Song Lyrics

I am still working mostly on computer things. Primarily, consolidating my backups, that are scattered over many terabytes of hard drives.

It is slow going because working with such large drives takes seemingly forever. But I’m making some progress. It is sort of like beating your head against the wall. It’s going to feel so good when I stop.

The plan is to put all of the backup files into a single hard drive. I then have some software that does quite a good job of getting rid of any identical duplicates. I have already used it to get rid of many hundreds of gigabytes of data. Once I have done that, it will also remove empty folders. At least usually it will. I just found a whole collection of empty folders that it somehow would not remove, so I had to do it manually just so that I don’t have to keep looking in them.

Then, I plan to go through and get rid of ancient history that I no longer want and to organize the folders into at least a somewhat rational manner. Sometimes it’s especially hard to decide exactly where something should go. But, I want to get the easy ones arranged.

Many of the backups are of songs that I have moved from cassette tapes to the computer. Sometimes the song’s jump out and make me play them. One of those was Joan Baez singing, “Gracias a la Vida” or Thanks to the Life. Perhaps, “Here’s to Life” is a better way to say it in English. I found the following translation of the lyrics

Many people have sung it many times. I think the version that I have was recorded by Joan Baez in 1974. Here is a link to the original composer that I found very interesting: with probably a better translation, although it is quite short.

I cannot help but wonder if the verse that contains:

Thank you life, which has given me so much
You gave me two eyes, which when I open them,
I distinguish perfectly black from white

Has some reference to the idea that some cultures have that dawn or sunset is official when you either can or cannot distinguish a black thread from a white thread. If that makes no sense to you, try it sometime. As you know, the eye has receptors that can distinguish colors. And some people these are incredibly precise. And also receptors that can only distinguish black and white.

The receptors for black and white are much more sensitive for whatever reason. And it is why very dim light seems to cause everything to look varying shades of gray. Colors pretty much disappear.

You’ve probably heard variations of, “at night all cats are gray.” I was naïve enough to think that I could find where this comes from. However, many have quoted it. In Spanish, I recalled the similar, “De noche todos los gatos son pardos.” Benjamin Franklin had a version of it and the earliest reference I could find says that it appears in John Heywood’s book of proverbs (1546) as ‘When all candles be out, all cats be gray.’

So, I was wondering if in the composer’s culture there was extra symbolism in being able to distinguish perfectly black from white. It seems to me that often phrases from another culture, or another time period, are often pregnant with hidden meaning. But, it is lost on me unless I happen to know how to work the secret decoder ring.

“The da Vinci Code” and other books like that can be quite fascinating. Gradually unraveling the hidden meaning. They say Alice in Wonderland, and many famous works, that today are usually taken at face value, were intended to be understood as containing plays on words. Shakespeare comes to mind.

But, back to the song. I have always liked that song very much. Janet and I used to play it a lot. You recall that Janet spoke Spanish quite well. Since for some of you, either speak Spanish quite well, or it is your primary language, and you speak English quite well. So, if you have a better translation, feel free to share it with me. I’m quite aware that translating something into another language is often an art. The idea is easily confused in translation of the words. Important nuances are lost forever.

And even working in a single language, double entendres can get really tricky.

We have had a couple of brief cold spells here. And some brief rainy spells. Sometimes dropping a lot of rain in a short time. But, basically we are having a very nice Indian summer so far. I hate to say that out loud and jinx it.

They have been saying for a while that the marina is sold out for this winter. It is certainly filling up fast. We are all meeting lots of new and interesting people and it promises to be a very nice winter. I hope yours is also,



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