Song #20: Jupiter

This is my 20th post, folks!  Pretty exciting!  I’ve been doing this Song Blog for 20 weeks now, not counting the week I took off for vacation.  It has been a blast and I’m looking forward to the next 20 weeks!

Because this month’s night sky is bejeweled with gleaming planets, song #20 is “Jupiter” from my collection “Walking Songs”

From 1993-1996, I worked as a cook at the Northampton Center for Children and Families, a little non-profit residential school for kids with emotional/behavioral issues.  Four days a week it was my job to cook lunch and dinner for about 50 people.  I worked alone in a well-lit, medium-sized kitchen at the back of the building.  There were windows along the back looking out into the school yard and I could watch the kids and staff smoking together (it was the 90’s!) on their breaks.  I cooked giant sheet pans of pizza, sloppy joes, tacos, sheperd’s pie, baked chicken, roasted potatoes, chicken nuggets, oven-grilled-cheese, tater-tots, lasagna, pot pie, apple crisp, spaghetti and meatballs….

It was a solitary job, except for at meal times, and I mostly liked it.  I love cooking for groups (I still do), the kitchen was comfortable (except in the summer) and I mostly enjoyed having all the time to myself.  I used to listen to the radio, top 40 during the day and NPR in the evening.  Top 40 back then was Alanis Morisette, Joan Osborne, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Creed, Alice in Chains, Gwen Stefanie, Marilyn Manson, Beck….

One day in July of 1994 I was listening to the news on NPR and they were talking about an impending asteroid collision with Jupiter.  All the scientists were super excited, pointing their telescopes up there, wondering what was going to happen, what they would see, etc.  I remember the phrase “string of pearls” was used to hypothetically describe what the asteroid would look like breaking up into little pieces in Jupiter’s atmosphere.  Carl Sagan came on and talked about how Earth was in danger of just such an event and how we should prepare ourselves.  His idea was that we could design some sort of anti-asteroid weapon that would launch calculated nuclear explosions near the rocks, basically steering them away from Earth’s atmosphere.  The whole thing made me super uneasy and got me thinking about the impact of humans on the universe, and the difference between “natural” and “man-made” events.   (Click here for more information about the Shoemaker-Levy comet of 1994)

Back to 2018:  here’s what the website has to say about June’s night sky:

 Saturn is visible virtually all night long this month, coming to opposition on June 27th and being accompanied across the sky that night from horizon to horizon by a full moon. Venus reaches its highest point above west-northwest horizon at sundown for 2018 this month. Speedy Mercury can be spied late in the month far to the lower right of Venus. Jupiter dominates the sky after Venus has set, remaining in view for most of the night. And finally, there is Mars which more than doubles in brightness during June as its distance from Earth decreases by half a million miles per day on its way to its closest approach to our planet in 15 years. It pops up above the east-southeast horizon around midnight at the start of June and about 90 minutes earlier by month’s end.

Happy planet gazing!

jupiter 3


Written and Performed by Carrie Ferguson
Recorded, Mixed, Mastered by Tommy Byrnes, Sovereignty Music

Jupiter is calling from her cloud of gaseous atmosphere
She’s worried ‘bout the string of pearls the universe is sending her
And up here on the Earth we’re waiting, telescopes trained, anticipating
Hoping the explosion is big enough to see
Secretly we’re hoping it will never happen here
Don’t forget that’s how we got here in the first place

Jupiter is calling, Jupiter is calling

Carl Sagan in his Mr Rogers sweater writes a letter to the
President: it’s evident that we have the technology
To change the course of any comet threatening our existence here on Earth
Its worth investigation, just a simple detonation
Of a string of nuclear bombs designed to herd those rocks like cattle

Jupiter is calling, Jupiter is calling

Playing God with match books and test tubes of nuclear winter
We’ll know that we had heaven once we’ve turned it in to hell
And if Mother Nature, Great Creator, God, the Tao is watching now
Is it surprised or angry or is this part of the plan?
The beaver gnaws down trees to build its damn while we just mine for Uranium
Artistic license, identity crisis, nature or nurture, we’re not sure
But who needs asteroids when you’ve got bombs of your own?

Jupiter is calling, Jupiter is calling

2 thoughts on “Song #20: Jupiter

  1. I can’t listen at the moment because Neil is reading next to me and I’m under a blanket and its too comfy! But, I love your story, and I love picturing you cooking in the kitchen, and I really love thinking of all those beings that were taken care of and fed by your love-infused food! And, what powerful lyrics. I can’t wait to listen! love you, carrie ferguson.


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