All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Yolk's on you

Warner Bros.
Egg yolks featured in both "The Shining" and in the music video for The Flaming Lips' song "She Don't Use Jelly." Both are presented to you by Warner Bros.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – I wasn’t really expecting Oklahoma City’s very own Flaming Lips to figure into one of my many music-related synchronicities, but then these things happen the way they happen and I just go with it.

It was a few days ago in the car. Apparently the radio had been tuned into SiriusXM’s 90’s alternative-rock channel Lithium.I listen to it on occasion, albeit not that much. I have been tuning in more classical and jazz of late.

The song playing had just begun: “She Don’t Use Jelly” by The Flaming Lips, originally released in 1993 on their Transmissions From the Satellite Heart album. I remember it well, because in the fall of ’93, when “She Don’t Use Jelly” was in heavy rotation on MTV, Beavis & Butt-head, and the band appeared on Beverly Hills 90210, performing the song. I worked in a music store at the time, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and stocked that album, among others of that wild musical year.

In fact, the video for “She Don’t Use Jelly” was filmed by Bradley Beesley on the campus of the University of Oklahoma in Norman.If you look closely, you can see the uniquely-designed campus buildings, which were coined "Cherokee Gothic" by Frank Lloyd Wright, the troubled American architect and a man not looked upon favorably amongst some in my own family, due to familial links to Wright. 

Now, after an incident involving singer Wayne Coyne a few years ago, which we reported on at the time, The Flaming Lips were essentially persona non grata to me, even though they draw a lot of water here in their home state.

Anyway, I was listening to the song and in the third verse, Coyne sings: “I know a girl who reminds me of Cher / She’s always changing, the color of her hair / She don’t use nothing, that ya buy at the store / She likes her hair to be real orange / She uses tangerines …

Tangerines?  Of course. Tangerines from Tangier, the seaport in Morocco where William S. Burroughs lived – and wrote Naked Lunch

And this, just after I had picked up a copy of Cher's 1973 solo album Half-Breed, the title track about a young woman who is not accepted because one parent is white and the other is Cherokee Indian. So, Cher had been on my mind a day or so before hearing "She Don't Use Jelly." Curious, in that it was a "headdress," like the one Cher wears in the video for "Half-Breed," that led to the Coyne/Lips controversy back in 2014. What I am picking up on, here, is a Native American theme that keeps coming up in my sync investigations - and something that has followed me since I was a child in suburban Washington, D.C. 

Funny. My recent Dust Devil Dreams post “Superior force,” which discusses the 1979 Tangerine Dream album Force Majeure (which translates as “superior force”). It’s an album I have been playing a lot of lately, after a series of synchronistic events – including the title of an episode of Messiah – pointed to the phrase “force majeure.”

WOMB/TOMB

That reference to the orange-colored citrus fruit known as a “tangerine” had gotten my attention. The album art for Force Majeure featured a “tangerine”-like sun/orb descending (or ascending from) a black hole. Knowing that, it was interesting to rewatch the silly-psych “She Don’t Use Jelly” music video and see a girl in a bathtub (again, on the OU campus – not far from where I had breakfast this morning) put her finger in the yolk of sunnyside-up eggs (with toast) and stick her finger in the yolk and put it near her nose, to reference what is noted in the second verse. I’ll get back to the yolk bit  …

The next song, “Down in a Hole” by Alice in Chains, a song written by guitarist Jerry Cantrell, a guy whose father grew up around Boggy Depot, Oklahoma, although Jerry Cantrell was born in Tacoma, Washington and grew up in that area where grunge music would flourish in the early 1990’s, and Alice in Chains would become one of that era’s best-loved grunge bands. And “Down in a Hole” one of their best songs. Certainly one of Cantrell’s favorites.

In fact, Cantrell’s 1998 album Boggy Depot, featured photos of Jerry Cantrell standing – covered in mud – in the Clear Boggy Creek (I visited a few years ago for a “Small Town Matters” post) in a fashion he said was “kind of like an Apocalypse Now/Martin Sheen type of thing.” What is equally interesting - if not more so - is that Bigfoot has been reported in this very area of Oklahoma. 

The song, written about Cantrell’s then-girlfriend, and the first line is: “Bury me softly in this womb/I give this part of me for you/Sand rains down and here I sit / Holding rare flowers, in a tomb, in bloom.”

Womb, eh? And rhyming with “tomb.” The odd thing is that Wayne Coyne’s Automobile Alley arts complex – The Womb – attracts folks interested in The Flaming Lips and the weird, wild, psychedelic vision the band invokes. Now, art collective Factory Obscura has a permanent installation called “Mix-Tape” at The Womb. 

Also, “Down In a Hole” and “She Don’t Use Jelly” were released as singles within approximately six weeks of each other – in late summer/early fall of 1993. Again, a truly magical time – at least for me. (By the way – while writing this, an OKPOP post on Facebook suddenly reminded me that Wayne Coyne’s birthday was January 13, 1961, making him 59 years old. Curious timing in light of this sync popping up the way it did.

But back to the Womb. In the early 2010’s, The Flaming Lips had photos of themselves taken dressed as the Droogs from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, as well as characters from The Wizard of Oz. Clearly, this local band has been syncing with me. Recall that Coyne’s hair in the “She Don’t Use Jelly” video is bright orange – or is it tangerine? Coyne got in trouble for posting graphic photos from The Womb, showing "Milk Bar"-like imagery that violated Instagram's rules. 

As for “Down in a Hole,” as I listened to it, I thought of Tangerine Dream’s Force Majeure album art, the tangerine falling into a hole. Is it darkness and depression? Hell on earth? Loss? 

RING OF FIRE

The third song in this sync-song-trilogy was Social Distortion’s cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire,” which struck me in a positive way, giving me a chance to sing along.

Driving along, this really excited me. Social D frontman Mike Ness said he loved Cash’s storytelling style and his lonesome voice, and led him to work up what would be a successful cover version. It works well in the hands of the punk-rock band covering it. And while the song, written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore, is about falling in love – “it burns, burns, burns, that ring of fire” – I took it in a more literal way, in terms of the Pacific tectonic plates, where earthquakes and volcanoes often cause trouble. Or the recent solar eclipse, where the moon passed in front of the sun, but not entirely - giving that "ring of fire" appearance. The ring surrounds a hole. I think y'all get it. 

I already mentioned Stanley Kubrick, in relation to the Lips' A Clockwork Orange getup a few years back. But what of The Shining

It came in the form of the eggs in the "She Don't Use Jelly." As Coyne sings about a girl who will "make you breakfast, make you toast," you see the girl in the bathtub with the eggs and toast. She later dabs her finger in it, playing with it - which reminded me of the "breakfast scene" in The Shining where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is served breakfast in bed by his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) - eggs and toast - and as he he dabs his bacon in the egg yolk he tells Wendy "I've never been this happy or comfortable anywhere," talking about the Overlook Hotel. "I fell in love with it right away. When I came up here for my interview, it was as though I'd been here before. I mean we all have moments of deja vu, but this was ridiculous. It was as though I knew what was going to be around every corner." He then makes a "wooo" sound in jest, making Wendy laugh, even though she has felt uneasy in the spooky, old Colorado hotel.

The next scene is a shot of Jack's typewriter. And the sound of a tennis ball being thrown against a wall. Jack is (angrily) throwing the the ball against a Navajo sand painting mural above the Colorado Lounge fireplace. 

Rob Ager, a researcher into themes in The Shining, says in his Collative Learning post “Mazes, Mirrors, Deception and Denial,” where he looks at the controversial themes of “slavery, cannibalism and genocide in The Shining, that the ball being thrown is symbolic for an axe being swung, as was the case in the  1970 murder of the Grady Twins by their father. When Danny Torrance "shines," he see the girls murdered and the axe near their bodies. As Ager notes: "The symbolic connections are undoubtedly deliberate. The murders at the Overlook represent the historical genocide of Native Americans and Jack and his alter-ego Grady represent the perpetrators of the atrocities."

Continuing, Ager writers: "Some Navajo sand paintings feature a set of twin figures symbolising Father Sky and Mother Earth, which may also be related to the twin concept in The Shining. The placement of the sand painting figures above a fireplace could even be symbolic of genocide in a sacrificial sense. Incidentally, the imaginary room 237 featured in Danny's nightmares is almost directly behind the sand painting fireplace. This further supports the them of room 237 and the Torrance apartment being one and the same. He throws a tennis ball at one and an axe at the other." 

Recall in an earlier Kubrick film, 1955's Killer's Kiss, there is a fight scene shot in a mannequin factory. An axe is utilized in the fight, almost alluding to the future use of the axe in The Shining where the hotel's ghosts replace the lifeless mannequins.

In Mork & MIndy, Mork falls in love with a mannequin - again, in Boulder, Colorado, where the Torrances live before making the move to the Overlook Hotel. That hotel is near the Continental (Great) Divide. And the subject of "the great divide" comes up again in my sync world - popping up in the form of old Oklahoma Red Dirt band The Great Divide, whose album Revolutions features a song called "Wile E. Coyote," a song about a frustrated coyote chasing the Roadrunner (just as the Roadrunner makes an appearance in The Shining). On the album cover is a "key" and "gears." I took it as a sign. Just as I did the book that was randomly given to me about The Band - Across the Great Divide. I later had this image of a black oil crossing the North American continent and being sucked up into the Rocky Mountains to a particular point - the Overlook Hotel. 

(In my forthcoming book on The Shining, I will talk about the similarities between The Shining and a 1952 radio drama Stranger in the House - set in Woodford, Vermont, syncing with a bourbon I like and the state the Torrances live in before making the move to Colorado).

Oh, and did I forget to mention that Warner Bros. represents The Flaming Lips AND gave audiences The Shining nearly 40 years ago? Back in the "She Don't Use Jelly" video, the girl reminds me of the beautiful woman in the bathtub in Room 237, who turns out to be an evil, rotting corpse. Not that the Flaming Lips intended anything sinister or gruesome in their video. The images simply sync with my Shining analysis at this point. I've collected a lot of them.

COME IN ORSON

At the moment I am on a bit of Robin Williams kick. Specifically his breakthrough role as the zany alien Mork from Ork in Mork & Mindy. The setting for the show - Boulder, Colorado - is said to have been selected by one of the show's creators because his niece attended the University of Colorado at the time. But what is also interesting is that Robin Williams was also briefly considered for the role of Jack Torrance in The Shining. Just as exterior/stock shots of Mork and Mindy (Williams and Pam Dawber) were shot in Boulder, so was a shot of the Kensington Apartments in Boulder (I visited both that apartment complex and 1619 Pine Street, the house used in the exterior shot of Mindy's place in Boulder) syncing with the ... egg!

Yes, how does Mork arrive on Earth - outside Boulder, Colorado? In an egg.

In the opening credits, he throws an egg into the air and it hits the counter, cracking open and spilling the contents on the counter. This goes back to, well, a post I wrote in the spring of 2014 (when the whole Native headdress controversy involving the Lips came about) titled "Back to the egg."

In the post, I wrote about a dream I had had where I was singing a song titled "Back to the Egg" by Paul McCartney & WIngs. There is no song of that title, but a 1979 album by that band, with that name, exists. 

Speaking of albums, I had not noticed this until recently, but in The Shining, Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) is in his bed watching the news and sees the weather forecast. It notes a blizzard overtaking the Colorado Rockies. Right then, Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd) sends out a "shining" distress signal. In the corner of Dick's room you see the top half of a record album (as noted in the above, right image). It's the 1975 album Commoner's Crown by Steeleye Span, a British folk-rock group. On the album is a song called "New York Girls," an Irish sea shantey that features Kubrick-related actor/comedian Peter Sellers on ukulele. 

I suspect this was Kubrick's tip-o-the-hat to Sellers, who had appeared in both Lolita (1962) and Dr. Strangelove (1964). Also, there is the album sleeve art, by Shirtsleeves Studio, which features a crown made up entirely of tiny human bodies. It's an interesting-but-unsettling image, if you ask me. Is this further evidence of the clues Kubrick was trying to pass along in The Shining regarding European settlement of North America, where Native peoples already lived? 

Some have wondered: Is Dick Hallorann a fan of British folk-rock? Maybe. Maybe not. In the United States he is a minority, and a minority that has been abused and subjugated over centuries by the European settlers. Kubrick is a genius and knows his history. I suspect he knew people would be analyzing and studying his films for many years - long after he was gone. And we still are. Layer-upon-layer. It's amazing. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

So, what am I suggesting in all of this? Nothing specific, really, except that the sync clues are there if you are willing to pay attention and tune in. I think Americans are in denial about a lot of things done in the past and in our name. A lot of blood has been needlessly shed. This "ignorance is bliss" mentality only allows for the atrocities to continue, unabated. I do think the earlier music syncs I mentioned point to some major, catastrophic event - likely a natural disaster, as in Mount St. Helen's, which erupted just five days before The Shining was released on May 23, 1980. Something is gonna blow - and soon. No holding back, is what I am sensing.

But we can change our ways. Learn from the mistakes of the past. I simply opt to write about sync when I sense this "force" beckons me to do so. And I admit, it comes in waves.

For instance, this morning I was thinking of the city of Berlin in Germany. Tangerine Dream is from Berlin. I heard "The Metro" by the band Berlin yesterday. And the first thing I see on social media is that the David Bowie album Low is 43 years old today. I suddenly had a weird feeling about Berlin. I simply pay attention to the syncs and try to put it together is the form of a Dust Devil Dreams post. That's what it is here for. Whether or not the reader is particularly interested or cares does not matter to me. I admit I do get rather animated when I talk about synchromysticism, but I think it is merely a part of nature. A part of who we are. And as for The Shining - and all of Kubrick's films - I think we can learn a lot about ourselves and the human condition. Sadly, I am afraid many of us are simply coasting along, not really paying much attention at all. 

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK