Sunday, April 23, 2006

Nixon killed my mood ring

I had this strange dream last night. Not sure what triggered it. Oh, I have my suspicions. It may be the result of a sometimes commentor here on the blog who may be living proof for reincarnation. See, while only 16, she's extremely bright and curiously, tends to relate better to flower children of the Sixties than to many of her contemporaries.

That may be why I found myself visiting with Joshua Reynolds during my sleep in Lalaland last night. For those who don't remember, Joshua Reynolds was the inventor back in the 60's of that ever so rife icon of the Woodstock generation, the mood ring.

It was back in those days when a mood ring, Jimi Hendrix allegiance and a Peter Max poster could get you a ticket to the revolution (and free docier by the FBI). It was a time of campus unrest at those universities situated near critical intersections of the Earth's ley lines. Places like Columbia, UC Berkeley, San Francisco and Kent States Universities, hotbeds of revolutionary reverberation. It scared the shit out of authorities fearing for their authority.

Why, a group called the Black Panthers even took up arms against oppressive tactics used in minority communities by police. (It's been suggested the Black Panther's appearance with weapons in the California state assembly may be the act most responsible for necessitating FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, wear diapers in his last remaining years.)

Well, Joshua Reynold's rings featured pseudo gemstones--which were really thermochromic liquid crystals--that changed color in response to the body temperature of its wearer.

And while there's some debate, the generally agreed upon colors of your ring revealed, for all to see, your particular mood of the moment. Most commonly accepted mood delineating colors were:

* Dark blue: Very happy
* Blue: Relaxed, at ease, calm
* Blue-green: Emotionally charged, somewhat relaxed
* Green: Average reading. Active, not under great stress
* Amber: Nervous, emotions mixed, unsettled, cool
* Gray: Anxious, nervous, strained
* Black: Tense, nervous, harassed, overworked

Because mood rings were extremely cheap, they became as prevalent among the masses as socialized medicine in Britain. At parties and bars, they were often saviors in groups with lagging conversations when someone could interject, "Oh my god! Why are you so fuckin' happy dude?" staring down at his ring finger.

But then everything changed. Nixon came along. The guy who promised to get us out of Vietnam with honor. But he didn't. Instead, paranoid Nixon expanded it. We started bombing Laos. Cambodia. And the war dragged on. It became his main reelection issue four years later and a pall overtook the land. Inevitably, all the mood rings turned black. Gone were the vibrant blues and greens.

Slowly, in ever increasing numbers, the little rings were removed from fingers, left to settle to the bottom of jewelry boxes and die. Or they were simply discarded with the waning mood of the Sixties. More and more, conversations at bars and parties lagged, then died in awkward silences.

But that's where I came in. Talking with Joshua, their inventor, I'd suggested maybe it was time he consider a comeback for the ring. With almost two generations having passed since its demise, I hinted the mood ring may be more than ripe for a revival. "I'm pretty sure it'd be a smash," I said.

"Nah," he responded. "It's no use. They don't work anymore. We tried. The national mood's so somber, they just don't work. They just sit there, black. If Nixon killed the mood ring, Bush sealed its coffin," Joshua said glumly.

I tried to console him; offer some encouragement by saying, "Well maybe in three years, after Bush's gone?"

"Hell no!" he snapped. "Have you seen the future? Even if Bush decides to step down at the end of his second term, have you seen our choices? Hillary or Kerry and Frist or Condi!"

I had to concede, for the foreseeable future, the nation's color looks pretty damn black.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

So that's how those mood rings worked. Mine never changed color which supposedly meant I was calm & relaxed (?) ... I threw it away figuring it was defective. Now I see it was accurately reflecting the consistent temp of my hands! And would it be "merely" Black today, or gone beyond to the absolute lack of color of the nether reaches of an outer space singularity? D.K.

dada said...

DK: I think your ring would be black today. The absolute absence of all color of the nether would appear sometime before the end of '06, in a land far, far away, called Iran, when a small band of insane men unleash the genie who will unite two very disparate, yet similar nations in eternal wedded bliss as witnessed by the entire Earth family and joined, post-ceremoniously, in a drunken, orgasmic reception at the edge of forever with all other power inebriated civilzations that ever existed anywhere within the cosmos present to heave rice as we speed off with our bride to an outer space singularity with our god where, having been breathed the gift of life we will spend the rest of forever with those who similarly preferred to squander it on destruction and death.

It is there, in such a place, all mood ring gemstones will manifest colorless. And while life on Earth shall have ceased to exist there shall cosmically and eternally remain the gifts of mankind left behind. Gifts like 8-tracks, Jimi Hendrix, and Peter Max posters. Oh, and, of course, mood rings glimmering in hues of blue greens and amber for those who learned how to keep 'em alive and well.

Nina said...

"The absolute absence of all color of the nether would appear sometime before the end of '06, in a land far, far away, called Iran, when a small band of insane men unleash the genie who will unite two very disparate, yet similar nations in eternal wedded bliss as witnessed by the entire Earth family and joined, post-ceremoniously, in a drunken, orgasmic reception at the edge of forever with all other power inebriated civilzations that ever existed anywhere within the cosmos present to heave rice as we speed off with our bride to an outer space singularity with our god where, having been breathed the gift of life we will spend the rest of forever with those who similarly preferred to squander it on destruction and death."

Dada: Just wanted to let you know how badly that scared me. I was reading it and this odd fright took hold of me. I don't know if it was the pall lying thick over this paragraph, or the imagery presented. It freaked me out bad, though.

P.S. Everyone: They'll only turn black if you let them.

Nina said...

Dada: You don't know where I could find a good silver mood ring from the 70's do you? Has to be silver or gold, cause my skin turns this wierd, mutant green if it's bronze or some such metal.

Anonymous said...

dada, I can tell by your response you were thinking far beyond my intention. My concept of singularity was formed by much SF reading, referring to Black Hole Singularity, which merely postulates at the center of a BH is a place where curvative of spacetime becomes infinite. Intrestingly, although BH's are a region of space from which nothing can return, worm holes might be able to exit.

I see in Wikipedia, that you seem to be referring to Technological Singularity, an event that changes man forever. It mostly mentioned AI-type changes (like The Terminator) & even the unabomber's dire predictions. It made me identify with Harlan Ellison's "I have no mouth & I must scream".

Anyway to see the difference, look in Wikipedia "Technological Singularity" (which is what I think you had in mind - very scary indeed) vs "Black Hole Singularity" (just a physical phenom). D.K.

Anonymous said...

Nina, I strongly recommend reading wikipedia "Technological Singularity". If you scroll down to Neo-Luddite views & click on Earth First! you'll be pleased to see reasonable people have been taking action for some time. And there's a UK chapter for when you make your break from this insanity! D.K.

dada said...

Nina:

For some nice mood ring bling, try Mood Jewelry

BTW, just so you know, mention on this site does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of or for any products represented at Mood Jewelry by Dada, his associates, affiliates, agents, or the Departments of Transportation or Energy, blah, blah, blah...okay?

Anonymous said...

Hey, dada, the D.K. family is just leaving town to take our Aust Shep in for knee surgery. Yup, same operation as last year, only different leg. See ya when we return in a couple days with our repaired pooch. Then let the healing begin! I miss you all already. D.K.

dada said...

D.K. -Thanks, and good luck to you and your dogger. God bless all the animals, so at the mercy of mankind. Fortunately, there are kind mankinds such as yourself.

We'll be thinking of you and your little family.

dada said...

Nina. Okay, I've twice responded to your request re mood rings. But both times I included an html link to a mood ring bling site and posted it. (Or so I thought. But html is not loading here in the comments section ...not for me anyway.)

So, you might try moodjewelry.com. They have a number of rings over there. Of course, such mention here is in no way intended as a recommendation or endorsement by Dada, his agents, associates, Departments of Defense, Energy or Education of Mood Jewelry Mood Rings, their affiliates, blah, blah, blah........

Nina said...

"Event horizon of the United States of America as yet unknown..."

some_maineiac said...

well, my friends, I have returned from my journey to the American Southwest with perhaps a message of some hope for humanity based on a short, personal encounter with a Havasupai man and a book I brought along to read on my backpacking trip ...

but first, I have to say, dada, DK and Nina, as a general commentary on the topics that have been presented and commented on in the past week, that our minds appear to run in similiar circles even when we are not in direct contact via this blog...

dada, the "light reading" I brought along for the plane trip out was "The Strawberry Statement", an account of the student strike at Columbia in '68, which thoroughly engrossed me as I was passing over Texas or Oklahoma or New Mexico...it is written very much like many of the blogs we frequent today; a semi-regular diary of both mundane and profound thoughts...unfortunately, I didn't know where the flight corridor was, exactly, and there weren't any signs on the countryside to tell this air traveler where he was, but your entry on the anti-war activities at UC-Santa Cruz was made at about that time...

DK, I nodded approvingly and with complete understanding at yout HST quote and the reference here to Ellison's fantastic "I have no Mouth and I Must Scream" SF story...and this topic of Technological Singularities is one that I hope to expound on in future comments...I do hope your dog recovers well from the knee surgery, so he can do those things that dogs do so well...walk about and take a keen interest in the present moment of their surroundings...

Nina, (and all), here's the promised balm for your encounter with "The Fear"...a favorite topic of my favorite writer, and one that is frighteningly familiar to someone such as HST who had direct experience with paranoia and fear brought on by his use of powerful mind-altering drugs...

In my opinion, the Havasupai Indians, and Native Americans in general are a proud, noble and handsome race of people, with depths of spirituality and wisdom that most white people can find nowhere in themselves, not even in their Christian religion...the Havasupai have opened their land for the use of people seeking a one-ness in Nature, but instead have to deal daily with an onslaught of "yahoo" campers, who blatantly toss litter onto the Havasupai homeland and waste their breath with endless, banal, chatter on the trail and in their encounters with others...

there is plenty of opportunity for contact with the Havasupai, as they offer a pack-ferrying service for the 10-mile hike via mule trains, but they shun most contact with "campers" by avoiding direct eye contact as they pass and ignoring the hearty waves and greetings of the hikers...I adopted my own form of respectful acknowledgment of these impressive men on horseback by bowing my baseball hat-clad head and touching my brow above the visor in a sort of salute...sometimes my greeting was returned with a nod or slight wave and this encouraged me to give this silent greeting to the throngs of other hikers that I met on the trail, most of whom didn't have a clue as to how to respond...

on the way out, I wore a favorite T-shirt...a design of a red-wing blackbird and dragonflies recalling figures painted as protective emblems by the Cheyenne on their drums and garments...a Havasupai man on foot approached me after I offered my silent greeting and the following conversation took place...

"I like your shirt"
"Thank you...it is a Cherokee design " (my mistake, it's Cheyenne, I saved the tag and re-read it when I got home)
"you?" (I took this as a question as to my heritage)
"no"
"friends?" (I took this as a question as to my personal feelings about Amerinds)
"yes!!!"
"you read?"
"yes"

He then told me about the writings and books available at this web site and let me know that the proceeds from sales go to the education of their young people...

I was very honored by this direct and meaningful contact...

On the way home, I broke out the heavy reading..."Indian Medicine Power"...the very first chapter is entitled "Quetzalcoatl's Promise" and tells the story of the fair-skinned, bearded prophet-king of the Toltec Indians of southern Mexico, who prophesied the coming of the Spanish conquistadors and offered this hope...

"a few hundred years after the arrival of these first whitemen, Quetzalcoatl promised, other whitemen would appear who would bear only the talons of the peaceful dove. At this time, Quetzalcoatl, or the spirit that was in him, would also return. The Indians would once again have pride in their ancestors, and they would earnestly seek to regain both the spirit and the wisdom of the ancient people. The Indians and the whitemen, who bore the feet of doves, would work together to build a new and better world of peace, love and brotherhood"

This gives me hope for the future of some form of humanity on this continent, should the talibangelists of our government succeed in inciting nuclear war in Iran or bringing about the destruction of American society as we know it...many of us may perish, but the continent may once again be returned to its rightful owners and the like-minded people who might manage to survive...

dada said...

Maineac--Welcome back, friend! Wow...who says there isn't balance in the Universe? Just as DK leaves, Maineiac returns!

(Of course, I'm concerned that Enigma has found/joined (?) Jimmy Hoffa somewhere beneath the turf of Giants Stadium (or maybe her absence is a testament on the condition of Sol?).

Anyway, great to have you back and I really enjoyed reading of some of your adventure into the Southwest. I look forward to checking out your link and catching up more in the days ahead.

Also, while feeling a bit unspired to write anything the past day or two, I found your trip recollections inspiring such that I may find a blog in them. Thanks.

Okay, will catch up in the days ahead. In the meantime, welcome back! You WERE missed!

Nina said...

maineiac: I read up on your link, and I am intrigued. When I have some money to spend, I would like (besides a mood ring and some John Lennon glasses) to purchase a copy of The Beauty Path.

Native Americans have always interested me; their culture, music, jewelry, language, and spiritual methods. I admit that I don't know much about my own indian heritage, but maybe I'll do some research, now that you've brought it up.

some_maineiac said...

Nina, thanks for the nod to my comment and for checking out the link...there is a discount price at Amazon for all 5 of the books mentioned on the site and they are all winging their way to me now...

there is a story of some Indian ancestry on the French side of my family, but such stories are hard to confirm, because it was usually white men who married Indian women, and these women were generally given Franco-cized (or Anglo-cized) names...good luck with any research into your own heritage...

Dada, I'm honored that you would find inspiration in my comments and also a bit concerned by Enigma's absence and what it hints at insofar as her friend's health goes...

and I'm glad to be back!

Anonymous said...

wow! I never knew that... Well, Do mood rings or anything else that shows your moods really work? Cause I bought a mood ring in a museum and I think it dosen't work at all.

dada said...

Anonymous: I'm sorry your mood ring you purchased in a museum doesn't work. Was it a Museum of Antiquity? (Sorry.)

Seriously, mood rings do/did work. But seriously, all mood rings die after a time. It may be that you bought one that had seen its better days.

If you get a new one, I guarantee it will work for a goodly amount of time. (As to the accuracy of the colors and their reflection of your true mood, well, that's up for debate.)

However, I'm pleased to report that my wife informed me that just recently in a local Walgreen's she saw--at the cosmetics counter--mood rings! But they weren't just one large stone, they were a series of smaller mood reflecting stones.

Good luck should you pursue another one after your first experience. Maybe next one you'll catch a live one! That would be my hope.

sheofmermaids said...

To those who are interested; Mood Rings are an entertainment hobby of mine and I have a Mood Ring Color Chart of my own among the Google Blogs here, that is based on personal research I have done in my spare time over a few years. Key in- "Mood Ring Colors Chart" & that should bring it up. Mood Rings are more entertainment and introspective than anything else. I love all of the colors that they change to and trying to assign emotions to those colors. The color "Clear" is included on the Mood Chart along with other colors not usually on the standard Mood Color Charts.

Thank you, sheofmermaids