B&P Turns 14

14 yearsIt was fourteen years ago yesterday that the very first post appeared on Bits & Pieces.  It’s been a wild and crazy ride at times.  I’ve posted some interesting, weird and funny things along the way… many of which you’ve contributed.  Thank you!

I’ve met a lot of interesting people, both online and in person. I’ve met a few weird ones too. I’ve heeded your advice on places to eat and things to see while on road trips.  I’ve shared in life’s blessings and sorrows with many of you.  I’ve shared links with fellow bloggers and we’ve discussed different things both online and in person about running a website.  Thank you! 

Sure it’s had its trials and tribulations but it’s also had its perks and peaks too.  It’s just like life, full of highs and lows and continually moving on.  I don’t know what the future will bring, but I can tell you that it’s still fun to do so I think I’ll continue doing it for a while. Thank you!

Thanks to all of you who visit – whether you stop by every once in a while or whether you’re here several times a day.  Thanks especially to those who take time to comment.  For without you this site would not exist.   Thank you.


Friday Firesmith – Taylor Swift

friday firesmithI remember when it was because I had been assigned to a pretty big project but it was much further away than what I was accustomed to at the time. I was going to spend about thirty minutes, each way, commuting but that isn’t such a big deal except there’s no form of music in my work truck other than commercial radio.
That was when I discovered that Taylor Swift is a ubiquitous force in music these days. She is a lot like the weather, sports, commercials, PSAs and anything else that you find on commercial radio. There is going to be a certain amount of Taylor Swift played every hour and everyone just agrees it is part of radio life.

taylor swift2At first, I was totally mystified. What had happened? Back in 2012 there was a Swift song titled, “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Christmas of that year found me getting all things Taylor Swift from my family because my relationship with the woman I was to marry broke up a couple of times, okay, more than a couple of times, before Christmas. I found the song to be a little too close to home for me to like it, or Swift, but I wasn’t forced to listen to the radio very much so…

But then I got reassigned and suddenly there was this song, “Shake It Off” being played twice an hour like it was a religion and suddenly Swift fans were being called “Swifties” and commercial radio was taken over by a woman who I remembered, vaguely, being kinda cute when she was very young and how she had written all the songs on her first album when she was sixteen or something like that.

The one thing I could say about “Shake It Off” was that it seemed to be slightly funny. What I had heard about Swift was she had relationship problems, and clearly she wasn’t taking those rumors seriously when she could turn them into lyrics.

“I stay out too late
Got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm
I go on too many dates [chuckle]
But I can’t make them stay
At least that’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm”

You really have to admire someone who isn’t afraid to make fun of herself.

So that got me thinking. What IS it? Taylor Swift isn’t drop dead beautiful as defined by society. She’s attractive but not overwhelmingly so. Swift doesn’t show off her body. While there are female singers out there who have appeared nearly nude onstage, Swift isn’t stripping. Miley Cyrus she isn’t. Swift hasn’t been caught on camera smoking pot or falling down drunk or flashing her private parts for the cameras. Photos of Swift in a bikini are neither shocking or breathtaking in their skimpiness. Taylor Swift has a decent enough voice but it isn’t as if she’s stopping traffic with her ability alone.

So how in the name of Janis Joplin as a decent looking woman with an average voice who doesn’t strip on stage and isn’t living a scandal-ridden life not only surviving in today’s environment, but taking over the whole damn world?
I sat down one night and listened to “1989”, Swift’s world-shaking take over and complete domination-of-the-charts album, and then listened to it again.

Here’s what Swift has…

Cherry lips, crystal skies
I could show you incredible things
Stolen kisses, pretty lies
You’re the king baby I’m your Queen
Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month
Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storm
I can make all the tables turn
Rose gardens filled with thorns
Keep you second guessing like
“Oh my God, who is she?”
I get drunk on jealousy
But you’ll come back each time you leave
‘Cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream (From ‘”Blank Space”)

What Swift has is the ability to tell a good story. In just over three minutes she’s set the stage for a  short-lived romance with a catchy tune and she sells it perfectly.

Try this one.

You come and pick me up, no headlights
A long drive,
Could end in burning flames or paradise
Fade into view, oh, it’s been a while since I have even heard from you (heard from you)

I should just tell you to leave ’cause I
Know exactly where it leads but I
Watch us go ’round and ’round each time

You got that James Dean daydream look in your eye
And I got that red lip classic thing that you like
And when we go crashing down, we come back every time
‘Cause we never go out of style
We never go out of style (From “Style”)

Swift has a thing about red lipstick in case you missed it, but you can’t miss the fact that wrapped around pop music that is easy to dance to and has a good beat is a woman who is love-struck.

Remember when you hit the brakes too soon
Twenty stitches in a hospital room
When you started crying
Baby, I did too. (from Out of the Woods)

You see it don’t you? Some accident that puts a love in the hospital and tears define the incident and you know, you really know it could happen. You’re there. No one carries a torch quite like Taylor Swift. No one tells you how much it hurts like she does. Despite all the concerts and fame and all the radio time this woman is getting you cannot help but feel like she would trade it all to be with the right person at the right time, for just one more night.

Wouldn’t you?
So disagree with me. It’s just pop music and it’s not like Mozart or Bach and two hundred years from now no one will remember her, right? I’m down with that. I ‘ve seen musicians and singers and songwriters come and go and maybe Swift will too. Maybe she’s just clever at marketing or her team is. Maybe she’s a rich and spoiled princess with a good act, right? Or maybe, once upon a time, a very young woman set out to tell a story, and even though she got rich and famous, she’s still trying to tell the story, that love, even for those who have taken over the world, is elusive, and painful, and worth it, too.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.