hath not the power to halt militarism, it certainly moves the hands and feet with the promise of more healthy coexistence.

I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside
Gonna study war no more.

You Got To Run (Spirit of the Wind)

This rouser has lots of echoes of the circumstances of Native Americans, as well as nods to (and shouts of) the music of the First Peoples. I’ve posted this tune before, but it’s such a favorite, I can’t resist calling attention to it a second time. Good stuff by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tanya Tagaq and band.

Babe, ain’t we been down.
We been so broke, and we been so low I kissed the ground.
But you can see yourself a winner beyond the money and the greed.
Beyond the pride is a pure untested need,
To be a champion is more than luck and speed,
It’s power and freedom in the spirit of the wind.

Trip the light

One of the joys of following a number of bloggers is running across videos that I know I wouldn’t have seen without a prompt. This is one such.

One of the joys of following a number of bloggers is running across videos that I know I wouldn’t have. This is one such.
Garry Schyman composed this lively number, which Matt Harding used as a soundtrack to a wonderful 2012 video for “Where the hell is Matt.” Alicia Lemke and Harding came up with the lyrics, and Lemke provided the vocals.
The dance scenes are a perfect complement to the song (and vice versa, which I’m sure was planned). What a wonderful way to spread the word that in our diversity we are the same species.

Remember we’re lost together,
Remember we’re the same.
We hold the burning rhythm in our hearts,
We hold the flame.

What’s the rush?

If you’re taking the Denali Highway, you’re (pretty much) retracing the century-old steps of the gold miners, who trekked from the Valdez Creek region east to Paxson, later to the town of Cantwell today.

Most of the way, it’s gravel, so there’s that. Suggested speed limit is 35 miles per hour. Couple of reasons for that. Gravel is hard on vehicles. Also, the route (approximately north and west, or south and east, depending on where you start) is a scenic treat. So what’s the rush?

Look it up. Magazines, including National Geographic, rank the drive very high in their lists of recommended trips.

In our five weeks in Alaska this summer, we split the trip into two parts, taking the first part part way to Clearwater Lodge, stopping in at The Sluice Box Bar (in the photos). We turned around, retraced our steps and saved the rest of the road for a later time, starting from the other direction.

The bar is a remodeled trailer and has been in operation since 1982. It’s safe to say, the place is pretty well assured of its existence. There aren’t many along the road.

And, hunters need a place from which to set out. There is an airstrip, which helps antsy sportspeople get there more quickly to take advantage of the rooms, suites and camping at the lodge.

We were content to take a rest stop and check out the bar, before heading back to our camping area.

It was a funky place, the interior nearly entirely plastered with bank notes that visitors signed and the bar keep stapled to open spots. While we were there, a couple of Midwesterners stopped by, and the bartender stapled one of their two-dollar bills in the retreating interior landscape.

The bartender was chatty, and willingly put together a meal of burgers and fixings (for me). The pickings were admittedly slim (the road isn’t traveled much) but the establishment was worth a stop.

While we were there, driver Terry was able to score a quart of synthetic oil, so there’s that. Services are separated by miles and miles, but they are there.

While driving on glacier eskers (deposits by retreating and passing glaciers) upon much of the route, you’ll see boreal forest, taiga and tundra, the Wrangell-St.Elias mountains and the Chugach Mountain Range (to name just a couple mountainous areas), seemingly endless wilderness, braided rivers, such as the Tangle River, Tangle Lakes, Tangle Bridge and glaciers. (Alaska’s glaciers are still an eyeful, even though nearly all are retreating.)

In the last three miles (where Cantrell now perches), you’ll intersect with the Parks Highways, which is much more vehicle friendly. That will take you to Denali National Park.

If you’re in a hurry to get to Denali, take the Richardson Highway to the Parks Highway. Leave the scenic drive to those with sharp eyes or binoculars. Wildlife aren’t accustomed to vehicles, so you’ll have to have a lookout. We were lucky. We saw one or two moose reasonably close. “It is not a zoo,” cautions one of the guiding web sites.

Looking at the digital map representation of the area (take your pick of the maps available on the web), I am reminded of the vastness of the Alaska wilds and what a treat it was to travel a route that was the only way to approach Denali until the 1970s.


It’s fitting that A.R. Rahman’s song was performed during one of U2’s magical tours, The Joshua Tree Tour in 2019. Rahman and daughters took the stage to present a dreamy rendition of a meditation on respect for all living things and avoidance of violence towards others.

Here’s link to the official video.

In India, Rahman’s a star already, a film maker, producer and songwriter. True to celebrity form, Rahman’s song celebrates a key, thousands-of-years-old tenant of a number of religions.

Mahandas K. Gandhi extended the doctrine of ahimsa into the political realm of homo sapiens, calling for nonviolence against specific evils. (,, accessed August 21, 2022)

An isolated peak

There it was… Denali. In our five weeks in Alaska, traveling in its vicinity, we were able to see the peak multiple times. Normally shrouded by clouds and mist, Denali was clearly visible, thanks to dryer and warmer climate conditions.

That’s not a cloud in the photo above. That’s a view of Denali from the Alpine Trail in Denali National Park. Note the fuzzy humans for scale at the base of the photo.

That mountain’s name, which means “tall” or “high” in Athabaskan, was formed by the collision of the Pacific and and North American plates. The pressure still raises the mountains height by approximately a millimeter a year. The summits of the peak are permanently snow and ice covered.
Denali is the highest peak in continental North America, apparently third highest on the globe.
The mountain is an isolated place, hard to approach by land, but planes regularly take sightseers and explorers to its vicinity.

In the photo immediately above, there’s a view of the impressive peak from a jet-boat tour of a portion of the Susitna River near Palmer.
We were very lucky to get glimpses of that majestic Alaskan feature.

The moose weren’t shy

We were a little concerned about bear while tenting for five weeks in Alaska. There wasn’t a single close encounter with the bruins, though our friends, who started out in May, driving through Canada on the way to meeting us in Anchorage, caught sight of many coming out of hibernation.
We did make up for lack of black and grizzly sightings with numerous sightings of moose, arguably as dangerous as bears if a person is in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
We ran across a dozen or so of those ungainly looking, surprising graceful creatures, the first shortly after our Anchorage host Paul took us on a favorite hikes. Crossing a ridge, below us appeared a youngish moose, contentedly browsing on branches, absolutely unconcerned about a group of bipeds looking down with phone cameras trained on the activity.

At the conclusion of one our bus rides in the Denali National Park, our driver and passengers in front caught sight of a female with twins munching in the ditch. General excitement ensued.

But the encounter I treasure most was most accidental.
During our travels and momentarily without a vehicle, we hiked two-and-a-half miles from our campground to a hexagonal log structure that housed a curio shop and diner. (If nothing else, rural Alaska excels in distances between establishments.) On the way back, walking along the highway, (The mosquitos had made a meal of us when we walked to the little cafe on the official trail.) happy with the meal, I managed to waltz right past a moose that had approached the road from a game trail, well within the “safe distance” that all the warnings trumpeted.
My companion whispered distinctly, “There’s a moose!” (Typical male, I had walked right past without noticing something that could have reached out and bitten me.)

We managed to keep walking into a safer area (Apparently, you can run away from a moose and not be chased, behavior that just excites a bear. I did not have a chance to test either hypothesis. *) A passing car of tourists also got a thrill seeing a moose sauntering past just in front of the grill.

Those gangly animals are a sight, big and powerful, even with patches of winter coats still hanging onto the sleek spring/summer hair.
We were able to get photos of moose in the wild and moose in places not so wild. They’re everywhere in Alaska.

*There’s an old conversation about running away from a bear:
“Just a second. I have to lace up my tennis shoes.”
“It sounds like there’s a bear in the area, and it may come into our camping site.”
“You can’t outrun a bear. They’re faster!”
“I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you…”

Los Dinosaurios

Charly Garcia’s song is a classic of resistance and defiance, not just in his home country of Argentina but across all of Latin America. Here’s a 2018 cut.
In 2021 Garcia turned 70, and the Argentinian government organized an event to celebrate. The Kirchner Cultural Centre, part of the Ministry of Culture), hosted live music, a series of talks/lectures and performances. A series of live concerts were held, where several of Argentina’s storied musicians covered García’s repertoire. Garcia made a surprise appearance and performed for the crowd.

Here’s an English translation of the original lyrics:

The Dinosaurs
The friends from the neighborhood could disappear,
The singers on the radio could disappear,
The ones who are in the diaries could disappear.
The person who you love could disappear.
The ones who are in the air can disappear in the air.
The ones who are in the street can disappear in the street.
The friends from the neighborhood could disappear,
But the dinosaurs are going to disappear.
I’m not calm, my love,
Today is Saturday at night, a friend is in jail
Oh, my love, the world disappears.
If the heavy things, my love,
Take all that mountain
Of baggage in the hand,
Oh, my love, I want to be light.
When the world heads downward
It’s better not to be tied to anything,
Imagine the dinosaurs in bed.

We Are the People

I’m hoping this Martin Garrix song becomes an anthem for the ages, even though it was new in June of 2020. Bono and Edge hep present the Union of European Football Associations Euro 2020 tune. There’s hope, given the number of remixes that have popped up.

Broken bells and a broken church
Heart that hurts is a heart that works
From a broken place
That’s where the victory’s won.