Coming home from work just now I thought of a line from a Warren Zevon song that was first released in 1976 — although I first heard it in 1978 — called “Mohammed’s Radio.” Even to this day I am not sure of the song’s meaning. I suppose if you believe our president was born in Kenya as a keystone to some complicated plot for the Muslims to overtake our country, then perhaps you might figure the song has something to do with Islam. The closest to the religion of Islam that I can find in the song, though is the name Mohammed, who happens to be running a pirate (unlicensed, not Arrrrrrh matey!) radio station.
I feel I had to get that out of the way before I can make my point, which is about a line in the song. There happens to be some magnificent lyrical lines in the song, which Zevon performs while touring with Jackson Browne in 1976 in the above You Tube clip. One of my favorite ever is in the song where Zevon sings: “You know the sheriff’s got his problems too. And he will surely take them out on you … “
And here we are at paragraph three. As I was driving home after a hard day of looking at how much things cost I reflected upon all the gasoline signs showing prices edging to the side of $4 a gallon. Some grades of gasoline are already there, here in Beaumont, Texas, — ironically where the modern oil business began with the Spindletop boom in 1901 and is in an area that is home to some of the nation’s largest refineries –and elsewhere in the U.S. An Orlando, Fla., gas station is charging $5.69 per gallon.
So the late Warren Zevon sings: “Everyone is desperate, trying to make ends meet. Work all day, still can’t pay the price of gasoline and meat.” Yes, this was 1976 when the song was released on the self-titled “Warren Zevon” album. Meat prices aren’t all that expensive yet but they slowly climb along with everything else when gas prices go skyward as a result of exorbitant oil prices spurred this week perhaps by the Middle East perhaps getting a case of “Independence Fever.” Who knows what will be the raison d’etre next week?
History just keeps repeating itself, at least when it comes to gasoline prices. The minister for oil barrels of Uzbekistan gets a cold and watch out! There goes gas prices flying sky high and then you have to take out a second mortgage to buy a porterhouse. If you have experienced a gas crisis, be it from World War II, to the rationing and “outrageous” jumps in price with the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, then you might just remember what else inflated in cost. It seems like every time a tropical storm blows toward our nearby Gulf of Mexico, up goes the gas prices and practically all other items for sale.
I exaggerate, of course, but not by much. History can be good to find where one goes forward. But it also can be pretty damned depressing.
Perhaps that’s why rocking all night long with Mohammed on the radio was some comfort food for the soul in Zevon’s mind. Maybe something similar will provide you some solace, although that may not be the case if you are a confirmed “Birther.”
Sorry for burying the lede. Some day it will work for me. Happy Easter Egg.