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  • SELMA
    I just watched President Obama speak, standing in the sunshine next to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a National Civil Rights Landmark. It was, to me, one of the finest and most important speeches of his Presidency; a glorious and proud moment, and a time to reflect on what was, what is, and what is still remains to be done.

    I wish that I had been in Selma, fifty years ago, lending my voice for justice, but at the time, in 1965, I was fifteen, not yet old enough to have my drivers license, living in Tuscaloosa, an hour and a half north of Selma, Alabama. I might just as well have been 3000 miles away.


    Estimates now say there were only 300 to 500 marchers who attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River, on their way from Selma to Montgomery, the Alabama State Capitol, located about fifty miles away. There were three separate attempts made by Dr. King and the marchers (March 7, 9, and 21).

    Back in 1965, fifty years ago, there were just three TV channels (ABC, CBS, NBC). No DISH, no FIOS, no Direct TV.

    Cable TV had not even been invented yet. Of course, no TIVOs or DVRs. There was 30 minutes of local TV news, followed by 1/2 hour of national TV news to watch each day. In fact, all of the TV networks went off the air around midnight and returned early the next morning. In between you could sit in silence and watch a static test pattern. Everyone my age and older will remember this very well.

    Of course, there was no internet. There were no cellphones. No social media. No Twitter. No Facebook. No CNN. No Fox.
    It was a different time, looking back one-half a century later. – Harry


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  • HARRY’S RULES OF THE ROAD:

    HARRY’S RULES OF THE ROAD:

    1. DO NOT FRIGHTEN.
    2. LIKE WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK.
    3. DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK IS TRUE.
    4. DON’T GET FOOLED.
    5. CLEAN AS CLEAN CAN BE.
    6. HONOR EVERYONE WHO COMES IN PEACE.
    7. BE KIND AND GRATEFUL.
    8. SAFETY FIRST IS MANTRA ONE (the healthier the better).
    9. UNDERSTAND HISTORY AND FOLLOW THE NEWS.
    10. SLEEP HAPPENS WHEN SLEEP HAPPENS (no alarms).

    MORE RULES OF THE ROAD:
    1. DON’T GET FAT OR STAY THAT WAY FOREVER.
    2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
    3. BELIEVE IN SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES YOURSELF.
    4. SPEAK UP. SPEAK OUT. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
    5. DON’T JUST FOLLOW THE LEADER.
    6. WHAT YOU THINK MIGHT NOT BE RIGHT.
    7. SEE THE NIGHT SKY, SUNRISES, AND SUNSETS.
    8. FIND BEAUTY IN FLOWERS AND POWER IN TREES.
    9. LOVE YOUR CHILDREN ALL YOUR LIFE.
    10. GOOD BBQ AND CORNED BEEF HASH ARE HARD TO BEAT.

    MORE GOOD RULES:
    1. STOP FOR THE NIGHT AFTER DRIVING ALL DAY.
    2. TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR FEET. BUY N.B. 1080s.
    3. THE PRIUS IS A DAMN FINE CAR.
    4. DON’T SPEND IT ALL. (is your homepage Amazon.com?).
    5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK.
    6. DON’T SMOKE.
    7. EASY ON THE MAYONAISSE.
    8. JOHN PRINE IS SHAKESPEARE’S COUSIN.
    9. IF YOU AIN’T HUNTING FOR FOOD, DON’T BE HUNTING AT ALL.
    10. NYLON TRICOT SLEEPWEAR IS A POOR MAN’S SILK PAJAMAS.


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  • Doug Ashford. – R.I.P.

    daProducing a FolkTree concert at Carnegie Hall. The FolkTree Team, circa 1989 (well, part of it, anyway). L-R, Richard “Gidge” Villeaux, Doug Ashford, Kristin Kunhardt, and Harry Lipson.
    —————————————————————————

    On the 26th of February, 2015, Doug Ashford (2nd from L) passed away after a quietly courageous battle with cancer. Doug was a friend and colleague, and a fount of musical knowledge. I never knew anyone with a better cd collection. And Doug knew every record, every track. He absorbed the liner notes.
    It was music that connected Doug, not just to me, but to a lot of his friends.
    With a passion for live music, If there was a good show in the vicinity, you’d probably find him there in the crowd. If there was an interesting festival across The Pond, or in some far flung outpost, you might very well find Doug there, as well. He made these musical pilgrimages to be present when alchemy connected everyone and everything through the incredible power of song.
    Intelligent, organized (his event calendar was the best such resource in New England), and kindhearted – are some of the things that come to mind as I remember Doug. When the grieving is over, we will have fond memories of all the good times we shared. – Harry


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  • High Heels?

    Tell me that high heels aren’t Big Fashion’s war on feet and ankles.
    If it is just image that you are bringing to the party, perhaps vanity is driving Miss Daisy.

    Notably, orthopedic surgeons overwhelmingly agree. You aren’t doing yourself any favors, and wearing them indicates that you are a slave to fashion’s demands at the expense of you own comfort.

    It is not a secret that some are wearing spiked heels because of height insecurities. Point is, it is quite ok to be whatever height you are. What is the first thing you do when you get home? You kick off the heels. Right?

    While they undeniably make you taller, you don’t need them to be perceived in whatever way you want to be seen.
    It is time to say no to those stilettos. And men who wear elevator shoes because they want to be a few inches taller than they really are; well, not to blow your cover, but you aren’t fooling many people.

    Body image has become such a big deal. Thin, fat, tall, short. We pay a lot of attention and money in pursuit of popularity and self confidence. Psychiatrists couches are filled with worriers.

    I’m not a shrink. I am not a fashion plate or a guru offering the latest and greatest, whatever that may be. Note to the liberals out there: Think of all the cows that will be saved if they aren’t bred, raised, and slaughtered for their hides that get strenuously processed to turn them into your next pair of polished leather high heels. Think of the money to be saved. Think of the extra closet space you’ll have by liberating your under-represented toes.

    You can be fashionable all you want, but high heels look, to me, like someone is trying too hard. – Harry



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  • DANICA

    I am a racing/motorsports aficionado.

    Be it Formula One, Indycar, NASCAR. TUDOR United, Rolex, LeMans- I follow them all. I will get up early and I will go to bed late, watching races from Australia, to the streets of Monte Carlo (The Principality), from Motegi, or Abu Dhabi, to the high banks of Talladega.

    For more than forty years I been following the men who put the pedal to the metal, and for the past ten years, I have been following Danica Patrick, as well.

    In Indycar Danica had a rain-shortened win and three poles.
    In NASCAR’s Nationwide, Xfinity series, she earned a pole.
    In NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Danica has one pole (a Daytona 500), but she has neither won, nor finished in the top 3 in any race.

    Tomorrow, Danica lines up on the 10th row of the grid, for the 2015 Daytona 500. Like always, it’s a big deal.

    I am here to tell you that Danica Patrick is a gutsy driver who gives as good as she gets. She belongs.

    Some, however, think otherwise, including some of the very same drivers she rubs fenders with in NASCAR every week.
    To make matters worse, Richard Petty, the aging NASCAR legend, doesn’t hide his misogynistic disdain for all things Danica.

    On the other hand, the legendary Darrell Waltrip has not been shy in defending her. And DW is, of course, a mensch.

    If you go through the history of women who have raced in the upper echelons of motorsports, there are pioneers such as Lyn St. James and Janet Guthrie who paved the way. There were quite a few others, like Denise McCluggage, wo raced over the decades, going all the way back to the 1920s.

    These days, Katherine Legge pilots the experimental and semi-competitive DeltaWing in the Tudor United racing series, Jennifer Jo Cobb races in NASCAR’s Truck series, while Susie Wolff is slated to see track time with Williams, in F1, this season.

    Still, Danica stands out among them. For one thing, she is photogenic and chooses to market herself, or be exploited (depending on your viewpoint), as an object of desire and attention. She has gotten pretty rich being pretty.

    I think that Danica Patrick is among the best “interviews” in all of sports. Answering questions directly and usually unfiltered, you can tell that she is a hard-nosed competitor who wants to win every time she straps in.

    There are rumors floating out that Danica will be headed to Formula One in 2016 with Carl Haas’ Racing. If and when she goes, I’ll be cheering her on, as always.
    – Harry


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  • David Carr: 1956-2015. Media columnist at The New York Times

    carr I am extremely sad to hear that David Carr passed away tonight at age 58, dying while at work, shortly after moderating a New York Times podcast. This tragic news comes on the heels of Bob Simon, of CBS, dying when his limo crashed in Manhattan 24 hours ago.

    Great losses both. And all this within the same week that Brian Williams is banished, for good reasons, from NBC’s Nightly News and then the announcement that John Stewart, resident genius of the Daily Show, will be walking away later this year, ending an incomparable 17 year run which had an influence beyond easy measurement on our culture and society. 

    Now more than ever, we, the public, need fearless reporters/newspapermen/TV anchors who aren’t afraid to find the unvarnished Truth and give us informed analysis on politics, politicians, breaking news, as well as the latest information regarding health, energy, business, and technology.

    We need intrepid reportage that can be found on battlefields, and in far flung outposts. We need the news, good or bad; determined and explained by those we come to trust in media, in print, on the web, or on TV.

    Farewell to Bob and David. So long Brian. Thank you, John.
    It has been a terrible week.

    -photo of David Carr courtesy of Chester Higgins/The New York Times.


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  • Brian Williams

    I stand in modest defense of Brian Williams.

    I am not eager to hop on the bloodsport bandwagon’s career destroying “gotcha-ness” of the Vox Populi.  A feeding frenzy has surrounded Brian Williams and the damage is likely irreparable.  In Brian’s case his “misremembering” and exaggerations have been self-destructive, so the scorn and ridicule are well earned, so it seems.

    Brian, projecting a likable guy-next-door casualness, now tenuously holds on to a very shaky seat as the longest serving of the three network news anchors, where he is also the Managing Editor of the Nightly News on NBC.  He is on a “self imposed” short break from the Nightly News, to which he likely will never return.

    Nonetheless, through momentous occasions, Brian Williams has been a steadying and comforting presence.   I don’t know whether he merits, or will be thrown a lifeline, a second chance, a get out of jail free card.  But I think we will be missing him long after the tarring and feathering ceases.

    We are no longer a society that forgivingly appreciates the better qualities of a lifetime of work and competency.  Brian Williams screwed up.  We caught him.  Now all that is left to do is decide whether he will be thrown overboard to the sharks, or tossed off the mountain from an unsurvivable height.   We, the Circus Maximus, are pointing  thumbs down.

    There is joy in Mudville tonight.  Another man done gone.  Perhaps we would be better, and better served, by having a humbled Brian Williams sitting at the anchor desk, rather than starting again with the next one up.  Whether it is Savannah Guthrie or Lester Holt, or Jerry Springer, we might look ourselves in the mirror and study the reflection.

    Harry Lipson,  2-8-2015


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  • P1030194

  • FINAL GAMEDAY THOUGHTS

    I am pumped up for the Super Bowl. So come ON New England! On the other hand, I am a little deflated about you know what. Tom Brady may have made the first mistake in his life. We’ll have to see.
    I will always love the Patriots, Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick. Winners, Winner, Winner. I grew up with Bear Bryant so when I say that Belichick is the real deal, you can take that to the bank.
    I am not apologizing for Deflategate but I will wait for the NFL head office to let us know what happened and what didn’t. If they broke rules, then they will be penalized pretty harshly.
    Nonetheless, I wear Red, White, and Blue and I am a Pats Fan – last century, this century, next century. Let’s Gronk this thing.


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  • A Super Bowl Ramble

    P1030194I live in Boston.   Like Tammy Wynette said, I am standing by my man.   I am standing by Tom Brady and The New England Patriots.   Now, would I rather be cheering a football team that all of you admire and respect?   You betcha.   Am I a tad bothered by some of the things we’ve been accused of doing?  Yes.

    On the eve of the Super Bowl here are my thoughts. First, what I know is that the New England Patriots are the winningest NFL team in the 21st Century.

    On “SpyGate”: – The Pats were caught taping the sideline signals being relayed by the hand signals and gesticulations of our opponent’s assistant coaches.  This was in 2007, in the first week of the football season.  In our defense, I will say three things.
    1.  We did this.   2.  We did not hide the fact that we were taping them since it was done in plain sight.  3.  Many other teams were also doing exactly the same thing. That doesn’t make it right, but we had a lot of company, we got caught.  

    The practice of taping opponents sideline signals was shut down after that first week of that season. New England went on to win it’s next 17 games, and were 18-0, undefeated, and played in the Super Bowl.  We did that without spying on anyone for those final 17 games, and we won them all.  Should we have been taping and did it really make much, if any, difference?   The answer to both is No. It was small potatoes, no big deal in actual fact. But, for that we were labeled “cheaters.”  That was SpyGate.

    Fast forward 8 years and here we are in the Super Bowl, and it was determined that our footballs were a bit low on air pressure in a game we played against Indianapolis two weeks ago.   I don’t know what happened but here is my guess.   It has been 15 years since Tom Brady became our quarterback.   Way back when, I suspect that Tom Terrific told some equipment manager who prepared his game day footballs, that he preferred footballs that weren’t over-inflated (FYI, Aaron Rogers of the Green Bay Packers has said he liked them on the over-inflated side).   Tom liked the football a little under-inflated. That was his preference and that was all very legal.  League rules allow for footballs to be legal and in regulation if they have between 14.5 and 12.5 psi (pounds per square inch).  

    Nonetheless, I can’t justify or entirely explain how some of, or most of, the Patriot game footballs were up to 2psi off, when checked during halftime.  None of our opponents footballs were off when they too were simultaneously checked.  Our amazing coach, Bill Belichick, says that atmospheric conditions could have caused this. As the rules allow, each team brings their own game balls that are prepared ahead of time to the liking of the quarterback.   This is legal and all teams do it.  Depending on whether a game is going to be played in rain/snow or in dry conditions, each time provides either 12 or 24 balls to the referee several hours before every game.  It was a rainy game so each team in this case supplied 24 footballs to the refs, who supposedly inflated all the footballs to the legal preference of the two opposing quarterbacks.   We don’t know yet what the psi of Andrew Luck’s footballs were.   The legal range was anywhere between 14.5 and 12.5.   Let’s say he preferred 14.5psi.   If, at the half, his footballs, when checked again by the officials, was say 12.5psi, they were legal still, but they had already lost 2psi.   Now if Tom Brady’s footballs started out at 12.5 and they too lost 2psi, then they were at 10.5 and were therefore underinflated and no longer legal.   Still and all, both teams footballs would have lost the same 2psi.   There is a tape, apparently, that shows a ball boy retrieving the Patriot game football and then disappearing for 90 seconds in a bathroom, before taking the footballs out on the field. Could the footballs have been tampered with right then? Maybe. This is DeflateGate.

    Belichick has said, as has Tom Brady, that nothing illegal was done by us to the game footballs.  Belichick went further and said that he, personally, had little interest in and was unaware of football psi and Brady’s personal preferences.   I believe Belichick on this.   He had many other, more important, things to worry about. I believe him.   He may be cranky and have a dry sense of humor.  He may not suffer fools gladly.  But he is at the top of his profession and to some extent, lives in a fishbowl during football season.   He and Tom Brady are the two most recognized and famous people, outside of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, in all of New England.

    As for Tom Brady, who has had a squeaky clean image for his entire career, I believe Tom, but I also think that the equipment managers knew and were aware of how Tom liked his game day footballs.   Sticky, not sticky.  The breaking in of footballs is apparently a multi-day process that every team, every quarterback goes through and ends up with footballs that are handpicked by each QB.  All perfectly legal. Every team every quarterback does this.   I don’t think that Tom was always reminding the equipment guys how he wanted the game balls prepared.   Over the years, they became familiar with his preference and proceeded accordingly. Maybe his preferences changed over the decade and a half he had been playing. Maybe finger strength lessens as you age. I don’t know.   So somewhere along the line, what Tom liked was understood by the equipment managers and they always set things up on the lower end, say 12.5psi, of the scale, all perfectly within the rules. I believe Tom chose his 12 or 24 game day footballs by throwing each of them and finding some he liked and others he didn’t.   That is what every QB does.

    So I stand by Tom Brady.   I stand by Bill Belichick.  As a result of all of this, Belichick has said that in the future, we will overinflate our game day footballs to the maximum legal limit of 14.5psi, so that if the footballs naturallly deflate a couple of pounds that they will still remain legal. I also stand by Robert Kraft.   It may not surprise you that I also stand by my New England Patriots.   Was some air let out of the footballs by some equipment guy?   Could be.  We await the NFL’s final jugdement when the investigation in Deflategate is finished. Finally, I have never known a more friendly, goodhearted, well-spoken athlete than Tom Brady.   I have seen him interviewed a few hundred times. He wears the white hat.  He is a good guy.   He remains my guy.

    I know that many of you will root against New England because of perceived notions about our coach and about our quarterback.   I wish that were otherwise. – Harry


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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Here’s To A Wonderful 2012 !!!

I want to wish you, my readers, the happiest and healthiest in 2012.  May those dreams you wish for,  come true, and be everything you always imagined.  May those dreams you keep to yourself add interest and meaning to your life.  May you find things working out in your favor.  If I could grant wishes, I would like you to all find satisfaction and contentment in the new year.  Laughing and crying make us better people.

Be brave. Be courageous.  Be forgiving.  First and foremost, of yourself.  Show kindness and patience to those closest to you.

Kick up your heels once in a while.   The writer Tom Robbins said, in  Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, that “taking small excursions when invited out of the blue, is God’s way of having angels ask you to dance.” (I paraphrase)

Let’s worry less.   My wish, my resolution, my hope is that we will be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.  I look back asking for forgiveness.  I look forward with guarded optimism asking for all good things.  I hope the world finally recognizes your genius and mine.  I hope we rise to all occasions and notice when angels are inviting us to dance.  Happy New Year everyone.     HL

Boston Convention Center

The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

“Sing Sing With A Swing” by Benny Goodman

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One of the greatest big band jazz tunes is Benny Goodman doing one of his signature instrumentals, a variation of the great “Sing, Sing, Sing,” here is Benny and the Band doing “Sing, Sing, With A Swing” which is today’s HarryShots Song of the Day.  Enjoy.  HL

December Morn

December Morn

Sugar Maples

Sugar Maples

“Pachelbel Canon” by The Canadian Brass

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Today’s post Christmas, HarryShots Song of the Day is The Canadian Brass performing “Pachelbel Canon in D.”  Enjoy.  HL

 

Light on the Lake

Light on Water

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas to All

Mark E.

I found a name in the obits that jumped out at me last week.  It took me back to my freshman year in college at the University of Alabama where I was a new freshman pledge in a fraternity.

Long story, short; I was hazed, nearly every day, for the duration of my freshman year in college.  Mark E. was the Hazer in Chief.  There was Animal House-ish hazing, but plenty worse than that.  Mark E. liked to get in my face and shout, up close and personal.  He played the part of the drill sergeant in the movie that was my life back when I was a freshman pledge.  I was warned repeatedly that If I touched him once, I would be blackballed.  He  got a kick out of downgrading me in front of everyone.  The hazing was both verbal and physical.  I duckwalked the halls of my frat house on a regular basis, to his amusement, and that of others (at age 55, I had two total knee replacements).  I was paddled, hard, on occasions.  There were the usual push-ups.  They got pretty imaginative.   I provided entertainment to a few upperclass assholes.  Most of my pledge brothers were hazed in a slightly amusing, once-in-a-while way.  Not me, I got the full metal jacket hazing.  This “Brother” (upperclassman), Mark E. was the one who died last week.  It was his name that I read in the obituaries of the Birmingham News.  It said he was 65.

With the hazing, I suppose that I could have de-pledged and quit the fraternity.  I heard that from him, and many others, all the time.  I was their whipping boy.  It was not just Mark E. who hazed me, but he was the worst.

But I stuck with it.  I kept my anger in check and dealt with it all.  No one in the fraternity ever intervened on my behalf, or stopped it from happening.  A number of upperclass Brothers privately spoke with me, some saying that I should quit for my own good.  They said “why take it.  Just quit.”

I never waivered, never strongly considered leaving.  Also, I never told my family.  I didn’t tell anyone.  Everyone in the fraternity saw it go on.  A handful of my pledge brothers had my back and did what they could to help me through it.   I decided that I was in for the long haul and a long haul it was.  I was humiliated on a regular basis and I could not fight back.  It was ritual hazing 1950s-1960s style.  But I endured and hung in there.  Should I have stayed, I think yes.  Would I put up with it now, not for five minutes.  But I was seventeen years old, a freshman in college, and I toughed it out.

At the end of the year, on the night of Initiation into the fraternity, every pledge was secretly voted on by the Brotherhood.  As pledges, we were in the basement and were brought upstairs, one at a time, blindfolded.  There was a widespread belief that I was going to be blackballed.  One down vote by a Brother was all it would take.   I had no idea if I would get in or not.  The Brothers had hung that over our heads all year.

I was blindfolded by two Brothers who led me up the stairs, one holding onto me under each arm.  I was marched into the Chapter Room.  Even though I was blindfolded, I could tell the lights were off or very low.  I was spoken to by the chapter president, Alan A.   He was standing right next to me, and he asked me how bad I wanted in. Then I was  jostled and there was a lot of shoving and yelling.  I heard them all yelling that if I wanted in, I had to “go through” Mark E.; literally take him on.  Someone removed the blindfold, I saw I was surrounded by all the Brothers,  and I looked around and found him.

I charged him wildly with all the pent up frustration of the whole year of hazing.  I was scared, enraged, unbelievably angry, and I really went after him.  It took a bunch of them to hold me back before I got to him.   There was a lot of cursing and shouting while they were trying to hold me down.  Finally I heard them telling me over and over that I was IN.  It took a moment for me to realize they were laughing and clapping me on the back and telling me I was a Brother and that I had made it.  They let go of me and asked me shake hands with Mark E., which I did hesitantly and reluctantly.

After my freshman year, I had a truly wonderful time in the fraternity. I knew I had earned respect for taking it and being strong through the hazing. It turned out to be a great life experience. Looking back at college, I laughed a lot, I had lots of friends. It was the time of my life. I would not trade it for anything. That was in the late 1960s, in Alabama, where the Greek fraternity system was the center of social life on our campus.  I totally related to the frat house dances in  Animal House.  I partied to a bunch of Otis Days.

So Mark E. died last week.  I never spoke to him or saw him after college.  Obviously, I never forgot him. I can’t forgive him, but I have not had malice toward him for decades.  I know who he was.  My bitterness faded away a long time ago.

Reading his obituary, I was surprised to learn he served in the Vietnam War. He apparently had no wife, kids, or close family.  The paper said his closest relative was a cousin.  They didn’t say much else other than he loved Bama athletics, Broadway shows, and horse racing.

Having outlived him and knowing that his life is over, I am not exactly sure how I feel about it all.  The best I can come up with is that I finally feel sorry for him.  Maybe that is payback enough.  HL

Nature’s Christmas Card

Nature's Christmas Card

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

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Back again with the Mormom Tabernacle Choir, except this time it is the Mormon Tabernacle Hand Bell Choir with “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” today’s HarryShots Song of the HoliDay.  Enjoy.  HL

The Promise

The Promise

“Suo Gan” by John Williams, from the movie soundtrack of Empire of the Sun

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Click here to download the mp3 of Suo Gan, by John Williams, from the sountrack of Empire of the Sun, via Amazon.com

The greatest living composer, John Williams, adapted “Suo Gan” for the sountrack to the Spielberg movie, Empire of the Sun.  There are many versions of Suo Gan.  To my ear, none rival or compare to this moving version of this incredible song.  I give it my highest recommendation and it is today’s Harry Shots Song of the HoliDays.  Enjoy.  HL

Autumn in Massachusetts

Autumn in Massachusetts

Christmas Medley by Placido Domingo

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Placido Domingo at his very best, pours himself into this Medley of Christmas Carols.  Included in this song are Joy to the World, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Good King Wencelas, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and the 1st Noel.  Enjoy the Christmas Medley as today’s HarryShots Song of the Day.  HL

 

The End of the War in Iraq/ Now What Next?

American combat troops crossed into Kuwait last night, and the War in Iraq officially came to an end.   I am profoundly struck by the quiet, “ho-hum” nature of this news.

The Iraq War was among our nation’s longest.  The cost was incredibly high.  Far too high in lives lost, lives destroyed, and in “treasure” as they say.  Lies, and the aggression of the Bush 43 administration, including George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney boldly and with malice aforethought, deceived the American people and the world, in taking us to war.

The War, and the manner in which we entered into it, was Topic One for years in the American dialogue.  Our leaving last night barely seemed to be noticed.  No agate type headlines, no breaking news bulletins interrupting our football games, and TV re-runs.

Most of the “democracy we established” in Iraq will largely evaporate.  Iran will fill the void.  Bombings and regular acts of terror in Iraq will become commonplace.  Kurds will try to reassert their independence.

We are working/hoping for regime change in Iran.  Israel and/or a Western Coalition/United States will, at some point in the short term, strategically bomb numerous Iranian nuclear facilities.  It will ignite the region in anti-Israeli/anti -American fervor.  It may lead to another Arab-Israeli war.  At the very least, Israel will come under withering criticism, rocket attacks, and acts of terror.  The Arab “street” will erupt in bitterness toward Israel and the U.S.

The War in Iraq was a great failure.  The next chapter will be far more important in determining meaningful long term peace in the entire Middle East and beyond.

True peace, honest self governance, equality, safety, security, and the chance of a decent life are goals to which most in the Middle East aspire.  Someday Peace will come.  That is a very long way from where we are as 2012 begins.

Nevertheless, tonight the War in Iraq officially ends and that, for damn sure, is very good news.     HL

 

 

Sky Flyer

Sky Flyer

“Last Month of the Year” by the Tarbox Ramblers

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The Tarbox Ramblers originally came out of the Cambridge, MA music scene.  They have a raw hard blues sound which is fairly primitive and harkens back to Otha Turner, but as a bues rock band, if you can imagine that.  I love their hard driven “Last Month of the Year” an old African-American church/gospel hymn.  Done here like no other, it is the HarryShots Song of the HoliDay.  Check it out.  HL

Closing for the Winter

Closing for the Winter

“Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” by John Starling

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John Starling is a fine artist and his version of “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” from the album, Sugar Plums:  Holiday Tunes from Sugar Hill, is today’s HarryShots Song of the HoliDay.  Enjoy.  HL

Wind Powered Tall Ship

Wind Powered Tall Ship

“The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting by An Open Fire) by Mel Torme

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The Christmas Song” was co-written by Mel Torme, who made this his signature song.  Back in 1944, Mel wrote this with pal, Bob Wells on a scorching summer day in Southern California.  Sorry to burst your bubble.  They were trying to think “cool thoughts” and came up with the whole song in less than an hour and a half.  Not bad.

Christmas carols don’t have to be old to be great (unless you consider 1944 old, which it certainly is not).  So here is Mel Torme singing his original song which is the HarryShots Song of the HoliDay.  Enjoy.  HL

 

 

Almost Christmas at Walden Pond

Almost Christmas (at Walden Pond)

Reflecting: Walden Pond

Walden Pond

“Beautiful Star of Bethlehem by Faith, Family, and Friends

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Not sure where I ran across this group, but I’m glad to have found them.  I am unsure if they are a group in and of themselves, or a larger group effort from various musicians.  Here is a great version of the wonderful Christmas carol, “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” and it is today’s HarryShots.com Song of the HoliDay.  Check it out.  HL

Christian Science- Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy

The Brussel Sprout Kid

The Brussel Sprout Kid       (EXPLORE)

Check Out The Pilot

Wheels Up.  American Eagle out of 500 ft.  Check out the pilot.

Almost Christmas

Almost Christmas

“The Holly and The Ivy” by The New York Choral Artists

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The Holly and The Ivy” is believed to have been written and first performed in the early 1700s.  No one knows its author, but it was published in England, which makes sense because this song is of Gaelic/GBR roots.  I am told that holly and ivy were both worshipped as long ago as The Druids, which is going back a long way.

This version, today’s HarryShots Song of the HoliDay is sung by the New York Choral Artists, from their album “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  Enjoy.  HL

 

“Silver Bells” by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely

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Margaret Whiting was a very popular singer in the 1940s and 1950s.  She died this year and I pay homage to her by making her version of “Silver Bells” our HarryShots Song of the Day.  Interestingly, Margaret’s father was a well known songwriter (“Hooray for Hollywood”) and she was performing for Johnny Mercer at the age of 7.

Silver Bells” was first heard at the movies.  Bob Hope sang it on the big screen.  Bing Crosby was the first to record “Silver Bells” and it is now a Christmas classic.  Enjoy  HL

Mr. and Mrs. Jack O. Lantern

Mr. and Mrs. Jack O. Lantern

Roanoke Road

Roanoke Road

“Sleigh Ride” by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops

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Well it becomes the Christmas Holidays when Arthur Fiedler is on the old turntable leading his beloved Boston Pops in Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”  Anderson, a Cambridge native, and Maestro Fiedler had a special working relationship over the years, and it was many a Leroy Anderson piece that debuted with the Boston Pops.

Sleigh Ride” is a great picker upper and crowd pleaser, and it is today’s HarryShots Song of the Holidays.  Enjoy.  HL

Tough to Tackle

Tough to Tackle

“Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” by Jerry Douglas

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Not only is this one of my favorite Holiday songs, this version is by Jerry Douglas, the finest dobro player this side of Timbuktu.  The entire album is one to cherish, and it is hard to pick one song from the record.  That being said, here is today’s HarryShots Song for the Day, Jerry Douglas and “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.”  HL

The Three Pumpkins

The Three Pumpkins

“Go Tell It On the Mountain” by Eric Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops

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Well, here we go with the first of our twenty-four Holiday Songs running from December 2 through December 25.  We are starting out with Erik Kunzel at the

baton, directing the wonderful Cinncinnati Pops that Maestro Kunzel was so instrumental (pun intented) in bringing to prominence.  One of my favorite conductors and one of America’s most energetic during his long career, I honor Erik, the Cincinnati Pops, and the great Afro-American spiritual that is “Go Tell It On theMountain,” today’s HarryShots Song of the Day.  Spread some holiday cheer, y’all.  HL

In December The HarryShots Songs of the Day Will Focus On Superb Holiday Music

For December, the HarryShots Songs of the Day will be exclusively featuring wonderful holiday music.  I have chosen my favorite songs to share with you and I hope it brightens your season.  Some of the songs are well known and popular.  You’ll here the best version of those songs.  Some of the songs are not so well known and again I will choose the good stuff, that I hope you will enjoy.

We cover a lot of musical ground here at HarryShots and the holiday music will be varied as well.  The daily song selection will come from such artists as the Morman Tabernacle Choir, Margaret Whiting, Buddy Clark, Patty Loveless, Dan Crary, John Starling, Jerry Douglas, Yo Yo Ma, Robin Petrie, Bryan Bowers,  the Philadelphia Brass, Leroy Anderson and the Boston Pops, the Harlem Parlour Musicians, Peter Rowan, John Williams, Stile Antico, The Elizabethan Singers, Celtica among others through the month of December, which will conclude with a daily variation of “Auld Lang Syne” between December 26 and New Years Day.

I hope that you will each drop by daily during December for a taste of my favorite holiday music.

Happy Holidays,

Harry

A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault“.   –  John Henry Newman

Sunlight in the Forest

Sunlight in a Forest Woods

“Love’s Old Sweet Song” by Thurl Ravencroft and The Mellomen

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“Love’s Old Sweet Song” is what my Mother sang to me as a bedtime lullaby when I was a little tyke.  I remember this song with all of the fondness and all of the nostalgia my heart can hold.  It is one of my favorites for purely sentimental reasons.  “Love’s Old Sweet Song” was probably the first song I ever heard for obvious reasons.

Today would have been my Mom’s 91st birthday.  Sadly, she passed away in 1971.  So this one is for you, Mom.  Happy Birthday.  Today’s HarryShots Song of the Day is “Love’s Old Sweet Song” sung barbarshop quartet style by The Mellomen with Thurl Ravencroft.  Oh my.  HL


The Quotes of "Whatever"

  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and it looks like work.” – Thomas Edison

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein




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  • sonny

    shines2

    If you don’t know the blues… there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing

    rock and roll or any other form of popular music” —-
    Keith Richards

    …from The HarryShots.com Quotes of Whatever

    .


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  • HAPHappiness depends more on how life strikes you than on what happens” – Andy Rooney

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  • There are three types of people in this world. Those who can count, and those who can’t.

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” – Les Brown




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  • Well done is better than well said” – Benjamin Franklin

     

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – General George Patton




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  • What Is A Pickle?

    This crossed my mind as they say:

    What is a pickle but a cucumber that’s been fucked with” – Harry Lipson III - harryShots.com


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  • When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us” – Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone

     

     

     

    the HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • marshorI’ve chosen to treat my life more like a party than something to stress about” - Martin Short

     

    The HarryShots.com Quote of the Day


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  • It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden




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  • Diplomacy is the art of letting someone have your way.” – Daniele Vare




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  • The fundamental cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • Only in darkness are you able to see the stars” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • We don’t have to sacrifice a strong environment for a healthy economy.” – Dennis Weaver




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  • There is nothing more annoying than two people talking while you’re trying to interrupt

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  -  Harriet Tubman




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  • Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss, famous philosopher




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  • The time is always right to do what is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




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  • Looking foolish does the spirit good. The need not to look foolish is one of youth’s many burdens; as we get older we are exempted from more and more.” – John Updike




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  • Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.” – Francis Bacon




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  • lumaAn eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind” - Mahatma Gandhi

     

     

    …from the harryShots.com “Quotes of Whatever”


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  • A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault“. – John Henry Newman




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  • No coach has ever won a game by what he knows; it’s what his players know that counts” – Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant




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  • Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible” – The Dalai Lama

     

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of WhAtEvEr


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  • As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” – George Washington




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  • When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states” – Will Rogers

     

    The HarryShots.com Quotes of Whatever


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  • I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.” – Joan Rivers




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  • Isn’t having a smoking section in a restaurant sorta like having a peeing section in a pool?” - anonymous




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  • I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it.” — General Robert E. Lee




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  • If you are going through hell, keep going.” - Winston Churchill

     

     

    The HarryShots Quotes of Whatever


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  • My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me” - Coach Jim Valvano

     

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  • Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers / Mr. Rogers




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  • Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ― Marthe Troly-Curtin




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  • A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” –
    George Bernard Shaw




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  • I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three.” – Elaine Boosler




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  • The Past may not be your fault, but the Future is your responsibility alone” – Gene Cruz




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  • Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” – Satchel Paige




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  • gggNo one has ever drowned themselves in sweat” – Coach Lou Holtz

     

    The HarryShots.com Quotes


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  • For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.” – Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi hunter




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  • bbhMost American children suffer too much mother and too little father” – Gloria Steinem

     

    The HarryShots.com Quotes of Wha (whatever)


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  • Just saying ‘no’ prevents teenage pregnancy the way ‘Have a nice day’ cures chronic depression.” – Faye Wattleton

     

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  • Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition.Marilyn Monroe




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  • Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem.” ― Woody Allen




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  • It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it“. – Coach Lou Holtz




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  • Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.” – W. C. Fields




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  • America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way round. Human rights invented America.” - President Jimmy Carter




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  • The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.” – Eudora Welty




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  • The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his chest.” – Roseanne Barr




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