Tag Archives: Music

Remembering

Remembrance Day July 15 2045

A man about 70 years old is sitting in a backyard chatting with his eight year old granddaughter as their family is preparing for other family members to arrive.

Grandpa, did we celebrate Remembrance Day when you were my age?

No, not when I was your age. I was closer to your mom and dad’s age. This day has only been a national holiday for a little over twenty years, w,ell before you were born.

Mom and Dad say we get together because of a bad virus that spread all over the world and we remember so we don’t forget. Why do we want to remember a virus that got lots of people sick?

Well, it’s not so much the virus we remember but those who were most affected by it. We remember the people who didn’t get better and the people who helped us get through that time.

You mean like doctors and nurses?

Yes, like doctors and nurses but so many more who risked their own health so that others would remain safe. People like first responders, police officers, firefighters, and those in the military. There were so many.

They’re always the heroes, right?

Yes, they are, but there were many other people who put their own health at risk so the rest of us could live our lives safely at home. Before that time, we never gave much thought to truck drivers or people who worked in food stores as heroes, but those drivers transported food to the stores, even though it was risky. And the people who worked at those stores showed up everyday so that the rest of us were able to purchase food.
Teachers made sure their students continued to learn, people who worked in pharmacies made sure people continued to get their medicine,  restaurants stayed open so that some people could order food if they couldn’t get to the grocery stores. Maintenance people made sure the hospitals stayed clean and those who worked in banks kept coming in so people could get money if they needed it. I’ve probably not mentioned nearly as many heroes as there were during that time.

So that’s what today is about?

Partly, yes. We want to remember all those who lost someone and we want to give thanks to those who helped us get through that period of time.  We don’t ever want to forget any of them.

Do all countries celebrate this day?

Well, a few other countries remember this pandemic in their own way, but they don’t call it Remembrance Day since that name means something different for other countries.

Mom and Dad said things changed after the virus. Did they change a lot?

For many, yes. Others just went back to the same routine and the life they lived before this happened.

What kind of things changed?

Well, you know we lost our way of life for a while; our freedom to go where we wanted when we wanted. To see and hug  the people we love the most. You really don’t know how much you miss something until it’s been taken away from you. Then you realize you miss it even more than you could have imagined.
People used to live very busy lives. Many families never had dinner together, were pulled in different directions and missed family celebrations or birthdays, because of commitments they thought were important.

People really missed birthday parties and celebrations?

Sadly, yes. But a strange thing happened after this was over. Some people came to understand what was really important in life. That you can’t get some days back. There’s only one of them and when you miss it, it’s gone forever. Just like people. Unfortunately, some people learned that the hard way.

So people changed?

Like I said ,some did. But not all. You see, during that time you really couldn’t go anywhere and families were forced to spend a lot of time together. So instead of rushing around with other commitments, they went for walks, played games, ate together, talked a lot more, went for bike rides, read books, watched movies, cooked meals together and just hung out. They had time to make time for each other. Sometimes they got on each others nerves, but when it was over and they were able to do the things they did before, some realized they would miss what they had during the time they were forced to stay home. They decided they wanted more of their down time and less of the craziness they had before. So they changed the way they lived their lives. They made compromises and adjustments so they could have the best of both worlds. They realized it was easy to do if they just focused on what was most important to them.
But like I said, not everyone felt them same way.

Did our family change?

Eventually yes, but it took a little time, which was probably true of most people.

Mom and Dad said people who used to work in offices had to go in everyday. That must have been weird for kids. I couldn’t imagine not having mom or dad home almost everyday.

Well, it wasn’t weird before the virus. In fact, that was pretty standard. But two things happened. People realized they could work just as efficiently from home and be able to spend more time with their families. And companies realized if they allowed that to happen without it affecting their business their employees would be happier and they could cut down on the amount of office space they needed and save some money on rent in the process. So there was a compromise of sorts. Some people began working in the office one to three days a week on rotating shifts. Not all jobs could do that, of course, but quite a bit more than people realized just a few months earlier.

So the virus wasn’t all bad?

Well, for some it was terrible. Many people lost family members and some nurses and doctors had a tough time healing after what they experienced. But people also became kinder to one another. If you went for a walk during that time, people who were strangers would wave to you and ask if everyone was okay. If someone needed help, they received it. People sang, and danced, told jokes, made crazy videos and raised money for those who were less fortunate and needed support.
So to answer your question,  there was some good that came out of something that was bad.

That happens a lot doesn’t it.

Yes, that happens a lot, if we pay attention and just look hard enough.

For several minutes, the little girl said nothing, looking past the people who started to arrive. Finally, she asked her grandfather if he thought  a virus like that could ever happen again.

He hesitated before answering, putting his arm around her and holding her close.

It’s possible, I suppose, though we’re much better prepared in case it ever happens again. But if that period of time taught us anything, it was to live in the moment and not worry so much about tomorrow. And our moment is coming through the door as we speak. Your cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents are all here. How about we go remember and celebrate this day with them.

The little girl looked up at her grandfather and smiled.  I think I’m going to give them all big hugs so they know how much I love them.

The grandfather pulled the little girl close, hugged her tightly and whispered softly in her ear.

I think that’s a great idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Up With Language

I’m not sure if you plan to watch the Grammy’s tonight. After never missing them for years, I’ve only stopped in the last couple of years. It’s become a little bizarre for me and I hate to admit it but I don’t recognize many of the performers, plus much of the music sounds the same. I know that makes me sound old and I can hear the voice of my parents when I write these words but it is what it is.

Anyway, if anyone decides to watch it, I thought I’d provide a list of slang words kids are using these days along with their meaning. Sort of a cheat sheet for those of us in the out of touch crowd. It might help you enjoy the show a little more. Or not. (Apparently the days of OMG and LOL are long gone). Even if you don’t watch the show, it’s something you might use to impress your kids or grandkids, though you ‘ll probably embarrass them when you use the words. You know how that goes.

Anyway, here we go….

Bad

Bad means good, actually better than good. It’s often a reference to someones appearance.

Bet

Bet is used when you’re in agreement with something. If someone makes plans and you say “bet” that means you’re confirming said plan. Apparently the days of a simple ok isn’t clear enough.

Don’t Trip 

It simply means not to worry or stress about something. Easy one, right?

Fam

No, not your family, but close. It’s used to describe people in your life who you’re close with, good friends or homies, but not your family.

Flewed

You hear this when someone is bragging about getting “flewed out.” It means someone “bad” got flown out to a place. The difference between flown and flewed is that the latter applies to “bad” (really attractive) people. (See how we’re bundling this up?)

Get A Bag

A bag refers to money, so to get a bag means you’re acquiring money. ( I wonder where that phrase developed its origin). Must have missed that Breaking Bad episode.

No Cap

Basically it means no lie. When someone adds “no cap” to a sentence it means they’re not lying. Conversely, “cappin means lying. So when someone says, “why you cappin,” they’re asking why someone is lying.

OKurr

This is a word made popular by Cardi B, and if you don’t know who she is, it’s probably best if you don’t watch the Grammy’s. It basically means that someone is being put in their place.

Out Of Pocket

To be out-of-pocket or to say something out-of-pocket means that something is disorderly. If you say something “out-of-pocket,’ it means your comment was out of control.

Shade

You probably have heard this one. To throw shade at someone means to make an underhanded or critical remark about someone else.

Sis

Sis can be used in multiple ways. If someone asks you what happened and you respond with “sis,” it means a whole lot of drama went sown and there’s a whole lot more to the story. However, it can also be used as a term of endearment toward a friend. I guess it’s all a matter of context.

Stan

Stan is not just a fan, but a super obsessed fan.

Tea

There are multiple ways you can have your tea. You can sip it or spill it. If you’re “sipping your tea,” it means you’re minding your own business, basically side-eyeing the situation but keeping it moving. If you’re “spilling your tea,” or “having tea,” that means you have some gossip you’re ready to share.

Thirsty

Yeah, no it doesn’t mean that. Thirsty is used to describe desperation.

Weak

When someone thinks something is funny, hilarious or entertaining, they might say, “I’m weak.”

Woke

Being “woke” means to be socially conscious and aware of social injustice.

So I was going to try to be creative and combine a few of these words into sentence but apparently that’s not something one should do. Apparently too much of a good thing is not a good thing according to the users of these creative words.

So since I’m a bit thirsty and it’s cold outside I’ll just go sip some tea.

Then again, saying something like that to the wrong person might get me in big trouble. Maybe I’ll just take a nap instead. I hope that doesn’t have a sinister meaning.

Enjoy the show. You’re welcome.

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!

Death And Sales

You probably thought the only sure things in life were death and taxes, didn’t you. Well, we can throw one more thing into the pot roast of life’s guaranties.

Death and sales. I don’t remember the last time it wasn’t a sure thing.

Chuck Berry died last weekend. A rock and roll pioneer without question; he was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and influenced generations of artists.  But Chuck’s last hit record was back in the early 70’s and he had been averaging 39 album sales prior to his death.

But then he died and his record sales increased 11,684 percent. Really.

Now this is not unusual. The same thing has happened following the death of other musicians and I’m having a difficult time understanding the mentality. Then again, the human mind is difficult to figure out on a good day.
But really, what compels people to buy an artists music after they die when they had no interest in doing so before they died? The music has been out there for decades, readily available. Why are they enough of a fan now to buy their music, but not before? Chuck’s songs have been around since the fifties. They’ve been all over the radio, movies, television, etc, forever. If people liked these songs before, why did they wait until he died to download them? It’s the same song. Sung by the same artist. But they like it better today? Are they afraid it’s going to somehow disappear or that Apple will go out of business? Do people sit around and wait for the evening news to decide what they should download that night based on the obituary reports? Does the music somehow sound better after someone dies? It all sounds a little macabre to me.

In some ways, this same phenomena happens in food stores the day before a snowstorm. People rush out to stock up on essentials because the roads may be snow-covered for maybe a day. Maybe. I always feel like they’re expecting Armageddon to arrive and bread will be have to be bartered with a laptop.

I wonder if all my blog posts will suddenly be in monetary demand when I’m no longer around. Maybe I should fake my demise, stay away for a couple of years and reap the financial rewards after I decide to return from my self-imposed disappearance. Sort of like an Eddie and the Cruisers thing.

Okay, I think might be getting a little carried away.

 

The Art Of Simplicity

“Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.”
 John Kabat-Zinn

I was watching the Grammy Awards the other evening and aside from the fact that it seemed to be a requirement that all women wear an outfit that was cut open from neck to naval, the ceremony was pretty much as it has been for many years now; part talent, part extravagance and part freak show.

But what caught my attention the most was how simple it is for real talent to be expressed. If you possess the gift of a pure voice, you can captivate an audience without thirty-two dancers, extravagant costumes, pyrotechnics, gimmicks or relying on the shock factor.

If you can sing, people will stop and pay attention. It’s that simple. Everything else either detracts from the talent or attempts to cover up a lack of talent.

Then I thought about how that same principle applies to our lives. As Confucius once said, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

I think age sometimes allows us to understand that concept more clearly. Because at its core,  life really is simple. it’s our individual choices, decisions, influences, words and attitudes that complicate things. We just can’t seem to get out of our own way, even when someone hands us the directions.

We are infatuated with the accumulation of stuff. The brilliant mind of George Carlin did entire routines on this very subject. We laughed because we understood he was talking about us and yet we were incapable of stopping.
We think and over think. We accumulate and store. We find the easiest path and decide there must be a better one. We look out the window and want that color grass. We strive to achieve without considering the cost. We find peace in the simple beauty of a sunset on a quiet beach and decide it would look better if there were thirty-two dancers performing in extravagant costumes on a party boat just off the shore line.

Somewhere, Thoreau is dying a thousand deaths.

The most amazing moments we have all experienced in life; the ones that stay with us forever, are never planned and usually the most simple.

We each have a voice and a song to sing. How we choose to live that song, is entirely up to us.

Meet The Beatles

“We were driving through Colorado, we had the radio on and eight of the top ten songs were Beatles songs.,, I Want To Hold Your Hand, all the early ones. They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. I knew they were pointing in the direction of where music had to go.”
Bob Dylan

For most people, there is no middle ground with these four guys. Either you like their music or you don’t. Not many people are indifferent. Regardless of what you feel about them or their music, it’s impossible to ignore the impact they had on the music industry, and in many ways, the world.

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February 7, 2017 will  mark the 53rd anniversary of their first visit to America, where they broke all kinds of television records when they appeared on Ed Sullivan. But before we get to that appearance, here are some facts about them that many people outside the music industry probably don’t know.

They were the first band to have a record sell a million copies before it’s release. (Can’t Buy Me Love, 1964)

They were the first band to play in a stadium.

The first group to have its drummer sit higher than the band.

The first rock band to designate one of its members as lead guitarist. (George, 1962)

The first band to combine rock with classical music. (Yesterday, 1965)

The first band to create a song that faded out and then in again. (Strawberry Fields Forever, 1967)

The first band to create an album of all original songs. (A Hard Day’s Night, 1964)

The first band to create an album of more than ten songs. (Please Please Me, 1962)

The first band to print the song lyrics inside the album. (Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)

The first rock group to use a harmonica in a song. (Love Me Do, 1962)

The first rock group to use a sitar. (Norwegian Wood, 1965)

The first popular band to use electric keyboards and synthesizers in some of its songs.

The first recording artists to use sound effects in their songs.

The first band to combine an early form of reggae called ska with rock and roll. (I Saw her Standing There, 1962)

The first band to create an album in which one song runs into another.

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When they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show soon after their arrival, this country was in a state of hysteria. Incredibly, seventy-three million people watched television that evening, which was the largest TV audience for an entertainment program, ever. The show was watched in more than twenty-three million homes. Remember, this was 1964.
While the program was being aired, much of the nation came to a standstill. It was near impossible to get a bus or taxi anywhere. Even more interesting was that between 8:00-9:00 pm that Sunday night, crime rates in many American cities fell to an all time low.

In 1965 when the Beatles once again toured America, they appeared at Shea Stadium in New York. Until then, the largest crowd to attend a rock concert had been twenty thousand people. More than fifty-five thousand showed up at Shea that night.

It was a different time, one that, for many reasons, may never be repeated. But on February, 1964, these four boys arrived.

imagesWhat happened next, was history.