by Rick Bretz
The digital, broadcast and print media reflect, daily, the worst parts of human nature.
Evil ISIS hate groups commit atrocities in the name of religion. Countries invade neighboring countries killing innocent civilians. In the United States road rage violence continues just because a mother wanted to teach her daughter the proper way to drive. With all of that in the open, I think it is time to focus on an event that has given people joy since it first sent audio waves across a room to the human ear.
On this day, February 19th, 1878, Thomas Edison received his patent for the gramophone or phonograph. Since this invention dropped its first needle on a cylinder and then a disc, musical instruments, arrangements, lyrics and the human voice have made the audience forget their problems for just a few minutes, or for a good hour if you wanted to hear the whole album, LP or song list. Producers, singers and talent have given us songs we’ll never forget.
Here are some of my favorites. These are songs, I think, have a perfect mix of lyrics, vocals and instrumental arrangements. Music and the arts in general are the best parts of civilization. Especially when being civilized is the exception rather than the norm in some parts of the world.
Let the Day Begin-The Call
Everyone should wake up and listen to this song before they do anything else. If everyone did, there would be happier people on the highways during the morning commute.
Night Train-Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee’s voice is an instrument in itself and she uses it to perfection on this song about love and moving down the line.
On the Turning Away-Pink Floyd
This is a song that simply states, stop looking away and start doing something to make the society a little better.
It Was a Very Good Year-Frank Sinatra
This song is about growing up but all you have to do is think about your experiences to connect with this song. Also, reading between the lines for this song is a fun exercise because in Sinatra’s day, a song writer had to be more subtle with words.
I Will Always Love You-Whitney Houston
Wow! Whitney Houston could sing. It’s worth listening to this song just to hear Whitney Houston hit all those notes. The words by Dolly Parton are pretty emotional also.
Interpreting Dylan’s words are always mind-benders. However, this song is perfect union with the music and lyrics. I never get tired of listening to it.
I Blinked Once-Steve Forbert
A song about growing and before you know it time has passed you by. Forbert knows how to put words together.
Games People Play-Alan Parson’s Project
Alan Parson produced a masterpiece for his “Turn of Friendly Card” album. It’s about luck, life and happiness and this song talks about it all.
This is my list of top eight great songs. You may have a list or other considered songs. If so, write a comment and let me know your opinion.
Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Hornsby, Fleetwood Mac Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, Eagles and anything by Van Morrison
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
by Rick Betz
I’ve decided to turn the tables on comedians who make jokes and one liners at the expense of Vice Presidents. Vice Presidents have a difficult job trying to make their days seem important while waiting for the chance to be at the top of the pyramid. On the surface, this list making exercise may seem easy but hold your punch lines. The selections have to be entertaining since VPs also provide entertainment to the public and the comedy circle. More than that, they have to appear as though they can take on the responsibilities of President if called upon to do so.
Here are my selections:
1. Will Farrell-If he can’t be serious, he does a good job looking serious when he needs to be. He can say stuff like, “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” Besides, the government needs more Cow Bell. If you can be an Anchorman, you can be a Vice President.
2. Lewis Black-He can point out all of exasperation, frustrations and irritations associated with the government and the tax code. He would be our voice for reason. One of his best lines, “What does the word “meteorologist” mean in English? It means “liar.”
3. Chris Rock-He would keep it real and bring as much pain as possible to the government to force them to get things done. Some of his best one liners, “I live in a neighborhood so bad that you can get shot while getting shot.” Or “We were so poor when we went to bed my daddy unplugged the clocks.”
4. Louis C.K.-Louis would be perfect for saying that outrageous statement that would take the heat off the President when he needed it. One of his best one-liners, “The meal is not over when I’m full, the meal is over when I hate myself.”
5. Ron White-All together now, “You can’t fix stupid.” I can see Ron White sitting behind the President during the State of the Union message. I wouldn’t be able to listen to a word the President would say. I would be looking at Ron White to see if he’d snuck in a bottle of Scotch. One of his best lines, “If life has given you lemons, then make lemonade and then try to find someone whose life has given them Vodka, and then have a party.”
6. Ellen DeGeneres-If she can handle hosting an awards show just after 9/11, she can handle being Vice President. One of her best lines, “I’m a Godmother. That’s a great thing to be, a Godmother. She calls me God for short, that’s cute, I taught her that.”
7. Steve Martin-You get double for your money with this one. He is a fantastic banjo player who just produced an excellent CD with Edie Brickell, titled “Love Has Come For You”. He is a terrific comedian and actor. If all of that doesn’t work, he could always bring out the old reliable “arrow through the head” routine. One of his many one liners, “Boy, those French, they have a different word for everything!”
8. Jim Breuer-He is an on-the-edge-of-your-seat story-teller. If you don’t believe me, search out his Pizza Man Story. He is also another Saturday Night Live alumnus and a Jersey guy, which score points on my rating scale.
That’s my list. You put these together with the other list (Eight People Who Should Have Been President) and you got something that could work for America. Some people say this is an exercise in futility. I prefer to look at these lists as what should have been and what might be. We can only hope. Frankly, I’m tired of amateur comedians taking up room in the executive offices, I want professionals in there.
If you have a suggestion, feel free to add your selection to the list.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.
This blog is a collection of posts that compare and contrast historical figures and events that have influenced and accelerated society to our present state. My idea is that personalities and events have certain traits that are alike that bring them to the forefront of the media and eventually into the pages of university textbooks and the scholarship community. My job in this blog will be to write interesting articles that compare two people or events of past.
History, in my opinion, is about people rather than dates. People make the difference with their actions and their personality quirks. A person with a positive or negative trait can influence how people live for many years. The choices influential people make determine how they are seen by generations. This is my goal – figuring out what makes people tick and how they fit into history’s timeline.