Sunday, May 31, 2009
Striking the Chords
10:15 pm edt
I was at Best Buy today,
a store I always enjoy going to. After selecting an item to purchase, I wondered over to the musical keyboards. I own a YAMAHA
model that I purchased for almost $300 back in 1988. It was a pretty high-end at the time. It's amazing what you can
get for the same amount of money today.
I started playing some chords, rather loud at first. Realizing where I
was, I turned the volume to a much lower level and proceeded to play for about 10 minutes. I took organ lessons in the 7th
8th grade and have always played, although rather sporadically. I can read music, but my rhythm and beat were always
an issue. I treated all notes equally. Timing was not my forte. I remember my instructor trying to get that point across to
Playing in the store made me think that I should get one of these keyboards and finally devote some time to
Friday, May 29, 2009
You Can't Beat Dry Feet
1:13 am edt
Today was my weekly golf league. That
means, we play unless the course is closed due to the weather or if there is a thunderstorm. It was unseasonably cold today,
raw and a slight drizzle. Not the best day to golf, but we played anyhow.
I'm one of those guys who plays in sneakers.
Golf shoes can bother my back because of the way one is anchored in the ground when swinging. However, golf shoes are waterproof
and keep your feet dry, unlike sneakers.
After my first shot, my feet got soaked walking down the fairway. It stayed
like that for the next two hours. My shoes and socks were soaked through. The temperature was dropping. Once your feet get
cold, it's all over. Near the end of the round, I remarked to my playing partners "we need to remember this day in July
and August when we are sweltering out here".
Once I finished, I jumped into my car and turned on the heat.
I was so glad to get home and take a hot shower. I stayed in extra long to thaw out my feet. They were so wrinkled from being
I've gone to many cold weather footabll games and know the importance of keeping your feet warm and dry. Otherwise,
it's turns into an uncomfortable day. I guess I'll never change my ways on the golf course.
Several hours after
finishing the round, my shoes are laid out on the floor and just as wet. It might take a few days to dry them out.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Everyone in the Pool
12:43 am edt
The outdoor pool at my health
club opened up this past weekend. It's a little early in the year, but Memorial Day was the unofficial beginning of the summer.
I like to workout in the pool doing a form of aqua-jogging. My hamstrings were still tight from a five mile race I ran on
It was a beautiful sunny day, but the only drawback was it was 58 degrees and the water temperature
was 62. I have a wetsuit which I decided to wear. I admit it looked a little strange walking out to the pool area. There was
nobody in the water. The two life guards were trying to stay warm. When they saw me, they knew they had to pay attention.
I initially tested the water with my feet and realized that jumping in might be too traumatic. I settled for
walking down the steps into the chilling water. The initial shock was something else. Once I got going, I was able to tolerate
I stayed in for 20 minutes which was my goal. I think the life guards were happy when I got out. I've
read about the benefits of ice bath therapy on muscle tightness. I think the water really helped me out. My legs felt
better. I took a long hot shower and felt very invigorated afterwards.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
What a Store
12:12 am edt
I was at Walmart to buy a few items today.
I must say that I've always liked the store. You can find just about anything there at low prices. In one moment, I was buying
some large mailing envelopes and turned around to see a selection of various cheap wines which were across from the holiday
sparklers for the 4th of July.
That was next to the pharmacy where I got my blood pressure checked for free. It's
always a good idea to do that. You don't always have that opportunity when you are out shopping.
always greeted with open arms when they try to move into a new community. Their labor practices are somewhat suspect and they
are the biggest buyer of imported goods from China.
However, I find the store to be very interesting. It's a slice
of American culture. I just wouldn't want to work there.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Sometimes Less is Better
7:09 pm edt
Every time I do comedy, I want
a big crowd. It's very energizing. Some shows are quite small for whatever reason. I was at a charity benefit the other
night . The crowd was older and numbered about 70 in size. I thought this would be great to have so many people. I did about
10 minutes of material.
The show also consisted of a DJ, dancing and a long raffle. The comedy was a side thing.
I don't think the audience was expecting comedy. They were polite, but rather quiet for all of us. Doing comedy to an audience
like this is like going over someone's house and their eight year old kid has to play the piano for you. Comedy doesn't mix
well with other activities during the evening.
Some of my best performance have been in front of 20 people or less.
Those people want to be there and came to see comedy. ..........Oh well.............I'm always told that stage time is everything.
Never turn it down.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Don't Let Them Down
1:30 am edt
I was in Harvard Square earlier
today. I've always enjoyed listening to street musicians. Some are very talented and play great music. One guy was singing
"Don't Let Me Down," a great song by John Lennon.
The guy was playing some great acoustic guitar.
I stopped to listen and was quite impressed. His little portable amplifier gave him some decent sound. I was watching his
finger work while he played. All of a sudden, I realized he wasn't playing some of it. I looked down and he had an Ipod hooked
up. His hands were not playing those notes. What a let down.
He was good enough to play solo. He didn't have
to enhance it digitally. I'd rather see someone next to him playing than the technology miracle of the Ipod. It made me think
about what I could do with my own keyboard playing.
I Guess Nothing Really Lasts Forever
I've enjoyed watching the Tonight Show since
I was a teen. When Johnny Carson appeared for the last time in May 1992, I was so disappointed, I decided not watch the
show. I was a huge fan of his. Jay Leno has certainly done a great job. I enjoy staying up late to watch him.
12:19 am edt
night during his monologue, he made a reference to being done at the end of next week. It really struck me at that point.
Jay will resurface on his 10PM talk show. Conan O'Brien will finally get to host the Tonight Show, but it won't be the same.
Jay was never destined to have a 35 year run like Carson. Change occurs every day in some form or other. Jay's
new talk show will be an opportunity for him to do something different. Conan O'Brien has been waiting for years for his chance.
Maybe I will enjoy both shows.
I guess it comes down to a comfort level. I'm use to seeing Leno at 11:30. The present
format is going to end. I'm not sure if I'll watch his last show. It does prove one thing: nothing really lasts
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Two Lives in Different Directions
I watched two interesting shows on the lives
of two celebrities: Farrah Fawcett and Steve-O. Farrah's documentary was a poignant story of her two year battle with
cancer. MTV produced a show on the struggle of Steve-O to beat his drug addictions.
10:51 am edt
Farrah is such a brave person
who faces incredible odds. Her situation is very grave right now. Steve-O is a funny and entertaining guy who has made a lot
of poor decisions and seems to have a self-destructive personality because of his substance abuse.
sure how their stories will end, but Steve-O has more control of over what happens to his life.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
11:28 am edt
I've never outgrown my love of comic
strips and have many favorites over the years, It all started with the Sunday paper back in the 1960's. Most
of those strips don't even exist any more.
I was never into the superheroes. I enjoyed ones such as Hi
& Lois, Bringing Up Father, Beetle Bailey and The Katzenjammer Kids.
In the last 20 years, we have seen the popularity
of the single panel strip, popularized by such icons as The Far Side and Bliss. It's unfortunate
that The Far Side is no longer a daily, but Bliss is really insightful.
My two favorite multi-panel
strips are Zippy and Dilbert. They continue to amaze me at their degree of creativity. I also get a
kick out of Family Circus which is often parodied by Zippy.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
More Than One Degree of Separation
Last night, I attended the Boston Alternative
Comedy Festival as a patron. I saw some really good acts there. I've been doing comedy for over five years. The comics
I saw did a 7-9 minute set like I usually do and write their own stuff as I do.
9:51 pm edt
I think what separates us
is the development of their material as well as delivery. Both facets were outstanding. It certainly made me realize
that I have a lot of work to do to raise the level of my performance.
Friday, May 8, 2009
A Kindle in the Wind?
First, I must say that I find
the current troubles of the Boston Globe to be an area of concern. Like most newspapers, they are facing a decline
in revenue due to their free on-line availabilty. In an effort to stay alive, the Globe has increased its daily
price to $1.50 and the Sunday edition to $4.50. This is a hard pill to swallow. Its not about the money, but the principle.
In the last six months, the price of the paper has doubled. I love the Globe and will pay the price increase reluctantly.
9:20 am edt
Now I'm faced with an interesting decision. The Kindle2 is for sale on Amazon. It's a
portable elctronic reader, the size of a hardcover book. It allows the user to download, books, magazines and newspapers for
a subscription rate and read them whenever. It costs about $450.
If I continue to buy the Globe at its current
price, I could pay for it within a year. Kindle charges $120 for a Globe subscription. It's a challenging option.
The problem is that you can only buy this thing on Amazon. I don't like to buy stuff with out seeing it. I'm concerned
about the screen resolution and text size. I need to see one of these.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Why do we listen to them?
It's always prudent to listen to the weather
forecast. I never believe in the five day ones. That's too far into the future for me. Last night, it certainly appeared
that it would rain again this afternoon. That's what "they" said.
7:53 pm edt
I was planning to play golf
at 3pm and there was a very gray sky overhead. I made sure to put my umbrella in my golf bag and made a conscious decision
not to take my sunglasses. Why would I need them? I was hoping to finish my round without getting soaked.
we teed off, it looked like it would rain. About 20 minutes later, the sun started to break through the clouds. It remained
that way throughout the round. I was now carrying an umbrella I didn't need and was squinting because of the sun. I wish
I had packed my sunglasses. Why did I listen to "them"?
As I write this a ouple of hours later, I can
hear a rumble of thunder in the distance. It's pouring out right now. I guess "they" were right after all. I'm
not complaining. In fact, it was another poor decision on my part not to take my sunglasses. I should trust my own judgement.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
He Waited His Whole Life for This Moment
There are a lot of interesting stories that
are part of the Kentucky Derby which was held earlier today. One of them involved Tom McCarthy, age 75, the owner and trainer
of General Quarters.
11:33 pm edt
McCarthy is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and has owned race horses since 1955.
He spent his entire working career as a teacher and principle in the Louisville school system, retiring in 1991.
He has a love for race horses and always owned and trained one. He is a one man operation, with help from his two sons,
doing his own training, grooming and whatever needed to be done to care for the horse. It was his dream to have a Derby entry
at some point in his life.
A few weeks ago, General Quarters won a qualifying race and secured a
spot in the Derby. A highly emotional McCarthy fulfilled his lifetime dream as he walked in the ceremonial parade with
this horse and the others from the paddock to the starting gate.
Running out of the 12th post position, General
Quarters was not a factor and finished 13th in a 19 horse field. After waiting his entire life, the race did not work
out as planned, but perhaps for McCarthy it did in its own way. A dream was fulfilled.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Don't Try This With YOUR Teeth
I was jogging this morning around Kenoza Lake in Haverhill where I live. I've run there for many years
on the dirt trails that surround the city's drinking water. One can see various forms of wild life including stupids acts
11:35 am edt
There has been an erosion problem along the shoreline over the last several years which has been neglected.
In one stretch I saw several trees that had toppled over and were not lying in the lake. The trees all has trunks about four
inches in diameter. Upon closer examination, it was obvious that they had been fallen by the steady chewing and gnawing
of the local beaver population.
It's amzing that these little critters can knock down a tree just by chewing
on it. Not only do they possess strong and sharp teeth, they also have a tremendous focus and dedication to the
task at thand.
Maybe we can all learn something from them. Just don't open bottles with your teeth!