If you happen to watch the PBS Newshour regularly, you will recognize the music I've opened this page with--the BNSF Railway ad which opens every other broadcast. I have had a bone to pick with the Newshour ever since they marginalized Bernie Sanders in their coverage of the last election. But I still have to have it on every evening, for my mother, because it is familiar to her from her life before she had dementia.
When you watch the same thing every evening, you start to pick up on details. I can recite all the ads from the corporate sponsors by heart ("Warm sunny days, cooling tradewinds, and the CRYSTAL BLUE CARRIBBEAN SEA"). It makes me think of when I worked during the summmer for Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami. During the lunch break, seated outside the snack bar, the tram would go by on its way into the Rain Forest. The driver had been giving the tour so long, that he never deviated from his script, so at times, I would lead the rest of the fellows at my table in reciting it with him (I was a lot more like my past-life self, the satirist, when I was young): "We are now entering our rainforest. In a rainforest, it has to rain at least once a day, so EVERYTHING GETS THOROUGHLY DRENCHED."
Once you have listened to the BNSF Railway sponsorship ad for a couple years, you start to notice--or, at least, I started to notice--a weird squeaking sound in the intro music. I got to where I could cue it in like an orchestra conductor--I know just what's on the screen, and where it comes in, in syncopation. You see a black-and-white aerial shot of the train yard, and then the scene cuts to a closeup of some trucks on a flat-bed, and, SQUEAK!
If you string it together, it sounds like this:
Incidentally, 160 years from the time that ad was produced, puts us just about smack in the period when I--as Mathew Franklin Whittier--was practically living on the trains, traveling through the New England states and writing a travelogue under the pseudonym, "Quails," for the Boston "Weekly Museum." (And no, it wasn't the man it was attributed to, Ossian Dodge.)
I have no idea what that squeak is in the ad. But the point of this example is, I have immersed myself quite literally on a daily basis in my past-life study, for some eight years. And when you do that, you start to notice little things. In my previous entry, I said that I had found a clue, which proves, at least to me, that Mathew Franklin Whittier was, in fact, the real author of "The Raven," not Edgar Allan Poe. I refused, at that time, to present the actual clue--and I still refuse to do it, now. For that, you can buy the book (it won't be in there on Amazon until about 6:00 p.m. tonight, because I just added it, and it takes five hours for Amazon to process a book once you've uploaded it).
I'm very meticulous, as you might have noticed from the BNSF Railway "squeak." I never report anything I can't back up.
Well, I'm on my lunchbreak, and I have to finish eating and get back to my daytime caretaking duties in 15 minutes. I have just about enough time to post this and make sure everything is working.
But if you think I just squeak by with my past-life research, you don't realize how well I've trained myself.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page, BNSF Railway advertisement