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Interesting Times

by mike skliar

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The Fishermen & the Priestess
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The Fishermen & the Priestess What's not to like about Mike's songs? To-the-point political commentary in great songs. Favorite track: Interesting Times.
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Is the collapse coming faster? From unexpected directions Mix in a pandemic disaster And some rotten elections It’s a long way from divine It starts to feel like a crime To live in interesting times The care-free childhoods we shared Are now a distant dream Everybody’s running scared Fear in our bloodstreams Look around for the signs Its part of the design We live in interesting times Like Al Pacino said, “The whole thing’s out of order” Weather’s out of whack, viruses attack, don’t ask about the water But we’re all too distracted, with Netflix and wordle While the milk of human kindness, it all starts to curdle This plot no writer would have tried Its just not remotely believable As Wally Shawn said in Princess Bride ‘The whole thing is inconceivable’ don’t have to read between the lines you should have caught us in our prime we live in interesting times Is there an ending to this story? Can we write a better third act? Have to do more then just take inventory Of these inconvenient facts Increase the love that you find And above all, be kind Living in interesting times (c) 2022 M. Skliar
So many things divide us Politics, religion, the things we read and see There is so little agreement Mention any issue, and someone will disagree You might find someone who agrees with what you said But maybe you said it a slightly different way The battle lines are drawn, That wall you built is there to stay The only agreement this seems to be a rule Meaningless statistics are awesome and cool ! 2 How many songs went to number one three times How many feet is the deepest coal mine How often did Babe Ruth strike out How many ‘stifle edith’ did Archie shout How many notes did Charlie Parker miss How many times was Bette Davis kissed? How many presidents were senator first In the big Lebowski, how many times did John Goodman curse The only thing uniting us, the best social tool Meaningless statistics are awesome and cool 3 There are people who dispute the election People who dispute whether vaccines work People who love misdirection People who love calling other people jerks they might disagree on if the earth is flat but agree on the most popular youtube of a cat the number of home runs hit with a certain type of bat the number of movies Humphrey Bogart did not wear a hat the only thing uniting us, in fact it makes us drool meaningless statistics are awesome and cool ! (c) M. Skliar 2022
62 02:16
Yes I’m turning 62 What oh what is there to do? A one way ticket, closer to… Whatever fate decrees is true When digits start with the number six So many things are in the mix A different way to get your kicks And figure out some new tricks Is there wisdom? I don’t know Where’s my get up, where’s my go Moving yes, a bit more slow Just hope to have a bit of flow In the morning, getting up Looking at that half filled cup philosophy?, just don’t mess up That big pill, needs to be cut up On thin ice who knows if we skate And will it be a long long wait Before the man says ‘checkmate’ And they refer to you as ‘late’ So while I’m here, I’ll just be me Enjoy the ride, that’s the key Have roots and branches, like a tree It comes and goes, guaranteed
What on earth can you say When the sun turns grey And connections evaporate When the whole world has turned Your calls, not returned And your wisdom It’s come way too late Like the Scottish King of old When the fates start to roll And the walls fall into each other And the trees start to walk And the clouds start to talk And you’ve somehow lost track of your brother? Bridge You’ve replayed the past over and over You can’t change what occurred But there is a place Out there is space where there exists some sort of grace Embrace the moment, lean in Yes its hard to begin The one thing that’s steady is change sometimes all you can do cherish the old, embrace the new sooner or later things rearrange (c) 2022 M. Skliar
When will they put his ass in jail? we need an ending to this fairy tale the bread of justice is getting stale When will they put his ass in jail when will they finally indict? I want more then just 'they might' He's still free, that's not right when will they finally indict Got to send him up the river without a paddle Poor baby Donald got to take away his rattle This ain't just politics the last election he tried to fix and then came January 6th this ain't just politics every day he's spreading hate this goes on too long we're tempting fate our democracy has become third rate every day he's spreading hate Got to send him up the river without a paddle Poor baby Donald got to take away his rattle tax fraud, voter fraud, every other kind of fraud multiple felonies the system is deeply flawed, if we're not moving towards penitentiary When will they put his ass in jail? we need an ending to this fairy tale the bread of justice is getting stale When will they put his ass in jail Got to send him up the river without a paddle Poor baby Donald got to take away his rattle (c) M. Skliar 2022
Invisible 01:56
Always surrounded by beauty How could I feel bereft? Take away two thirds of this bounty still a thousand treasures left And just when I thought I had counted them all I found a dozen doors where once there had been a wall Invisible, unless you look Invisible, an unopened book Just waiting, go look, go see The Invisible is waiting for discovery Half-remembered dream of a dinosaur Passed down thru DNA chains Hiding at the edge of the dance floor Waiting to be called by a name And just when I thought it would always be lost I caught the magic that someone had tossed Invisible, unless you look Invisible, an unopened book Just waiting, go look, go see The Invisible is waiting for discovery
Mind v body 03:01
I put on the scarf you used to wear, I broke out in a rash looking for your address , my hands threw it in the trash My elbow elbows me that that it knows way better then I do My body separates me from things I get too attached too My knee gives a twinge whenever I think of you Its closer to the ground maybe it’s got a better view My ankle tells me things my mind wouldn’t have the nerve When I think I should see you my body throws me a curve A smell triggers your memory, then I begin to sneeze My sinuses sarcastically seem to say ‘oh please’ I would have left the house to visit you but my legs just made me freeze My body is collaborating to find the best exit strategies I would have visited but my stomach made plans Cause dinner with you is something it cannot stand Don’t want to get graphic, but I redecorated in a new color scheme My body’s telling me something I’m starting to figure out what it means So while we seemed to have a great meeting of the minds My eyes might go on strike and then I’d be blind I’m at the mercy of a thousand body parts My mind has been outvoted by my liver, my kidney and my heart
Crossroads 02:02
We’re sitting here in the crossroads That limbo that lies between Back there was fear and boredom Back there was quarantine Ahead may lie back to normal But are we moving there way too fast Another change in the DNA And the die might be already cast I don’t think I know the right answers The truth is, no one can say I’ve been good for so long already Seems a shame to throw it away But we can’t live this way forever Collateral damage piling up Still I can’t say I’m hurting all the time I’m looking at a half full cup So I’ll take a few baby steps To bring back that normal feeling And hope it doesn’t all crash back down Is that a crack I see in the ceiling?
If you’re not worried about what’s going on, you’ve got yer head in the sand Jan 6th was the Reichstag fire, a dry run for the stuff that is planned Its not just suppressing votes, It’s who counts them and who’s in the room Democracy is leaving, it may not come back soon Our government’s tilted to the right, here’s some facts to prove that’s true 50 Senate Democrats represent 41 million more, then the 50 Republicans do While the House is Gerrymandered, who rigs the rules calls the tune Democracy is leaving, it may not come back soon Low information voters, pandered to with easy solutions Frustrated and fed up with our every institution When the polio vaccine arrived, no one was anti-vax Nobody spent their time writing websites, pushing fake alternate facts Apolitical is amoral today, yeah the reality is that stark Apathy is a burning flame, and its only gonna take a little spark Dismiss this at your peril, go ahead think that America’s immune Democracy is leaving it may not come back soon (c) M. Skliar 2022
The doctor saw the patient and got a history He had bags under his eyes, trouble trying to see The patient told a tale of burning midnight oil To solve this mystery you don’t need Arthur Conan Doyle The doctor told the patient, let me see your cellphone 90 browser windows opened, this disorder is full-blown The telltale signs there for all to see 85 browser windows open , about cryptocurrency The patient was obsessed with this bitcoin scheme Blockchains and mining now make up all their dreams They want to put my money there, and make it grow and grow Others getting rich, they got a case of FOMO (FOMO, that stands for ‘fear of missing out’ a common early 21st century phenomenon, probably as widespread as the virus, and just about as easily spread, too) OK What is bitcoin? What is cryptocurrency? That’s a whole other song, goes like this It’s a complicated mess, with jargon and doublespeak Marketed to appeal to an oh-so-discerning clique Its value goes up and down, it isn’t for the weak To explain in any detail would take more then a week But here’s a few facts, I do not mean to bore It’s a ponzi scheme at heart, you gotta get in on the ground floor Its counting that the rubes will walk thru that trap door Marketed as ‘freedom’, you get what you pay for But the biggest reason on crypto , you shouldn’t spend a cent Is the serious damage it does to the environment To ‘mine’ ie to create this currency that is spent You need thousands of computers chasing that devil scent Computer farms the size of a medium sized town Use enough electric power to run our planet down Seriuosly, crypto used more power then Argentina or Sweden You don’t believe me, you should read what I’ve been reading (back to blues) Doctor said to the patient, avoid crypto like the plague Not just because understanding it is confusing and vague Its basically libertarian bull, promising freedom from regulation A con artist’s game, now sweeping the nation Celebrities do ads for it, last week I saw Larry David And if some crypto fans hear this song, I’m sure they’ll go rabid But when the hell was a free lunch ever really free They’re selling you a dream, that money grows on little crypto trees (c) M. Skliar 2022
Jazz singer 03:23
Every jazz singer in this worn out nation who faced down the blues with a laugh whose reality was punctured by poverty and privation should have a bold bright epitaph for it isn't a diamond that cuts thru defenses revealing that healing of the soul its phrasing and timing that heighens the senses and keeps us from feeling old and lets the spirits that live in us be bold the swing of a bass, the touch of a snare finds freedom overpowers oppression you can leave all your bleeps and blips right there no answers given, just asking questions for the missing pieces of your heart are the shape of the f holes in that old jazz guitar by hungry ears heard, or on magnetic tape shining bright as a blazing hot star an old friend that finds yoyu down at the end of the bar (c) M. Skliar 2022
Pathway home 02:16
When you’re young, things last forever At least that seems right, most of the time But when that roller coaster starts going downhill It feels different, the passage of time parents getting old is depressing Seeing them so ancient and falling apart My mom said to me today, ‘don’t get old, it sucks’ Its enough to break your heart And I want to give them a smooth landing With the grace of a great classic poem May the earth be a pillow so gentle and soft May the stars shine their pathway home When they go, then the world will feel different We know we are next, there’s no use to pretend Might as well make the most of this journey Who knows what happens at the end And I want to give us a smooth landing With the grace of a great classic poem May the earth be a pillow so gentle and soft May the stars shine our pathway home (c) M. Skliar 2022
Ukraine 02:03
Ukraine, you’ve got trouble again Bloodstains and a bear at the door insane, Putin and his oligarchs crazy enough to start a war Ukraine, a troubled history A terrain that tyrants desire Gas mains and natural resources A recipe for a land on fire Whats gonna happen Damned if I know Is it possible All of Europe will blow? (Who knows?) Ukraine, you’ve got a checkered past Not always such a friendly place for Jews My late mother in law, hiding in the forest While some Ukrainians helped the Nazis during world war two Ukraine, has come a long way The current president is Jewish by birth An independent country since 1991, But Putin’s madness threatens everyone on earth (c) M. Skliar 2022


This album was written in February 2022, and recorded in February and early March. The songs came out of an online writing project/songwriter /musician's collective called February Album Writing Month (fawm.org) which I've been active in since 2006.

A big thank-you to the FAWM community (an incredible group of over a thousand songwriters from every continent in the globe, giving it their all and cheering each other on every February), and a big thank-you as well to all the friends, family, fellow musicians, songwriters, and other artists who have inspired me over the years, and an even bigger shout-out to my wife Helen.

Recorded on the upper west side of Manhattan, with my usual collection of mostly-old but sometimes newer technology, old instruments, and some of my usual tricks, but learning a few new ones every now and then to keep it interesting.

About the cover image- there's a small Buddhist Church in my neighborhood with a statue that's several hundred years old. It originally stood in Hiroshima, Japan, and withstood the blast of the first atomic bomb dropped in wartime. It was brought to the US as a symbol of peace and renewal. I took the photo a few months ago.

A few thoughts about the songs. After not writing much since last summer, I wrote well over 30 songs this past February. I selected what I thought were the best ones for this album, and listening now, a few common themes seem to crop up- both political and personal.

While I've always written some so-called 'political' or 'protest' songs over the years, the times we're living in seem to call for yearly (maybe even weekly) updates into the larger human condition, which has, even more then usual, affected everyone so much in the last few years.

There are always other concerns I write about as well, however, and it seems as if aging, death and decay, etc., are somewhat repeat offenders in the subject department. That being said, I'm always looking not only to confront these subjects honestly, but also to find the humor, entertainment and cosmic jokes in there that we all sooner or later run into. Hopefully this album is more hopeful then hopeless, though maybe only by a small margin, you'll have to judge that for yourself. Enjoy! And stay in touch!


released March 4, 2022

Mike Skliar- acoustic and electric guitars, harmonicas, baritone guitar, resonator guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, bouzouki, electric bass, baritone guitar, doumbek & clay drums, percussion, drum loops, and all vocals.


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mike skliar New York, New York

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