Monday, August 3, 2020

LIST Your FAV FIVE Songs



In the past, you may have seen my favorite 100 Songs, Second 100, Third 100, and I'm currently working on a Fourth 100 song playlist. Now doing a list of 100 of your 'fav' songs I found to be a bit of a challenge. My friend Paul Hobbs, found it to be harder than he first realized, as he has just completed his TOP 100 (on Spotify) which I've linked here for you to check out. (By the way, this Hobbs fellow has extremely good taste in my opinion.)

In fact, if you spend the time to make a 'My 100 Songs' list on Spotify, I will link it in a future blog. But for now, let's do the warm up!

So I ran an idea by my wife Mary Kit the other day, and said, "What if I give my readers a ten song challenge to rank their favorite ten songs of all-time?" She didn't hesitate and said, "Make it five and you'll get more responses back." Well, I listened to that advice and when I made my own list, I found that doing a list of five songs is actually harder than a ten song list, which one's to leave out, oh not that one! Anyway, I liked the five song challenge and think you will too.

So here's how you can easily participate in LIST Your FAV FIVE Songs.
  1. Rank 1-5 your favorite songs of all-time.
  2. Name the song, and also identify the band or musician performing the song.
    (I would suggest- you write all the songs that come to mind down on paper. Then whittle it down and rank the top five.)
  3. Fill out the Google Form below, and submit. Please Submit only ONE TIME. The deadline for submittal will be Sunday, August 9th, 1pm.
  4. I will create a YouTube Playlist of your FAV FIVE Songs released from record labels that would typically have the song published on YouTube. By sending me your list, you will also agree that I will Title the playlist with your first and last name.
    (example-  Bill DeVoe's FAV FIVE Songs)
This week, I'll work on all the responses and embed all the playlists in this blog this week! In creating a playlist, I try to do two things: 1) Find a high quality audio YouTube video of a track or performance; 2) Find a video of the band performing. If I can't find a video of the band performing, I usually opt for the artist's original audio track on video from their album.

For this post, I tried to find one live or concept video for each playlist, but understand I couldn't always match my #1 requirement. I also usually hate concept videos, but you'll see several here. Speaking of concept videos, my wife's #1 song is The Boys of Summer by Don Henley. For some reason, Don keeps pulling down the original 1984 MTV video, too soon Don? Well I hope the video I found makes it to the Monday post before being pulled down. C'mon Don!

a disclaimer (of sorts) - By filling out the form, it goes directly to my Google Forms account. I will only share on this blog what you have agreed to share- Your first and last name, and the 5 songs you have listed on the Google Form. A friend jokingly asked me if this was going to William Barr's desk? I said no. I can also safely say that your submittal will not be part of Hillary's 30,000 emails. 

So, here's my- All-Time Favorite Five Songs
  1. Penny Lane, The Beatles
  2. Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
  3. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones
  4. Sweet Baby James, James Taylor
  5. Carry On, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Now it's your turn.




If for some reason, the Google Form is not showing in this blog, click on the LINK Here for the form.

I'll be looking forward to making and posting Your FAV FIVE Songs YouTube playlist soon! (I will create the playlists in the order I receive them on my end.)

You can see below that I already got a little help from my friends to get this party started so if they can do it, you can too. Thank you for reading my blogs!

Stay well and come back to this blog post to view your playlist, and as the number of fav five playlists will grow daily this week, I know you will be wanting to see everyone's list!

Doug McIntosh's FAV FIVE Songs



Mary Kit McIntosh's FAV FIVE Songs



Jeremy Ouellette's FAV FIVE Songs



Jeff McCarthy's FAV FIVE Songs



Chuck Stark's FAV FIVE Songs



Paul Hobbs' FAV FIVE Songs



Ron Zieman's FAV FIVE Songs



Shawna McIntosh's FAV FIVE Songs



Roger Demchak's FAV FIVE Songs



Bill DeVoe's FAV FIVE Songs



Ken Forman's FAV FIVE Songs



Monday, July 27, 2020

50 Years of Music • July, 1970




See resent crash lower right corner
Source - Noozhawk.com
July 1970, at 15 I'm still too young to drive, but I've got friend Gary Hill a few years older who could borrow the family station wagon and we are off to the beach or getting our kicks on Route 166. I remember going out to the towering bridge on 166 east of Santa Maria, CA where we used to walk directly underneath the bridge girders on a narrow wood  plank and single steel cable rail walkway (most likely used for maintenance work). One time, Paul Hobbs and I started on one end of the bridge and Jeff McCarthy and Gary started on the other. We raced towards the middle, gracefully passing each other on the single plank using the cable rail and then sped to the other end. The first group back up on the road were the winners. Jeff and Gary beat us handily. Just a few years later, I drove out to that same bridge to do the walk under the bridge, and I was terrified. Yes, good ol' terror can actually keep you alive!

In my research this week for albums released in July, 1970 three strong albums perked up my memory listening to these albums fifty years ago.

Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) made five albums from 1968-1970 and were one of my wife's favorite bands during that period. When Cosmo's Factory was released in July of 1970, it could have been called, John Fogerty's Hit Factory for the sheer number of hits from that album alone. CCR is often called, swamp rock even though the band was from the San Francisco Bay Area and not the south. CCR never got the 'cool' brand like other Bay area bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, or Quicksilver Messenger Service, and some rock 'n' roll critics dismissed them. But for me, CCR was pure 'three cords and the truth' that differed from the live jam groups of that era. My personal taste today reverts back to the CCR sound and think they actually hold up better fifty years later than many bands from the 60's and 70's. I often think of CCR and Booker T. and the MG's in the same breathe, simple tunes that just hook you for life. I will also say, that John Fogerty didn't write pop drivel lyrics, he covered social injustice topics and the Vietnam War like few other hit making bands of that era. A couple years ago, I got tickets to see John Fogerty in Las Vegas a day after seeing (and being a bit disappointed with) a very famous act the night before. John Fogerty made my trip and I will say, "he blew that room away."

The James Gang rides again is the second album by the band James Gang as everybody gets introduced to Joe Walsh and his mastery of electric guitar through the hit Funk #49. Listening to this album after so many years, I was thinking maybe there are a couple more good songs here besides Funk #49. Well this album also holds up very well after fifty years, and I found several more to make the playlist this week.

1970 found the band Traffic together again after Steve Winwood had left the band in 1969 to form Blind Faith with Eric Clapton. When Clapton left Blind Faith after their first album and tour, Winwood then planned to make a solo album in 1970. After bringing in Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood to work on the solo project, he decided to scrub that and get Traffic back together again with the boys and thus, John Barleycorn Must Die was born and released in July. Listening to the entire album again was a treat, and as I have said many times in this blog, just another quality album purchased by my friend Ron Zieman and consumed by our young ears from his portable record player in his bedroom.

This week's playlist is formed by the three albums with a song from each album and then interjected with a July 1970 song by The Doors, Yes, Humble Pie, The Stooges, and Fairport Convention. Then, I finish it off with the rest of Cosmo's Factory, because I'm just diggin' CCR today!

Enjoy, and stay well my friends.



The Santa Maria Riverbed, just before you reach Route 166 heading north on the 101.

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Jayhawks new album: XOXO



The Jayhawks, an 'almost famous' band that you may or may not have heard of was formed in 1985 by the original singer-songwriter duo of Gary Louris and Mark Olson. Olson has quit the band a couple of different times, the last being in 2012.

The Jayhawks have been called alt rock, alt country, Americana, etc. I think they are simply a great rock 'n' band band and probably my current favorite band since their release of Paging Mr. Proust in 2016. Over the years, The Jayhawks have grown a nice fan base without a radio format hit to propel them to 'famous' status. That being said, they have the respect of many musicians and bands like Wilco who came later and have themselves received greater acclaim by the music establishment. Rolling Stone put it best in this recent article by Jonathan Bernstein: 35 Years Into a Career, the Jayhawks Remain Americana’s Most Underappreciated Band.

Yeah I'm a real 'johnny come lately' to follow this great band but that's part of my rock 'n' roll back story: saving my soul in the 60's and 70's, losing my way in the 80's through early 2000's, and then becoming reborn again to music upon my retirement from my day job in 2014. I started my Monday Monday Music blog in January, 2015 to explore music more deeply, and give myself a weekly writing assignment to improve my writing.

The Jayhawks are a perfect example of discovering a band that took me back to my 1960's rock 'n' roll roots, and as an enduring band, continue to evolve their music from a multitude of rock influences to create new music now into 2020. New music that in fact embodies my specific personal taste and blend of rock 'n' roll Americana, like no other band.

The latest iteration of The Jayhawks have in my opinion a perfect band makeup: a harmony of voices, a woman singer in the band, keyboards, and a four member group with a democracy in song writing spread across an album.

The Jayhawks:
Gary Louris – Vocals/Guitar
Marc Perlman - Bass 
Karen Grotberg – Vocals/Keyboards 
Tim O’Reagan – Vocals/Drums/Guitar

The new album XOXO, is literally 'hugs and kisses' to their loyal fan base. The front jacket cover art alone is made to order for Monday Monday Music. One sees a teenage girl in the early to mid-sixties listening to her favorite albums spread out on the carpet. It made me imagine as the oldest child in my family- 'what if' I had had an older sister, one who would expose me to her record collection at a very early age and show me the way...

In prepping for this blog, I got interested in Gary Louris by watching his live streaming pandemic show called, The Sh*t Show with Gary Louris (a feature of last week's blog). I started thinking, I bet Gary's sixty-five. That's ten years younger than all those great rock 'n' roll musicians born in the mid-1940's and just old enough to fully absorb Beatlemania and the British Invasion. Sure enough Gary Louris was born March 10, 1955, sixteen days older than me (and fun fact, both of us being a few months older than Bill Gates and a few days younger than Steve Jobs, boy I'm pretty small potatoes compared to these birth year classmates).

Here's a nice quote from the Joel Bernstein article about Louris- “Gary is just a consummate creator of melody,” says Jayhawks fan M.C. Taylor, who records as Hiss Golden Messenger. “His music sounds like he has spent a lifetime listening to the way melody and harmony work on our emotions, but he never sounds like he’s copying anyone.”

I'll finish here with a little more resource info on the band that you might enjoy as I leave you with both the new audio album and accompanying videos for XOXO. I recommend you listen to the audio album first, just like the old days sitting on the carpet, and before the internet video tubes and stuff. Stay well my friends!

Quick History of the Band:
The Jayhawks' "New Day": How The Americana Pioneers Overcame Decades Of Turbulence And Became Full Collaborators by Morgan Enos | Grammys

Album Review:
The Jayhawks - XOXO by Kate Papadopoulos | mxdwn

Jayhawks Official Website:
The Jayhawks Story
XOXO available for purchase

XOXO (Album audio) on Youtube -
Oh boy this is a good one. Best album of 2020, so far.
Also three bonus tracks included in my playlist!



XOXO And Recent Videos on Youtube


Monday, July 13, 2020

Live Streaming Music Shows In The Time Of Coronavirus

Before I jump into this week's theme, I want to quickly revisit a blog I did in my- In The Time Of Coronavirus series called, Outdoor Exercise In The Time of Coronavirus: Who was that Masked Man? Here's an update on the subject of mask wearing now that Trump is officially the last man on earth to wear a mask during coronavirus, and as if it's like the second coming of the baby Jesus. Geez, it's only been four+ months as my almost three year grandson even knows the phrase, "mask up". So Trump finally manned up and masked up, so how 'bout trying on the Darth Vader mask next week Donald, great photo op eh?

Meanwhile, California coronavirus numbers are spiking, but I finally do see a change happening in the beautiful exercise land of San Diego as more people are finally wearing masks, but obviously only because of this spike.

Here's my estimated observations since I wrote the blog May 11th with people exercising in my neighborhood of Tierrasanta while wearing a mask:

  • Walkers in May - 50% • July - 80% (lifetime walkers figure stuff out while walking, that's why they live the longest)
  • Runners in May - 10% • July - 20% (my peeps have let me so down)
  • Bicyclists in May - 0% • July - 1% (has the spandex just made them totally indifferent or totally stupid?)
Also, more men are wearing masks since May, including actually wearing the bandana mask instead of it just being a new cowboy fashion statement around the neck. However, the woman walker on the trail is still without a mask, still pulling her shirt up over her face and turning her back to me on the trail, and now I would completely miss it if she ever did anything different upon my arrival.

-----------------------

Now onto Live streaming music shows.

As you've probably noticed live music shows are booming on social media these days as artists and bands perform for charity, album promotion, or just connecting with fans @home during coronavirus. Most live streaming shows are over an hour, so what I tried to do this week was provide a number of different music shows to choose from (but please knock yourself out if you want to hear them all).

I love NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts and kind of landed there this week finding new 'Home' shows from 2020. Tiny Desk Concerts typically range from 14 - 20 minutes or so, and that unscripted time format is just one reason why this show is so popular on the Internet.

I have also picked some select song clips from live shows and have sprinkled them throughout including, Live From Here with Chris Thile another of my favorite shows, but sadly just cancelled due to coronavirus. During the pandemic Chris created #livefromhome, I feature several songs here.

Stay well and enjoy my friends. And hey, 'parallel worlds collide' with Ringo and my mom sharing the same birth date, July 7th. Happy Birthday mom and Ringo!

Live Stream Deli Menu 


























































Monday, July 6, 2020

Top 10 Albums • January - June • 2020



Okay, I say I'm an album guy but most of my blogs focus on individual songs. This week I'll be backing up my talk with my list of the most impressive new album releases in this first half of 2020. I'm even going to rate them 1-10 which is something I normally don't do. It is also no surprise to me that I have picked five albums by females and five by males not by design, but for the fact that women in music today make up half if not more of the great music being created today.

Making an album of typically 9-12 strong songs has always been a tall order for any artist or band. On any good album there are maybe three outstanding tracks that jump off the needle. The trick is getting the listener to come back and listen to the rest of the tracks that always seem to get better the more you do come back. After several listens, these 'deeper cuts' suck you in and the whole thing just comes together into a cohesive unit. You then tell your friends about the album. In your long-term memory, you'll even remember (sometimes fifty years later) the time and place where you shared that album with a friend.

I hope you can make the time this week to listen to one or more albums here, start to finish. Maybe there's even a new favorite to add to your collection.

Stay well and enjoy my friends.

1. Sarah Jarosz • Review: World On The GroundPurchase




2. Bob Dylan • Review: Rough And Rowdy Ways Purchase




3. Nora JonesReview: Pick Me Up Off The Floor Purchase




4. Hiam • Review: Women In Music Pt. IIIPurchase




5. Ayla Brook & The Soundmen • Review: Desolation Sounds • Purchase




6. James Elkington • Review: Ever Roving EyePurchase




7. Shelby Lynne • Review: Shelby LynnePurchase




8. Tomar & The FCs • Review: Rise Above • Purchase




9. Christian Lee Hutson • Review: BeginnersPurchase




10. Sarah Siskind • Review: Modern AppalachiaPurchase

Monday, June 29, 2020

#NewMusicMonday • June • 2020

Hampton & Papa social distancing
with strangers in the kiddie pool.
#NewMusicMonday Series • 2020

Summer's here
I'm for that
Got my rubber sandals
Got my straw hat
Got my cold beer
I'm just glad that I'm here
–James Taylor

Adaptations
So we've had a rough four months. Everybody's glad summer is finally here. My HOA pool has just reopened with 'new rules' - residents must register online to reserve a 2 hour block with limited capacity in designated social distanced squares. Most people never have anything good to say about any HOA (Hobby Opportunity for Authority), but I have to say they have done a good job trying to keep everyone safe.

A typical Pickleball setup using a tennis court
The HOA tennis courts have also just reopened right across from my house. Pickleball is back in full-swing, the game made for my generation who have either forgotten how to run or can't. I'm not poking pickleballers here, it's more about me dealing with my own body and what it used to do compared to now. I'm also lamenting about the wonderful game of tennis, with less young people playing real tennis, I just hope the original white court lines don't fade away.

Pickleball is a great social activity. Everybody is chatting it up with lots of laughter just like old times, but from my box seat view, I see no masks or social distancing. C'mon boomers, you still can be flexible, just like your pickleball wrist!

I have family driving down all the way from Seattle on several different trips this summer, finally merging our packs together. Quite a long distance travel adaptation, all the while airlines like American Airlines announced they will scrap social distancing and start booking full planes July 1.

For our visiting grandkids their parents have come up with a simple term to explain our times, No San Diego Zoo (opened last week), Legoland, or Disneyland because of the "Big Germs." :-(

It's a different summer in a turbulent year, but we are learning to do things differently and still have fun together.

Recently I wrote a blog, Outdoor Exercise In The Time Of Coronavirus: Who was that masked man? where I basically talked about the current culture war of wearing a mask. My working titles were, #ManUpMaskUp, or #MaskUpMother####ers, but opted for a little more informative heading in the end. For people walking, running or biking it's really not political, wearing a mask just has become more of a hassle and can't be bothered with, I call it, "an inconvenient truth- coronavirus edition." I see my regulars, the people that exercise around me in my neighborhood every week. Most everyone, young and old have just given up the mask outdoors. There is such irony here, people making the effort to exercise, but too damn lazy to adapt to a new simple behavior by wearing a mask that SAVES LIVES.

Breaking News- VP Pence gets pensive and decides to wear a mask to a Texas mega-church on Sunday. Better late than never... at least I hope it's not too late?  Anyway, baby steps for Trump's little bucko.

So unless you're living under a rock, you know that there is more than a little uptick in coronavirus cases across the country in the month of June. I haven't heard, "flatten the curve" since the end of May. 

However, I still hear that we are still in the 1st wave, and there is going to be a second wave sometime in the fall. I think after the past several weeks, we probably should adjust our 'waves' talk too. For Western States who has lived through enough wildfires in the last twenty years, the analogy of the coronavirus being an 'uncontained wildfire' is a much more accurate way to describe how the virus is currently surging and spreading across the country. The term, "hot spots" seems quite appropriate.

Source - New York Times
The solid burnt orange of new coronavirus cases in Southern California is disconcerting to say the least, where as Disneyland staying closed is not really our biggest problem. When the brush fires do start in the coming days ahead, maybe the masks people aren't wearing now will suddenly have a function to them. Instead of Fire and Rain, we'll call it Fire and Fire and the masks will serve a dual purpose- keeping coronavirus from going red in your town while breathing in falling ash from your local brush fire.

Hey, but on the positive side, new music keeps rolling in everyday. I can't keep up with all the broadcast and Internet services with artists and bands just putting out more live and recorded music across all the streaming services everyday. I'm glad I've made #NewMusicMonday a series because I keep finding new songs and albums being pumped out in this first half of 2020.

If you are spending the time to read this blog, you probably love music, and I will suggest, you need to be listening to music more than ever! Make the adaptation necessary in your behavior to spend 15 more minutes a day listening to music. I'm just a guy here finding and organizing what I think are good songs to listen to and if you like my playlists, cool. If not, find sources where you can hear music that moves you emotionally. I need that movement more than ever, and I'm guessing so do you.

Stay well and enjoy this playlist my friends.



References

Monday, June 22, 2020

Performing@Home In The Time of Coronavirus: Volume I

Sara Bareilles trouble-shooting
her Instagram Live broadcast
Professional performers such as actors, dancers, comedians and musicians spend a great deal of their life in auditoriums, bars, cafes, studios, theaters, and various venues on the road away from their home, family, and friends. As a fan, I miss seeing them all perform live on stage!

As you watch artists video themselves during this pandemic, they work hard to keep a brave face and carry on, but those faces are challenged, missing the audience's oxygen combined with their talent to spark magic and illuminate an amplified space.

So in our current world-wide pandemic that has us all @home more than we could have ever imagined; artists working before a large sitting audience will in fact be one of the last groups of professionals to get back to work in the world.

However, digital technology's ease of use has been a shining light during these times @home. In the past couple of years, the combination of consumer: smartphones, laptops, digital audio and video compression, conferencing apps and 5G Internet speed make this pandemic a bit more bearable... than just a bear.

Late Night with Seth Meyers, my favorite pandemic TV show shot from Seth's attic
with his 8G Band performing from their homes.
Here's a great article about Late Night with Seth Myers in Verge by Andrew Marino that shows all of us average bears how to create our very own homegrown production studio.

THE GADGETS LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS USES TO KEEP THE SHOW RUNNING FROM HOME: Consumer electronics have replaced studios during the pandemic

This past week, I searched across YouTube and found live performances of self-made videos by a wide group of performers all shot from home starting in the lockdown madness of March to now.

I start with a Sara Bareilles phone video on Instagram that was the spark for this blog (p.s. I love Sara Bareilles).

I also want to thank my friend Paul Hobbs for sending me a a video from his garage this week, a song, California written in high school (back in the Pleistocene Era) with our dear friend Paul Tognazzini.

On a side note- you'll also notice some of our famous artists have a little bit more home technology than the average bear.

Enjoy and stay well my friends!


Monday, June 15, 2020

50 Years of Music • June, 1970

This week takes us back to June, 1970 and the completion of my freshmen year in high school, and one year closer to freedom. As I started to put the June, 1970 Playlist together I realized this was a weaker month for my personal musical tastes as bands like Grand Funk Railroad, Deep Purple, and Procol Harum just never made it with me, compared to the likes of The Rolling Stones, Cream, and The Who. The later grouping set the Tier I rock benchmark and the former grouping would never rise above a Tier II level in my opinion. However, I did like Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water in 1972.

I was excited to see Bob Dylan's Self Portrait was on the June 1970 in Music Wikipedia release list as I've been listening to him lately. In 1970, I really wasn't into Dylan that much and now wanted to explore why the critics had not been kind to this album. Dylan, never one to please anyone took a sharp Americana folk turn on this one, as everyone probably wanted more of Like A Rolling Stone.

The 24 song selection of the double album is a bit of a FU by Bob to the public and critics, but if you listen carefully, there's some really nice gold to be mined here. Dylan is also greatly panned for his singing on this album, with some carry over 'country crooning' songs from his 1969 Nashville Skyline album. I actually found Bob's singing to be a highlight of the album. Listen to Copper Kettle for example, I just love it!

So this week, I have two playlists: one; a mix of songs I liked from June, 1970 and two; a selection of songs I liked from the Self Portrait album. As for Self Portrait being on YouTube, I was sorely disappointed, I could only find a couple of song's (what's up with that Bob?). So, what I decided to do is make my own 'What If' playlist if Dylan had focused on releasing a single album of Folk cover songs. I have created a duplicate Spotify or Amazon 13 song playlist for you to choose from below. Enjoy, and stay well my friends!




Doug's 'What If' of Self Portrait by Bob Dylan

On Spotify

On Amazon


Monday, June 8, 2020

My THIRD 100 Songs

My 100 Songs | My SECOND 100 Songs | My THIRD 100 Songs

If you've been following this series of now the THIRD grouping of 100 of my all-time favorite songs then you will be acutely aware of my favorite band, The Beatles.  For this third round, I actually went through every Beatle album and basically spread my favorite Beatle songs over the three current playlists. I say current, because it's not so much changing my mind, but more a shuffling of the deck of fantastic songs as I add more songs. I also said in the first list of 100 that I would not rank the songs, and I have continued that here.

The only thing that will remain a tradition as I have just started my FOURTH 100 Songs offline is that this series of playlists will start and end with Beatle songs as that is the dominate gene in my rock 'n' roll DNA.

Speaking of The Beatles, my pal Paul Hobbs turned me on to this great book, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now (Amazon link) that I'm currently reading (and I wonder what made me go through every Beatle album this past week?).  I bought a used hardcover that was in great shape, but recommend if you like reading on your back, you opt for the paperback version, because She's so heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy...

Long Live The Beatles!

My THIRD 100 Songs


Monday, June 1, 2020

Dear Mr. Fantasy...

Dear Mr. Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything, take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy
–Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood






It's February 8, 2020 and Mary Kit and I are at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. We walk into the Forum Shops which is this huge indoor complex of stores and restaurants. We have dinner reservations at Trevi. Trevi is the open Italian restaurant next to the Fountain of the Gods and we have a wonderful dinner to the sound of splashing water that almost drowns out the sound of the horde of tourists around us. We are about to see Van Morrison at his sold-out residency at the Colosseum. The ceiling is a consumer's paradise with a fanciful painted sky designed to transport you to a different place, a different time... 

COVID-19 is about to be a BIG THING, we just don't know it yet as we sit down to dinner with thousands of people around us, and then later see a wonderful concert. We come back to enjoy our hotel at the MGM Signature. The Lazy River pool is closed for winter, but we'll be back in late May to enjoy it when we come to see Sting on May 27th, and Sheryl Crow on May 28th... 

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Dear Mr. Fantasy,

It's March 15th and Mary Kit has gotten me an early birthday present, tickets to see Livingston Taylor at Humphreys Backstage Live. This is like a supper club, and we have seats up front about 10 feet from the stage. I have never seen Livingston live and looking forward to hearing songs like, Carolina Day. What a dinner, Mary Kit wants to mention the lobster bisque, and what a wonderful show! Livingston was fantastic, very engaging with the audience as you can see from the excellent footage I shot and spliced together with my iPhone...



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Dear Mr. Fantasy,

It's March 24th and Mary Kit has gotten me another early birthday present, tickets to see Joan Osborne and The Weepies at Edmonds Center For The Arts in Washington. I have never seen Joan Osborne or the opening act The Weepies, but love both and couldn't wait to see them in this intimate 700 seat theater.

The Weepies performed one of my favorite songs, Take It From Me. I must say, the theater is a stickler about shooting video, and the usher did in fact take my phone away from me, but not before I got this...



Next up was Joan Osborne who also performed one of my favorite songs of all-time, One of Us. Now since they took my phone from me, Mary Kit put her coat in her lap and shot this very steady clip from under her coat, I must say this was great camera work, what a team! We also enjoyed our trip up to Seattle and got to have a big family get together and potluck with all of Mary Kit's kids and our grandchildren. We can't wait for our next visit... 



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Dear Mr. Fantasy,

It's May 8th and we get to see The Rolling Stones in our own backyard, just 5 minutes (a stones throw) down the road from us at Qualcomm Stadium (now called CCSomethingCreditUnion). If you remember my huge lament back in October 19, 2016, where the Stones had to cancel their concert because Mick developed 'Bad Laryngitis' at Coachella a few nights before. We had just arrived from San Diego on October 18th, got into our hotel when the news come to use via our iPhones. So now we finally got to see our rock heroes because lightening couldn't possibly strike us twice, right?

We both have never seen The Rolling Stones live before and couldn't wait to hear, You Can't Always Get What You Want. Anyway, the show was absolutely phenomenal! Here's an official 2003 clip of the song live, but it really doesn't matter because all these guys look exactly the same today, well Keith may have a few more deep wrinkles now. 



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Dear Mr. Fantasy,

It's just last week, May 27-28. Yes we are back in Las Vegas where I'm writing this blog. Man the Southwest flight was packed, but we took our Airborne Fruit Gummies before we left, so I think we're good. 

First, we saw Sting at his residency at Caesar's Palace, just like Van Morrison back in February. Boy, time flies but other than the weather being warmer, everything is always the same in Lost Wages. Hey, the Lazy River was awesome and we even got those frozen rum pool drinks. My advise is not to have three and then get into fast moving water! Lesson learned.

Sting also looks the same as he did twenty years ago, maybe there really is something to that tantric thing? The show was great, but everybody was saying, Don't Stand So Close To Me, which is also a great song of his! Anyway, before the show, Sting was hanging out at one of the pools with a thousand friends, and this was a video I took on my phone as we just happened upon this cool party!



Then on May 28th, Sheryl Crow did a benefit concert for the Sands Cares INSPIRE charity at the Venetian. It was a great show and she did one of my favorites, Every Day Is A Winding Road. I was thinking about that song today as it can be appropriate for one's interpersonal life as well as for people enduring a crisis day in and day out.

Music is always at the heart of tapping at our core emotions. I love going to these live shows and experiencing an artist's music in a concert hall with an audience all together in a common spirit of joy and happiness. It would be so sad if something happened to take that all away, even if it was only for a year, could you imagine that! I know that's a weird thought, but sure makes me want to appreciate all the things like live music that we take for granted.

Sincerely yours,
Doug and Mary Kit



References

Now for all the concerts I have missed in my life, my friend Ron Zieman was telling me about the 2009 concert tour with Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton together. Ron said it was spectacular show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. That really would have been one to see, like so many others... Here's Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton performing, Dear Mr. Fantasy at the 2010 CrossRoads Guitar Festival.


Also, thanks to YouTube, the artists, and the concert goers who posted the live concert videos that I 'borrowed' for today's fantasy. Mary Kit and I hope to see all these musicians someday live in concert.

Monday, May 25, 2020

50 Years of Music • April - May, 1970

50 Years of Music Series • 1970
January - March | April - May

Howard McIntosh Sr. (top row 3rd from right) - Santa Maria High School Varsity Baseball Team 1924 or 1925
April and May of 1970 reminds me of freshmen high school baseball. I wasn't the greatest player but was fast enough to often beat out an infield hit. On the defensive side I played first base. I loved playing first base simply for the reason that the ball usually came to my glove from a variety of infield hits, almost every inning. As a freshmen, I followed the crowd and played football and baseball. In hindsight, I wish I had focused on cross-country, track, and tennis.

But, that's not why I started this blog. The picture above, hangs in my bedroom/bathroom area and I look at this picture almost everyday. If you look at my grandfather's teammates, they are wearing the uniform of the day which was probably made of wool. Now my outstanding memory at 15 of playing baseball for the Santa Maria Saints was not any special play I made, it was the very old hand-me-down uniforms they gave us to wear. I swear to God, they gave us these wool baseball uniforms that could have been just a few years removed from my grandfather's playing days. My long-term memory on this one is specifically tactile, it was the constant goddamned itching of my uniform on warm spring days! 

Now my outstanding musical memory of 9th grade was Let It Be

In 1964, I saw The Beatles first appearance on  the Ed Sullivan Show on a Sunday night after church. We were in our living room with our good friends, the Reyburn family. So my brother Steve, sister Stephanie, and the three Reyburn children (Steve, Cheryl, and Brenda) and I are were all huddled around the TV with our parents sitting behind us. As the Beatles are performing, my dad (Buddy) and Mr. (Lee) Reyburn are making fun of The Beatles and we are telling them to, "SHUSH!"

Now fast forward to the summer of 1970, and I'm on a backpacking trip in the Sierra's with Lee and son Steve, my dad, and my brother Steve, all jammed in our family Vista Cruiser station wagon. We had a fantastic week hiking and fishing, and make it back to our parked car near the old China Peak Resort. We all pile into the car exhausted, and my dad drives home. At some point on the trip back home, my dad turns on the radio and after a while the song Let It Be comes on. We all sit silently and listen to the entire song. Lee Reyburn turns around from his front seat to us kids in the back, looks at me directly and says, "That is a beautiful song and I give The Beatles a lot of credit for writing such a song." Lee Reyburn was a real nice man and I liked him very much, and on that day, I connected with him for the rest of my life. Rest in peace, Buddy and Lee.

Now the playlist this week is chock-full of wonderful albums experienced at the time, and more discovered and appreciated later.

On this Memorial Day, there are several songs in the playlist that cover aspects of soldiers and the Vietnam war. As a 15 year old, I experienced the Vietnam War through the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. In the summer of 1970, CBS aired a documentary in prime time called, The World of Charlie Company. I was glued to the TV watching an embedded film crew follow the 100+ soldiers of C (Charlie) Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in 1970 during the Vietnam War.

The unit routinely patrols the harsh, heat-filled Vietnamese jungles in War zone C near the Cambodian border west of Saigon looking for enemy contact and supplies. The soldiers are worn down on every patrol by the exhausting conditions of heat, dense foliage and biting insects. The troops express diverse opinions about fighting the war. One soldier who opposes the war says he hasn't fired his weapon, a mortar, since arriving in South Vietnam. Others talk about killing the enemy as routine. "Killing gooks don't mean nothing," says one. The medic, a pacifist, says, "Killing for peace just don't make sense." The troops talk about their lives back in the United States that they commonly refer to as "back in the world."
Wikipedia

This documentary rocked my little world! I realized I was just three to four years younger than many of the boys fighting in the jungle for their lives everyday. God bless those boys! (I have included 3 video clips of Charlie Company at the end of my playlist. The first clip, was filmed on the morning of my 15th birthday.)

Okay, I'll finish this one on a happy note. I started dating my girl friend, Mary Kit in the spring of 1973. After coming back from a first date movie, the original Bloom in Love, we sat together on a red ottoman in her family room and listened to the 1970 Mona Bone Jakon album by Cat Stevens. Our first, 'our song' was Lady D'Arbanville. The red ottoman now resides in our living room.

Enjoy this playlist, and stay well my friends!



References

Note 1 - On the McCartney album, since I did a blog on the subject a few weeks back, I decided to just add the songs I didn't feature in A 'What if' Album: Apple Scruffs • The Beatles.

Note 2 - On May 11, 1970 the triple album, Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More was released. I chose not to feature it here, as I've written about Woodstock previously and usually don't feature live or compilation albums. However, in this playlist I do sneak in several songs from The Who's Live at Leeds.

Monday, May 18, 2020

#NewMusicMonday • April-May • 2020

#NewMusicMonday Series • 2020
January-March | April-May | June

In March, I started a new and reoccurring blog series that I call #NewMusicMonday. I plan to highlight new music releases hopefully during a current one, two, or thee month stretch throughout the year. This installment is for April-May, but it's really impossible for me to find and capture on a playlist every song released at a particular month. 

So this month, you will see some of my new favs I found dating back to January that I missed in my January-March installment. I may also throw in an old song that's been recently recorded. For example, I have several #StayAtHome videos of Jimmy Fallon and James Taylor songs that I think you will enjoy. I may also throw in a song or two I haven't heard before. Paul Hobbs sent me a 2019 Keb' Mo'/Taj Mahal song plus several new releases, and I added a 2019 video from Rosie Flores who played the San Diego club circuit in the 1970's with Rosie and the Screamers, and rekindled some fond memories. 

Purchase or Stream on Amazon
For this week's playlist I have 69 songs. For me, one album stands out above the rest, James Elkington's 
Ever-Roving Eye

An epiphany… a cryptic storyteller and dazzling acoustic guitarist. – Rolling Stone 

Elkington stands apart among the wave of 21st century guitar soloists. Beautiful, complex, and assured.
– Pitchfork

Stay well my friends, music always helps.



References

Monday, May 11, 2020

Outdoor Exercise In The Time Of Coronavirus: Who was that masked man?

Holy Bat-Distancing Catwoman
Four weeks ago,
Mary Kit and I started wearing masks. Oh no not that kind... maybe you thought the former Kindergarten and Pre-School teachers had finally lost it at our #StayatHome... maybe a little too much dramatic play?

No, I'm actually talking about the handmade cloth pandemic face masks people have been crafting at home. We started wearing them while at the grocery store and noticed that several young people avoided making eye contact in the aisles and several older people looked at us with a visible look of distain.

This past week everybody had an assortment of face masks on in the store.

My favorite is the, "Ma'am I'm not robbing a bank bandana, I'm just here for the Noosa yogurt."

Three weeks ago,
Mary Kit and I started wearing our masks on our morning walk together, and me on my run in our urban neighborhood. Only the older people were wearing masks, and no runners or bicyclists had a mask on.

On May 1st,
All San Diego County residents are now required to wear a cloth face mask while out in public. On our walk now we see about 1/2 of the public are following this new requirement. Again, older folks are leading by example, not to mention the fact that many in this age group may have a compromised immune system. We have also observed more women wearing masks at about a 2:1 ratio over men.

Most annoying, is my own running and biking brother and sisters continuing NOT to mask up!
I bruise you
You bruise me
We both bruise too easily
Too easily to let it show
I love you and that's all I know

The lyrics above are from the Jimmy Webb song, All I Know (video link), a big hit for Art Garfunkel in 1973. The song came on my phone music app while on a run last week. On that run, I made a parody of that song in my head while passing mostly people without masks.
I mask for you
will you mask for me
we all mask so individually
so individually please let it show
I run on with my sweaty glow

Kit's Crafts "Go Hawks"
You don't need a TV shrink or pundit telling you to get outdoors these days. Its simple common sense, we all need to get outdoors, breathe fresh air and exercise for our mental and physical well-being, all the while social distancing.

Wearing a mask is such a drag, and that's something 100% of us can probably agree on. Now if you are a runner or bicyclist, it's beyond a drag, it's a hyperventilation mini sweatbox!

My mask in 'ready position'
If you are walking outdoors, here is what most people are practicing while wearing their mask. You wear the mask down at your chin in 'ready position.' When someone approaches you from about 25 feet away, you get your mask up and keep it up for 25 feet past you, then pull it back down to your chin. We try to stay 10-25 ft. away from everyone while walking, and will go into the street if needed to avoid people completely. People do the same with us, and we appreciate that so much. 

Now more than ever, it is important to have our social skills, and say, "Good morning" and a wave is always good, especially to the adults and kids not wearing masks.

If you're out walking or running and encounter a runner or bicyclist, you need to mask up 25 yards before they pass you and keep it on 50 yards after they have passed you . If a runner or bicyclist passes you from behind, you need to get out of their direct 'vapor trail' path and stay 50 yards behind. 

I have no statistical data to back these distances up, it's just my common sense telling me to be cautious in a pandemic and insure the 'aerosol effect' has evaporatedPublic health experts like to refer to bigger particles that are heavy and thus fall fast as “droplets,” and tiny particles that evaporate faster than they can fall as “aerosols.” When a virus is transmissible as aerosols, they say it’s “airborne”(Vox). Also, the 25 yards before guideline seems to be a good visual cue for both parties to mask up (if they have one). This has just been my personal experience.

Also, mask up when coming to a blind corner on a street of bend on the trail. People sometimes just appear out of nowhere.

I've discovered that the coronavirus is no time to attempt your PR (personal record) time on your course. Sometimes, I have to go way around people and into the street bike lane, or wait for a mom and her two little kids on the narrowest part of the trail to pass (always happens there). Memo to self- "Relax."

I would like to note that wearing a cloth mask is a little bit like the guys I see wearing those high altitude simulation training masks, you know the ones that make them look like they're in the cast of Mad Max: Fury Road. Since I've started wearing my cloth mask, it's in mask up mode longer and longer every week, and I'm slowly getting a bit faster in my up hill split times. (Update 5/18- I now wear a mask on for my entire run.) I also recommend having Altoids® with you on your run. The peppermint will cool your mouth with the mask on and I swear it has a calming effect while running.

If you are wearing glasses or sunglasses and they fog up in combo with wearing a mask, try Fog Gone, I love it!

Wearing a cloth mask while running is a bit like finding the right pair of running shoes, you have to go through a couple different models before you find the one that works for you.

Now is the mask meant to protect you, or the stranger? 

The mask is actually for the stranger. By wearing a mask you are protecting a stranger from catching this crazy virus because you don't know if you have the virus. Most all of us assume we don't. We feel fine, fine enough to get some exercise, so you may ask, "why do I need to wearing a f*#%ing mask, nobody else is?"

So a 'lil shoutout here to the exercising mask wearers! You're simply doing the right thing in trying to protect yourself and the strangers around you! What did your parents tell you, "All you can do is try." 

But please, DO NOT pull a Larry David-like scene with the people around you not wearing a mask. People don't like to be told what to do, and your little scolding is only going to backfire and cause that person to go deeper in their resistance to ever wearing a mask- for a stranger.

As a regular runner for some forty-seven years now (Mary Kit editing this, says,"nobody cares"), I thought runner's were kind of a cool breed of human. We smile and wave at each other, give each other the transcendental "good mornin" "howdy," or even a thumbs up as we pass each other.

However in recent weeks, I'm just starting to get an unspoken vibe by all the exercising walkers and dog walkers around me that maybe are thinking these joggers are just a bunch of perspiring pariahs. Here's some observations.
  • When I'm running mask up and approaching a non-masked person, there is often an uneasy look in their eye or body language.  I'm not the harmless old fart on the trail anymore. So if I'm now some aerosol can of sweat, why in Gotham City don't you have a mask on to protect yourself... especially on a popular and often narrow trail for runners?
  • A new walking woman on my regular trail route has turned her back to me while I approach her. In our previous two encounters, she was the one without the mask, so who is protecting me in this situation? Since the May 1st mask requirement, she now has a mask on which is a safer situation, for me. She still turns her back away from me, well okay. (5/18 update - She's back to not wearing a mask, turning her back and pulling up her tank top to cover her mouth.)
  • On three occasions in the past couple of weeks I've encountered a young couple walking without masks on the trail. When I get close, the guy always pulls up his t-shirt to cover his face when I go by, to I guess protect himself from the old masked running man. Am I hideous? Quasimodo? This is actually hilarious. The young woman does nothing, but I'm praying for the day she pulls her top up too! 
  • Now I've also started seeing people carry their mask in their hand on their walk, never even attempting to put it on as other walkers or runners approach them... posers. (update 5/8-Now I see a lot of people with their mask in 'ready position' but never attempt to mask up in a mask up situation.) This reminds me of the old Seinfeld skit where Jerry has a car reservation at a car rental. ("You have a mask, you just don't know how to use the mask.") Play the clip below and you'll see my point.


Below is  Seth Meyers to continue, and hit my points right on the head.



Symbol Charades
So why the weird vibe about wearing face masks while on a walk or run? On our walk there's this particular old guy without a mask, who just glares at us when we walk by, no "good morning" here.

In the past several weeks, the masks themselves have seemed to morph into a larger political game.

It's no secret that leaders model the behavior they want others to follow. Again, your parents may have told you, "Talk is cheap, it's what you do that matters."

Now unless you're living under a rock, you've seen the President or Vice President on TV make numerous public appearances at hospitals, factories or large facilities that I personally think would require face masks all around.

Leading by example? @ The Mayo Clinic w/ COVID-19 patient
So why are Trump and Pence overtly modeling to every man, women and child in America that wearing a face mask at close quarters public events is not important, in fact if you do, you're kind of a pussy. (Maybe a correlation with my 2:1 woman to man mask ratio observation earlier?)

"The decision to wear a mask in public is becoming a political statement — a moment to pick sides in a brewing culture war over containing the coronavirus. While not yet as loaded as a “Make America Great Again” hat, the mask is increasingly a visual shorthand for a debate pitting those willing to follow health officials’ guidance and cover their faces against those who feel it violates their freedom or buys into a threat they think is overblown." (NBC)

I also think it's coupled with "The Donald's" narcissism and old world political machismo bullshit where both Trump and Pence need to be SEEN as 'tough leaders' - nothing to worry about little sheep, this soon shall pass.

As ESPN would say, "C'mon man."

It's time for these two to man up! Wear the damn mask in public social distancing situations so that millions of Americans will follow your lead, and save some lives.
Mask up motherf*#%ers.

So what if I wear this mask, will that work for everyone? 

Of all the stuff I've heard about masks in this pandemic, an elderly woman being interviewed on the news said it best, "Is wearing a mask around town more uncomfortable than being on a ventilator in an ICU at the hospital?"

My Born To Run - Runner's Playlist
I've presented this before in my Team Tortoise blogs, but I've updated it again this week and think it might spark that bounce in your steps. Stay well my friends!

and, Rest in Peace Little Richard.




References
"Who was that masked man?"
The allusion to the masked man refers to the question often asked at the end of an episode of The Lone Ranger, a radio and television program featuring a vigilante cowboy, popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. 
–Library of Congress




Face Mask Resources