“Navigation” Mosaic Mural, Houston

I found this wonderful mosaic piece along the East End of Downtown one Saturday morning as I took a drive about 2 years ago. I had every intention of featuring it sooner, but the track that I originally wanted to pair with it (“Airplanes, pt. 2” by B.O.B.) was not readily available nor priced in my regular record budgetary range. As a public school teacher, I would love to have a large vinyl budget, but it isn’t in the cards right now.

In a month that we have featured plenty of aerodynamic posts, this art display was a great contender for one that introduces the joy of flying.

I was never great at making paper airplanes as a kid. I stuck with routinely elementary designs where as my peers could seemingly create much more complex fighter jet styles with ease. I wasn’t as concerned about the design as much as how far and fast the paper models would travel. If given the chance, I would much rather fly like a magnificent eagle than fly like a dove. Nothing against a dove, but there is something showstopping about being a large bird. The one time that element of performance really paid off came to a head was at a Ben Folds concert, of all places.

Folds was hosting a “Paper Airplanes Tour” which stopped in Houston. Where he didn’t have a new album to push at the time, he brought his catalogue of songs and encouraged at one great display of audience participation by throwing notes with song titles. Folds would select from this scattered pile of requests he wrote or played on record as the next song to play.

The Houston concert was at The House of Blues’s main room, which affords a balcony to view shows in the comfort of theatre seats instead of just standing room only general admission. The second story provided an added benefit in the angle that the airplane would travel toward the stage. One by one, I saw the stockpiled requests that were prepared sail down. One plane in particular sailed to the rear of the stage, hit the rear curtain and dropped on what looked like a stage light. I thought that my song request would seriously become a fire hazard if that light was not temperate at all. I was fortunate to see Folds pick up that exact plane maybe 3-4 requests in. I don’t know if he had the same “this thing may burn” thought, but I was thrilled to see and play my request.

I knew that the plane was mine not only by design and location but because the request was actually a very specific cover. I heard Folds play Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” on a live album and I legitimately can say that I prefer the cover. Something in Ben’s take on the song is just mesmerizing to me.

The selected track this week is “Fly Like an Eagle” by the Steve Miller Band. The song hi lights the talented frontman’s album of the same name, but also ties in a cover of it’s own. Miller covers “You Send Me” by the great Sam Cooke on that album, another real treat from someone most notably is associated with “The Joker”. “Fly Like an Eagle” uses the phrase “time keeps on slippin’ into the future”. I don’t know that I could find a more appropriate sentiment for a post that I thought might have been out 2 years ago.

Until next time, find the adventure around you. Take care of yourselves and one another.

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