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A Gift From the World of Music

By Tim Hinkhouse

December 9, 2015

Hello there, readers. At this institution there are family picnics each year where you can just hang out talking with loved ones, eating and enjoying a sense of normalness for a couple of hours and not feeling like you are in prison. This year, thanks to our new assistant superintendent, the inmate house bands will play for the picnics. Last month my band played a picnic after one studio practice and was pretty good. Now we have had three to four practice sessions and we'll be a lot better! I can't wait to get out there and have fun.

I don't have anyone coming for me this year because my parents are unable to make the drive due to health issues and other people in my life have things to do. I'll have a good time anyway seeing folks I know and meeting their loved ones. Besides playing music I am looking forward to eating snow cones. It'll be fun!

I've always loved music since I was little. One of my favorite albums of all time is Fleetwood Mac's Rumors. Do you remember that? My love of music goes across all genres. As I write this blog entry I am listening to hip hop from the 1980s on my archaic MP4 player. Ever heard of Herbie Hancock? The Fat Boys? J.J. Fad? Whodini? Just to name a few. I love that era of rap music.

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As soon as our picnics are over I am going to try to form a '70s funk band. How could you not like this? Parliament is the best! I have to say that another of my favorite artists is Ms. Tina Turner and her Private Dancer album. The legs on that woman were so sexy! That was a lady I wished I had the opportunity to meet and thank her for all of her music she has shared with the world. Thank you Ms. Tina!

Do you ever notice that there are songs that will resonate all the way to your soul and make you feel so great that there isn't anything or anyone who can spoil your mood? That is truly a gift from that world of music. Then there is that song you hear playing through a radio or someone's headphones or someone singing a tune and next thing you know it is stuck in your head! Would you rather have something else in there making you miserable? Music is such a great distraction from my own reality. Tell me about music that touches you to your soul and gives you happiness.

Growing up as a teen in the '80s I had the pleasure of listening to the "big hair bands" like Slaughter, White Snake, Guns & Roses, Ratt and the like. I loved all of it! I had a crush on Lita Ford. I was and am still attracted to Ann Wilson of Heart. Now that I'm older and thanks to Zapp & Roger, I like a little "More Bounce to the Ounce"! Just like Sir Mix-A-Lot, "I like big butts and I cannot lie!"

Do you see how music influences and impacts our lives? That is such an amazing thing to have in my life. I still absolutely love The Dixie Chicks and all their music. Some would say that they did not have the right to talk bad about the president. Isn't that a right that our military fights for each day? Freedom of speech. See how their point of view affected the fans of their music? For years people believed the rumor that Ozzy Osbourne bit off the head of a bat at one of his concerts. See how that perpetuated the fears surrounding his music? His music is great I think.

For those of you over 40 reading this, did your parents not approve of the music you chose to listen to because it was misunderstood by them, but you loved it anyway? Now that we are getting older and some of us are stuck back in the '70s, '80s and '90s, be kind to those young people who have their new music turned up to an uncomfortable volume for you. Just remember that was us when we were their age. Get over yourself, old timer, and just enjoy what is familiar if you aren't open to new music. I have to say that is sad because there is so much awesome music out there.

Keep an open mind. You never know what you might find in music that you are not familiar with.

I'll keep you posted on how the picnics went and the upcoming Hamlet plays. I wished I could invite everyone to come see it, you would love it!

Stay healthy and stay safe!

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Tim Hinkhouse

Tim Hinkhouse

I have been HIV-positive for over 25 years and have been in prison in Oregon for almost as long because of my health status and non-disclosure. I'll talk to you about the issues faced by a person in my position along with the discrimination and stigmas attached to it behind these prison walls. I'll tell you about the strength and courage I found inside myself to NOT hang up and let this illness or my circumstances finish me off.

Tim Hinkhouse #7632447
Two Rivers Correctional Inst.
82911 Beach Access Rd.
Umatilla, OR 97882

You can also email me at hi.timothy7019
@gmail.com
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