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Monday, June 28, 2021
Monday, June 21, 2021
For both female and male teenagers like myself, the interpersonal songwriting and singing let young people know it was okay to open up, and let your innermost feelings be known to others. Songwriters across the globe took notice.
I grew up in a home environment where we did not share our emotions. Joni's music was like having a D.H. Lawerence novel playing on your portable stereo in your bedroom. Joni made it possible for bone-headed teenage boys like me growing up in the 70's to begin to look beyond a woman's looks and respect their gifted minds as artists. Blue is a masterpiece.
Now in the past five years, I've read a number of rock biographies dealing with everything Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and have come to realize that these guys were such huge assholes to each other, and to a great number of people associated with their careers. All four have acknowledged as much in the past several decades and I for one, don't want to see any more two, three, or four band configuration reunion tours.
However, I can easily manage to forget all the revelations regarding Stills and just appreciate his records that take me back to a good place and time. Listening to Stephen Stills 2 the past couple of weeks still makes me appreciate his talent and music. He was at the right place and time in Los Angeles in 1966. Even though he didn't always make the best decisions, he made some really good music in the late 60's and early 70's that still holds up today.
Nyro's influence over Rundgren is displayed throughout Runt as he started to compose more songs on the piano. Listening to this album fifty years later was such a treat!
I can't help but comment in searching all the pictures for Joni and Harry for this post, the number of photos with a cigarette stuck in both of their months from such gifted voices. Of course in Harry's case, the bottle was the much bigger problem...
Nils also seemed to be at the right place and time and by 1971 recorded his first album with his band Grin. The self-titled Grin was produced by Neil Young's favorite Producer, David Briggs. Nils went on to be a steady member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band since 1984, and recently rejoined Crazy Horse after Frank "Poncho" Sampedro retired from the band in 2014.
Monday, June 14, 2021
The Covers Series:
Interpretation and the "Traditional Folk Song" • The Singer as Interpreter
Singer-Songwriters Covering Singer-Songwriters • Beatles Covers (Vol. I)
Bob Dylan Covers (Vol. I) • Joni Mitchell Covers (Vol. I)
Why we love our favorite singers is that they uniquely bring their own interpretation to a song and deliver it from their heart and soul through their vocal excellence.
Today's playlist is going to feature mostly individual singers from the 1940's - 1970's who are known for recording songs written by other people. It's a mixed bag of mostly pop ballads and songs from musicals that for me stand the test of time no matter the genre or era they were recorded.
Here's a couple of gifted vocalists to get us started with the same song.Fly Me to the Moon, originally titled "In Other Words", is a song written in 1954 by Bart Howard. It's been recorded by hundreds of famous singers but is associated most with Frank Sinatra's uptempo 4/4 version arranged by Quincy Jones and recorded with Count Basie's band by Sinatra in 1964. He starts the song with the B verse to immediately immerse the listener, or as Frank would probably say, "Man that song really swings."
- Second Hand Songs - Search for an original song's author(s), and the song's cover versions.
Monday, June 07, 2021
|Painting by Gene Ritchhart|
Losing weight is the hardest thing. During the pandemic I gained what a lot people call, "The COVID Fifteen." For me, it was actually twelve pounds of mostly home cooking and comfort carbs getting out of control.
In February of this year, I started my patented Moderate-Keto Routine (notice I didn't call it the four-letter word, DIET). This process involves simply stepping up my game from my Regular Low Carb Routine.
My Moderate-Keto Routine evolved from a couple earlier attempts in dieting using the Weight Watchers® counting calories/points method. I do give Weight Watchers credit for raising my awareness to the amount of carbohydrates I was putting into my body daily, and those carbs compared to proteins and fats. As we have all learned over the years with carb counting, carbohydrates turn to sugar, sugar turns to fat. It's one of the facts of life that doesn't get easier to face as I get older.
I'm a real foodie live-to-eat kind of guy and can easily fall off the low carb wagon, it's just that now my ability to get back on that wagon seems to fit more of good routine than a dire diet situation. Ultimately, it's about living a low carb lifestyle so that when I fall, I can easily get back up rather than follow some diet marketing scheme.
- Lesson Learned #1 - The faster I lost weight on a diet, the faster I gained it right back.
I come from a family that has the food gene. Most of us are built 4x4 stocky. From a DNA perspective, I didn't choose to be stocky, but I can choose NOT to be wider and stockier.
Once I hit my late 30's, my metabolism began slowing way down while our food culture was packing more carbs into almost every packaged food. Around 2010, I started reading the nutritional labels on the back of packaged foods, and formulated a plan.
- Lesson Learned #2 - Target and Eliminate specific high carb foods on a daily basis.
Reward yourself with those same foods on an occasional basis.
Now I'm not going to bore you with my current list of daily banned foods, but I will give you one example here that I added to my list in February of this year. If I had to pick one food category that is my caloric heroin, it would be bread. Within bread comes my favorite bread, toast and with toast comes the cherished butter and apricot jam. So now, my deadly toast habit is parked in a frozen loaf stored in my freezer, only to appear every now and then. No bread begets no butter and no jam.
Oh, and another thing that shot my weight up this past year during the pandemic, I got into making frozen blended fruit smoothies with vodka or tequila. Yeah, "F*** You COVID-19!"
Now with that being said, I needed to get back on the low carb wagon and lose some weight. Here is the most important lesson I've learned about losing weight.
- Lesson Learned #3 - LOSE ONE POUND A WEEK.
(I use a digital scale and calendar to track my progress.)
Now let's talk about Ketosis for a moment. Ketosis is a process that happens when your body doesn't have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead, it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can use for fuel.
Keto-type diets often start with a two-week carb abstinence program to get you into full-blown ketosis. These diets work on the scheme of dropping pounds instantly and giving their paying customers instant gratification. Now just like any addiction, going "cold turkey" is not recommended, and a slow gradual approach is the long game for success in the body weight game. I do not believe in punishing myself living in Full-Blown Ketosis, it's actually not mentally or physically healthy over extended periods of time.
By simply being a little more disciplined in my low carb daily eating routine, I'll typically lose a pound a week without the torture. I follow a more natural process of Moderate Ketosis over a period of weeks or months until I get down to my goal weight number. I then go back to my less regimented Regular Low Carb Routine as a lifestyle for my maintaining my weight.
I'll tell you though, moving from my low carb routine to moderate ketosis is still hard work, in fact the older I get, the harder it gets to lose weight. It can really get me down, do I just give up?
Second to what I eat, is my aerobic exercise routine. I've said this many times over the years, taking a daily walk is one of the keys to one's physical and mental health and ultimately living a long life.
- Lesson Learned #4 - Take A Walk At Least Once A Day,
and/or Run (Jog) Every Other Day
Some form of aerobic exercise is the second most important thing to do in maintaining or losing weight. The two together form my Health is a Lifestyle Routine (thank you Mark Hunter).Team Tortoise life philosophy, Slow and Steady.
- And, Lesson Learned #5 - Take Your Tunes With You
I always have some tunes on my phone to listen to on that walk or run.