Stepped on a Pop-Tart?

Searching for the lost shaker of salt

On a friend’s junk somewhere in the South China Sea, Margaritaville was playing and Jimmy Buffet was singing the line: “stepped on a pop-top.” Some of the younger guys on the boat were wondering, how could anyone step on a pop-tart? Did a frosted raspberry tart fly out of the toaster?

Those kids happened to be drinking TsingTaos and the very strange coincidence was that the cans must have come from an old bottling line since they actually had pop-tops. When was the last time you wedged your finger under the aluminum ring to pry off one of those tabs – and hopefully you didn’t toss it on the ground but “put litter in its place” or did you try to crochet with them?

Well, no sooner did I explain what pop-tops were, and how we had to watch for them when walking barefoot on the beach, when a young woman limped up to us in pain with one embedded in her heel. Pop–tops may not be around much anymore but some things don’t change.

A week later, Blondie performed at a fund raising gala, but before she could sing “Call Me,” she had to explained  to the young people: “what a phone booth was.” When was the last time you saw a phone booth? This started to become a theme – it was quaint to see Sting in Macau singing “if the Russians love their children too,” long after the cold war ended and now that we’re all practically family – conversely, Rod Steward and Harry Connick Jr., singing about love seem timeless and how could the Black Eyes Peas Elephunk ever be dated. Walt Disney said “Fantasy, if it’s really convincing can’t become dated for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of time.”

Furthering an idea from an earlier post: “Some songs hold up because they remind us of yesterday, but most of these songs hold up because they still remind us of today. When we create we make references to our surroundings. The moment we mention any form of technology or current event, our work gets a large purple date stamp – does anyone besides election or immigration officials in developing nations still use rubber stamps and ink pads?

When you create, is it your intention to make a historical record? Does adding contemporary references either make obsolete or immortalize what you make? Do you sense fleeting moments and want to capture them? And are we even conscious of the choices we make of what we include in our songs, paintings, stories or what we decide to add to our photo albums?  Or what is your favorite song with lyrics that are out of date??



  1. Curtis Haymore says:

    First, I love these posts. Second, regarding pictures. I find that although old pictures of nature are nice, and I do look at them sometimes, I am drawn to study each detail of pictures of family and friends. They are the ones that instantly drag out emotions.

    In my pottery, time never really appears.

    In songs, they do bring back the time when we heard them.

    • Curtis – thanks for your comments and I’m happy that you enjoy the posts!

      Even pots made in ancient times can hold water today both figuratively and literally.Pottery really is timeless and the pieces your make are unique and beautiful. Songs really do bring back memories if the references are dated or not.

      I think many people don’t like to have their photos taken at the time, but are glad to have them years later.
      thanks again!

  2. Dave,

    Nice post, funny and though-provoking.

    In reverse, some of us of a certain age occasionally need help understanding what the younger people are writing or singing about. It took me a few weeks to ask what a “G6” is. Coincidentally, that song has a lot of references to “poppin bottles,” but those poppers would be corks.

    Julie B. recently posted..Urban Adventure- DogpatchMy Profile

  3. I was just reading something by Winston Churchill about his first retirement and he started off saying “at my advanced age of 40” Did you know he was an accomplished painter too?

    Well at my advanced age, I know what the G7 is – did they finally kick someone out?
    Julie was is a G6?

  4. This is a fun post, David! I got to thinking about all the forms of creation in my life. Of the lot, music is the most ever-green for me. But, it’s not for the reason you mentioned – evoking memories – but for the simple fact that I’m unable to decipher the lyrics to 99% of the music I’ve ever heard. This has the unintended side-effect of launching music into the realm of Fantasy (we all tend to backfill the lyrics so that they make sense to us, right?)

    After music, my poetry would be the next thing that is timeless, as I rarely add high tech terminology to them.

    Finally, board games that I create would be the most like to get the purple timestamp. Unless it’s abstract or based on words, a board game like Monopoly can become quite dated. When’s the last time you ever found free parking anywhere? LOL

    You made me smile with your question about whether someone was booted from G7. I’m almost afraid to ask about g6 – looks like two ants dancing back-to-back.


    Mitchell Allen recently posted..Colic SpiceMy Profile

    • Good insights Mitch!

      I thought I was the only one who made up my own words to songs – now I realize it has a purpose. I may be going out on a limb but I never liked music videos because they interpreted songs for me and instead I wanted to imagine my own visuals.

      So far you are winner with the best answer for the meaning of g6 – ants dancing back to back
      thanks for commenting!

  5. So true so many creations are date stamped but they still have beauty and relevance. Some survive longer then others. Neither Mozart or The Mona Lisa would be confused with the 21st century but we can still appreciate their beauty. Pop art or music do not have nearly that shelf life but they do have Satellite radio stations dedicated to Jimmy Buffet and Bruce Springsteen.

    • The style in Mozart’s concertos
      and the smile in da Vinci’s Mona Lisa
      remain to stand tall today.

      Most contemporary art collectors have the near impossible challenge to predict what will stand in the next century and the smart ones choose what they enjoy today. It’s interesting how far our pop culture diffuses – I’ve heard Jack Johnson playing on a transistor radio in Borneo and performers sing Patsy Cline in Bangalore – I don’t think Mozart or da Vinci’s work ever had that kind of reach in their own time and I wonder if pop artists today have an advantage or a disadvantage (from more competition)?

      thanks for sharing your thoughts Ken!

  6. Yikes! David, I posted a youtube video of Hotel California to my blog a few days ago and haven’t been able to get the lyrics out of my head since then. Whenever I hear it it feels ‘current’ to me… and yet, wow, how much in the past is that song!

    I’ve no idea if I time or date stamp my artwork as they are so particular to me, rather than following anyone else’s style. But I suppose that in the future, when digital art and watercolours with actual watercolour are superceded by something else, I’m sure they’ll look as dated as Middle-Ages English would sound to us.

    Everything dates after a while, everything moves on.

    This is a post I shall return to and think about some more, later. Thanks David.
    Val recently posted..Val’s NatureMy Profile

  7. “we are all just prisoners here, of our own device,” Thanks Val, now I can’t get the song out of my head either – it does really bring me back too.

    JMW Turners watercolors have dated subjects but thanks to his brilliant techniques, they still hold up 200+ years later – I’m hoping that watercolor and digital art will still be around for a while, but do you remember the computer art that was generated with dot matrix printers?- not sure that will last – and I have doubts about black and white photography. “You can check out any time you want but you can never leave.” there go the Eagles again.

    • Lol! Yep, the song’s still going through my head, too. Maybe we could infect the world with Hotel California? It shouldn’t be all that difficult…!

      Black and white photo as in monochrome film cameras will only last as long as there are film cameras available which I suspect won’t be long, but as the generations younger than us (well, younger than me, anyway) are discovering their parents’ and grandparents’ styles via digital cameras, I think that’ll continue for some while. And there are cycles to everything. I was thinking recently about how some of the hippy stuff has made a comeback (some hippies children getting a nostalgic feel for things, I think) but that maybe they don’t realise that the hippy generation took that stuff from the preraphaelites who took it from medieval art and fashions!

      What I’ve been enjoying is looking at the clothes and interiors of paintings from other times, to get a sense of the life then.
      Val recently posted..Val’s NatureMy Profile

      • Thanks again Val –
        It’s incredible that a song, just a collection of words put to music, like “Hotel California,” “Take it Easy,” or “Desperado” are in the collective conscious of so many of the earths inhabitants – and so many other songs never get out of the garage. The Eagles have achieved this many times and were doing something right even if many of us don’t know what a “flatbed ford” is anymore, we get the meaning.

        Interesting point about generations being attracted to or rebelling against what their parents appreciate – good insights and Take it Easy!

  8. This has been my favorite post and I’m thankful for all your comments!
    David Goldstein recently posted..Looking into the SunMy Profile

  9. I love this song! I can’t even take away its wonderful lyrics!

  10. Hello Again David! I am just recalling articles fro you that i already have commented. How come you are not updating new articles? I hope to see you again soon!

  11. whats funny is i was looking up what pop top meant because i love that song and im like “dafaq is a pop top?” so thank you for clarifying.