Author Archives: George

About George

I'm pretty much just like you…different time zone maybe but aged within the last century and trying to keep the crazies from using up all the chocolate. Because really, where would we all be without chocolate.

Three Thoughts About Music

I was a pretty big star when I was 12 or 13 years old but I never like to talk about it.

Lead singer to a pretty popular group.

The reason I keep it to myself is because no one knew about it but me. You see, I’ve always loved all kinds of music. Well, almost all kinds. Gangsta rap never really appealed to me. Too violent.
Anyway, I used to visit record stores several times a week and had a pretty good collection of 45’s. Used to play them all the time. Even today, fifty years later, I can sing those songs word for word even though I can’t tell you what I had for breakfast yesterday.

When I put those records on and stood in front of my bedroom mirror with a brush in my hand I was THE MAN. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t/can’t carry a tune or sing a lick. What was happening in my mind and imagination was much bigger. 

You should have been there. I was a sight to see.

Second thought..

I always though DJ”s had a pretty cool job when I was younger. I realize now it was a tough life but back then they were the voices that connected me to music and I hung on their words. So naturally, guess who wanted to be a DJ? When I was 17 or 18 I bugged my father enough times about it that he took me to this local broadcasting school that was giving free auditions to see if you had talent. I didn’t know it at the time but it was just a ploy to get you to into the building and register for their courses. My father understood but he never let on and indulged my dream.
I got to sit in a sound booth and read from scripted sheets introducing products and making small talk. The coolest part was actually introducing a song called Games People Play by Joe South. If I remember right it won a Grammy for Song of the Year back in 68 or 69. After it was over, they let me listen to my “audition.” They told me I had potential but they were just feeding the itch. Besides, there was still high school to finish. Still, it was an experience I never forgot.

Games People Play is a protest song. I know…shocking for the 60’s. But its words still resonate today. Hatred, hypocrisy, discrimination. It’s all there. Almost fifty years later and it’s still with us.

 

Finally…

I was listening to a station on Sirius radio and the DJ was talking to someone who called in and said he was from South Detroit. So the DJ naturally mentioned the song Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. When the caller said he never heard the song or knew of the group, the Dj was floored. He kept asking him over and over again if he was mistaken and even played a clip of the song which mentions South Detroit to see if he would recognize it, but he didn’t. I don’t know who was more surprised, the DJ or me. I thought everyone knew that song.
I was standing on a line at Epcot several years ago and the song came on. One person started singing the lyrics out loud and within seconds everyone on line was singing. Pretty cool moment.
It was also my youngest daughter’s first dance song at her wedding. It’s a classic and this guy never heard of it or the group, Journey.

So as a public service to anyone out there who hasn’t heard the song and Steve Perry’s incredible rock voice, here’s one of my all time favorite songs. Enjoy!

Random Thoughts

I know I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks, but summer is like that for me. My mind tends to go on vacation because it’s not being paid enough to stay and play. Still, I’ve been thinking and reading about things during those times where I force my brain to function and I thought I’d share them with you before I forget what I was planning on writing, which seems to happen with some frequency these days. I know most of you can relate.

So here it goes…

People Watching

While I’ve always enjoyed people watching, (and sometimes eavesdropping), trying to figure out       who these people are, what they’re doing and what kind of relationship they’re in; I’ve found that it’s infinitely more enjoyable to people watch when you’re having ice cream. The whole experience gets taken up several notches and because ice cream is such a pleasant experience I tend not to be as harsh in my assessments even when big doses of harsh are warranted.
That being said, I sometimes shake my head at how scary crazy some of these people are and when I see them walk away and get into the driver’s seat of a car I seriously consider giving up my car or moving to a place where horses or golf carts with a max speed of 15 MPH are the only form of transportation.

Easy A’s

I read recently that nearly half of this country’s 2016 graduating class are A students even though their average SAT scores fell from 1026 to 1002. However, grade inflation is not only on the rise in high schools. Apparently the most popular grade in colleges nationwide is an A. In fact, close to 50% of all college grades given are A’s, very different from two decades ago when the average GPA at a four-year college was 3.11.
I wonder what happens when these young people enter the work force and realize they have to work much harder to keep their jobs then they did to maintain their grades. The system is not doing them any favors.

Value

I also read recently that a Dad’s value in 2017 has risen to $26,125, a 28% increase from six years ago when it was $20, 415.
Of course before you men out there get a little puffy in the chest as you sometimes do, take note that a mothers value totaled a record $67, 619.
Interesting how the most important job a person can have is recognized and analyzed and calculated but not paid out. The work force, however, has very different standards and values associated with a woman’s unequal worth to men.
The inequities are shameful.

Whisper

During one of people watching moments, I sat and listened at a parent yelling at their children for not doing something they were told to do. The children did not seem at all fazed by this public outburst and I was reminded of something I heard a while back. Don’t yell at your children. Get real close to them and whisper. It’s much scarier.
Why parents don’t follow that simple rule is beyond me. But i don’t really mind. It makes people watching much more enjoyable.

Tipping

I always tip fairly. Whenever we go out to eat I almost never tip less than 20%, sometimes more.  You’d have to drop a meal in my lap and a bowl of soup on my head to give you less and even then, I’d feel bad short-changing  someone. Having been a server before, I understand how tough a job it is.
But it seems everywhere I go now there is a tip jar on the counter. People want tips for simply taking my money, giving me change or a piece of paper to sign a credit card slip. What’s they all about? I can’t get a loaf of bread at the bakery with a tip jar staring at me. I used to feel guilty if I didn’t put something in, now I tend not to notice them anymore. I keep waiting to find a jar at the doctor’s office or a bank. I might lose it then.

Education?

Finally, (no cheering please), there is a school district in Texas that approved by a 6-0 vote to allow corporal punishment by way of a paddle when students misbehaves at school. Of course parents have to opt in or out of the policy at the beginning of the school year. In addition to Texas, seven other states allow for corporal punishment, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
I don’t think I need to comment on this item. The information speaks for itself. You are free to form your own opinions and comment as you like.

Well, that just about wore me out. I think I’ll go get my beauty rest and try to recover with an ice cream cone.

See you soon!

 

Arrogance And Politicians

Instead of enjoying and celebrating our country’s independence in New Jersey this weekend, we were instead reminded of how arrogant, insensitive, uncaring, two-faced, and self-centered politicians can be. I have other words in mind but choose not to use them here.

It seems our governor decided to shut down the government this weekend because he hasn’t been able to get some revisions he wanted on a health bill. This is a typical Chris Christie move. He doesn’t get what he wants so he bullies people and tries to intimidate them. It’s what he’s done to teachers and other union members for the last eight years. If there’s anyone alive who had any doubt he was behind Bridgegate then you must be a member of his immediate family, though I’m not sure they have much use for him either.

Of course shutting down the government means that all state parks would be closed during this long holiday weekend. One of those state parks is Island Beach State Park where families go to enjoy the beach. Since it was closed, families had to find other, more expensive alternatives if they wanted to visit the beach.

But wait, not all families were inconvenienced. It seems the state provides the governor access to a home on Island Beach State Park. Of course the home comes with access to the park and beach. So guess who decided to bring their family to the beach this weekend, sit on the sand and smile at the cameras?

                       You guessed it. There’s our governor and his family in all his self-centered arrogance, sunning himself on an empty beach, while taxpayers were not allowed in.

When asked about it his response was, “That’s the way it goes. Run for governor and you can have the residence.”

I’m convinced the word scum was created for people like him.

Happy Fourth of July!!!

It Shouldn’t Be That Difficult

Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.
Robert Fulghum

It doesn’t surprise me that this quote would come from someone who wrote a book called, All I Really Need To Know I learned In Kindergarten. Because children really learn, very early in life, the foundation of what should be most important to the rest of their lives.

Like all parents, I’m sure we made our share of mistakes. Parenting is a learn as you go experience so you do the best you can in situations you never imagined. Some moments require patience and understanding while some are simply common sense. Or should be.

For me, the Fulghum quote falls into the common sense category. It’s just so obvious that it’s painful to watch when it happens, and it happens much too often.

Most parents are big on discipline. They make sure their children say please and thank you. They try and teach them to be independent and they want them to respect their authority. They may punish them for disobeying their directives or not doing well in school. The list goes on.

But Fulghum takes parenting to another level of responsibility that parents sometimes ignore. The impact their own words and actions have on their children.

Are you teaching them what should be most important in their lives or satisfying your own desires because you’re unwilling or too lazy to do what’s right?

Is your language in front of your children what it should be? Children hear everything, even when you think they’re not listening.

Do you show the proper respect to others and ask that they do the same, explaining instead of ignoring or dismissing? Respect comes in many forms. Your lack of discipline should not become theirs. Continued excuses are unacceptable.

Are your prejudices on display in full view of your children? They notice and will react accordingly.

Do you attempt to influence their thoughts and actions instead of allowing them to try and make up their own minds?

Do you allow life to lead them or attempt to lead them through life without consideration for their own thoughts and interests.

Children hear what you say from the back seat of the car, from their rooms, during meals, while you think they’re preoccupied, while you’re on the phone or at the park speaking to your friends. They hear you at games, after games, during school functions and in every situation where your body language speaks louder than your words.

The absorb everything.

They recognize at a very early age what you think is most important and will follow accordingly. In many ways they will pattern their lives based on the influences your show them and the importance you place on certain things, and once it’s ingrained in their DNA, it’s hard to change. Next month or next year is too late.

Then one day they become a little older and you may not like what you see or hear. Discipline becomes a little harder until it’s not possible and then they’re on their own. A reflection of your words and actions.

Common sense stuff, right?

One would think so.

 

 

Life Transitions

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected
Robert Frost

We never really notice them, until we do.

We move through the early years of our lives almost seamlessly, understanding the changes that occur but viewing them as nothing more than another transition. Some are more dramatic than others, even life altering, at times. But we move on, knowing there is something up ahead, another phase in our lives. A transition from childhood to adulthood. For some it may include marriage and children. For others a career, a new business, a divorce, health issues, grandchildren, travel and even loss.

But while we’re young, or younger, there is always tomorrow. There is a confidence of tomorrow that is somewhat tempered as we age. We don’t live in fear because that type of life is not really living. We just understand the reality of life. I’m more aware of my mortality at 65 than I was at 35. That’s not morbid, it just is.

It’s the reality many people refuse to speak about. People think about it but can’t seem to verbalize their feelings. Even if they did, no one would want to hear it.

I was watching a baseball game the other day with my grandson and we were talking about this young player who is in his early 20’s. And it occurred to me that this player might have a career that lasts twenty years. It also occurred to me, though I hope to live a long healthy life, that I may not be around to see the end of his career. That’s not morbid, that a reality I never thought about before. I’ve watched sports my whole life and that single thought has never crossed my mind.

I’ve transitioned from from my youth to adulthood. I married, have raised a family and have been blessed to see my children begin their own families. I was fortunate to have a good career and I’m now retired. I’ve transitioned once again but I understand that what’s behind me is very different than what’s in front of me.

That being said, I know that I will never be any younger than I am today. In many ways, I am living the youth years of the rest of my life. I don’t know if that makes sense to everyone but it does to me. It has to. Because there is much more to see, much more to do. My mind understands the number and how many trips I’ve had around the sun but it continues to rage against the machine.

I don’t know where the next transition will take me, I only know my eyes are always open.

Just know that if I become famous in my still unknown second career, I will remember everyone who hits the like button on my posts.

 

 

 

 

Because Smiles Are Fun

The Department of the Navy was assigning females to quarters in a separate, private, OFF LIMITS area on all aircraft carriers.

Addressing all ship personnel at Pearl Harbor, the Commanding Officer advised, “The female sleeping quarters will be out-of-bounds for all males. Anybody caught braking this rule will be fined $50.00 the first time.

He continued, “Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $150.00. Being caught a third time will cost you a fine of $500.00. Are there any questions?”

At this point, a Marine Gunnery Sergeant, from security detail assigned to the ship, stood up in the crowd and inquired: “How much for a season pass?”

Have a smiley week!

 

Remembering

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, January 10, 1946

We sometimes have a tendency to glamorize war in books and movies. Those who have been there understand it’s much worse than anything that’s been filmed or written. It never captures the brutality or long-lasting consequences.

Last fall I had an opportunity to visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. When we were planning a trip to NC/Va, I came across this town and wondered why The D-Day Memorial would be placed in a small farming town of a little over six thousand people in Central Virginia. In 1940, just before World War II, Bedford numbered less than four thousand residents.

During the Battle of D-Day, Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, were among the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches of Normandy. Nineteen boys from rural Bedford were killed in the first few minutes of landing. Another three boys were killed shortly after. In all, 22 young men from Bedford lost their lives, giving this small community the distinction of having the highest number of casualties, per capita, of anywhere in the country.

           

The story of this town and those that were lost is told in a book titled, The Bedford Boys. In many ways, the town of Bedford died on D-Day. The story of the boys that were lost, how if affected their families and the town itself is a reminder that war, though sometimes necessary, has consequences that can last for generations. It’s a book that should be read by all Americans.

Today is a day we remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and the freedoms we enjoy. Please remember them and their families.

God Bless them all.

It’s the Soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It’s the Soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech

It’s the Soldier, not the politicians,
who ensures our right to LIfe, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It’s the Soldier who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

We live in the land of the free
Only because of the brave.
God Bless Our Military
Unknown