Fourteen years ago, my town, Boston, like all cities, small and large, came to a halt. No planes flying, no trucks or trains. We all went home and watched the news all that day and into the night. Then we did it the next day and the next and here we are fourteen years later.
It was the utter silence, in Boston on 9-11, that I remember. A city gone suddenly quiet, no delivery trucks, no cars, no planes, no trains. That silence was broken, periodically, by F-15s, Screaming Eagles with afterburners aglow, making passes over Boston.
Here we are, 14 years later to the day. I don’t think it is ever going to be the same, at least in our lifetime. That was truly a watershed moment.
Of course, we remember those who were lost and we give our thanks to all those brave first and second responders. Thanks to those who serve our country and are always vigilant. Local, State, and Federal. We are mostly a grateful nation.
Truly sad to hear that President Jimmy Carter, now 90, has liver cancer that has spread. He’s had a long life, a good life by almost every possible measure, and I wish the best for him, as I always have.
I met him twice when he was running for President and became a lifelong fan.
Over the years, I’ve had a couple of other chances to shake his hand and talk with him.
Although President Carter was a victim of bad luck regarding the hostage taking in Iran, when the US Embassy was overrun, and the Middle East oil crisis, he was, and is, a truly great person, as his post presidential life these past 35 years has shown; having been the world over, promoting fair, honest elections, primarily in Africa and both Central and South America. But he has also spent significant time wherever freedom needed his assistance. Jimmy’s efforts with Habitat For Humanity show yet another example of a life dedicated to helping others.
All the best to him. – Harry
Hard to believe how the road unwinds isn’t it. After being forced out of Drive By Truckers due to his battle with the bottle, Jason has emerged, clear eyed and strong of voice with his first new record since Southeastern.
Here is my favorite song from the album, “Hudson Commodore.”
Word is, this record debuts as #1 on Billboard‘s rock, country, and folk charts nationwide. Congratulation JI, and wow! – Harry 8-13-15.
Good Ol’ Music: James McMurtry
A couple of new albums were just released this week and I’ve been playing them all week. James McMurtry has been the real deal for a couple of decades. One of the voices of the American West with a lot of Woody Guthrie running in his inkwell.
His songs are filled with blow away lines of what you might call the near absolute truth, such as, “we gather round and hold out hope that at the end of the rope- there’s a little more rope, most times.”
This week came the release of “Complicated Game,” James McMurtry’s 14th album of his interesting recording career that began in 1989. One of his generation’s bedrock of the Americana/Alternative Country genre, James has always had a lot of Kris Kristoffersen in him, and with this record, he leads the way for middle class/ working man/blue collar/roll up your sleeves America that we live in.
There have always been a lot of pretenders in Nashville recording studios rehearsing/rehashing/ and releasing a planet of lightweight stuff that keeps Country Music keeping a lot of our hard earned money. About 90% of what comes out of Nashville is processed waste. About 65% of what comes out of Austin is too. All of them thinking they have something worth our listening to, and dreaming that they are the next big thing.
In contrast, James McMurtry has always been worth listening to and he has never tried to be the next big anything. He is not anonymous by any means, but he isn’t on the country music charts, never has been, never will be. He avoids publicity and is pretty good at it too. Most folks don’t know him, never have heard him, and well this is your wake up call.
Here are a few of my favorite McMurtry songs:
You have to start with his anthem “Choctaw Bingo” which is the best eight minutes you’ll have today if you check it out. On this new record, check out “Forgotton Coast.” and I’d also recommend “The Lights of Cheyenne.” – Harry
1. Fire John Farrell as the club manager.
2. Fire Ben Cherington (club GM) and Bill James.
3. Go out and get multiple frontline starting pitchers.
4. Fire some scouts and talent evaluators and replace them.
5. Hire John Farrell as the club general manager.
6. Retire the song “Sweet Caroline” and never play it at Fenway.
7. Bring Jackie Bradley Jr. up from AAA. Make him your permanent CF.
8. Move Alex De Aza to LF. Move Mookie Betts to RF
9. Bolster the bullpen. Trade Breslow.
10. Platoon Hanley Ramirez / David Ortiz, one being the DH, the other playing 1B. Both start but have Alan Craig in the wings.
11. TRADE: Sandoval, Porcello, and Victorino. Release Mike Napoli.
12. Send Eddy Rodriguez (P) back to AAA for more seasoning.
13. Have Brock Holt play 3B on a daily basis and bat lead off.
14. Hire a new manager, maybe Ozzie Guillen, who is a little feared, a little crazy, and who will bench anyone who isn’t hustling, playing fundamental defensive baseball, making good base running decisions, and can’t successfully drive runners in and/or move them along. Maybe Ozzie, maybe not.
15. Hire me as a team consultant.
This is THE Lotto/Powerball song of all time. Right now, it’s the song I play most often of the nearly 5000 songs that I have digitally downloaded. From her album 12 Stories, here is “Pray to Jesus” by Brandy Clark. Enjoy. – Harry
THOUGHTS ON FOX SPORTS’ TV COVERAGE OF THE US OPEN GOLF TOURNAMENT
There are three golf analysts who unfailingly speak the truth: Johnny Miller, Paul Azinger, and Brandel Chamblee. All have their critics, but no one can deny they say what they think and are quick to point out shortcomings of players, courses, even themselves. To a much lesser degree, Nick Faldo can sometimes be an honest analyst, not consistently as unafraid as Miller, Azinger, and Chamblee are.
Without one of these three, any important golf event is much more vanilla. Knowing what the players are really saying about the course conditions, behind closed doors, is the difference between reality and something less than that.
Fox was pretty terrible compared to the three major networks or ESPN. What Fox thought that Steve Flesch, Tom Weiskopf, or Brad Faxon would bring to the tournament was a huge overexpectation on their part. Greg Norman wasn’t going to make waves and seemed coached to some degree. Weiskopf can be ascerbic, but certainly wasn’t with Fox.
David Duval was surprising in his reticence to speak without a voice in his ear telling him to say the sweet nothings that popped out of his mouth. I know Duval can do a lot better and perhaps he can become the truth teller that Fox needs in order to bring great golf commentary to important events.
I’m no great fan of Joe Buck, nor am I a great detractor either, but suffice to say that from my perspective he was generally pretty good.
Chambers Bay was a beautiful place and a pretty cool layout, but the greens were woeful for a US Open. Brandel Chamblee on the Golf Channel’s air, was forthright in his criticisms. Fox could not bring itself to criticize either the USGA or Mike Davis and both deserved a whole heap of grief for the conditions of the putting surfaces. Mild mannered Ernie Els said, post event, that the greens were mostly just dirt.
JORDAN SPIETH – THE GAME OF GOLF HAS A NEW SUPERSTAR
“He is a walking extension of the traditions of this game.” – Brandel Chamblee, The Golf Channel
Chalk another one up for the good guys. This humble kid, just 21, is in full possession of all the requisite skills to end up in the pantheon of Golf’s greatest players ever. He’ll need to keep up the good work, and I fully expect him to, for the next 15 years or so, to equal and surpass the likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Bobby Jones, Old Tom Morris, and Phil Mickelson; but the sky is the limit for Jordan Spieth.
The Kid, as I will from now on call him, (a not so subtle reference to the baseball legend, Ted Williams, who was known throughout his Hall of Fame professional baseball career as “The Kid.”) turned pro in late 2012. This is his third season on the PGA Tour where he has played in 75 tournaments, made the cut in 62 of them, and has now won four of them, including the first two majors of 2015.
For non golf fans, there are four majors every year, and they are: The Masters Tournament, The United States Open, The British Open which is also referred to as the Open Championship, and the PGA Tournament. That is all there are. Four events that every great player in the world wants to play in and win.
In a time when Tiger Woods’ star seems to be descending, from almost out of nowhere comes this fresh faced, self effacing, young pro who has a star that is ascendance, to say the least. There is only Northern Ireland superstar, Rory McIlroy, as the other young golfer who plays and wins regularly at the Majors. McIlroy is now in possession of four Major titles, at the ripe age of 26. Rory turned pro in 2007 and has won 11 of the 95 PGA tournaments he has played in. Rory is a world golfer and has now played in 151 European Tour events, taking first prize eleven times. Overall, Rory has played in 26 major tournaments and has won four of them.
In my lifetime, Arnold Palmer arrived on the golf scene, taking the reins from Ben Hogan. Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, and most especially Jack Nicklaus, universally given credit as the greatest golfer of all time, came to prominence in the second half of the 20th century. And those great major champions gave way to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. That brings us to Rory McIlroy and to Jordan Spieth, who as a self professed “amateur golf historian” understands better than most what he has accomplished and the historic golf company he is keeping.
In about three weeks, the great golfers of the world will tee it up at St. Andrews, the “Home of Golf,” at The Auld Course, for the 2015 British Open, which is the third of golf’s four majors. Then in August the PGA will be played, this year along the shores of Lake Michigan, at Whistling Straits, in Kohler, Wisconsin. Tiger will be there, Phil Mickelson too, and Rory and Jordan, and all of the best players, each trying to win golf’s next major, and carve their name in golfing history.
Going back a ways, my favorite golfers were Payne Stewart and Paul Azinger. For the past ten years or so, I have exclusively been for Phil Mickelson, now 45 years of age, with his meter running on his chance to win another major or two, before Time erodes his skills.
From this point going forward, I will be rooting equally for Philly Mick and Jordan Spieth, and I promise to telepathically will putts in the cup for both of them. They say nice guys don’t finish first, but whoever thought that one up, doesn’t know a thing about either Phil or The Kid. –
Never has the backbeat of a single snare drum added so much to a single song, but check out “From This Valley” by The Civil Wars. Now apart as a duo, Joy Williams and John Paul White could sure get the job done. The group won four Grammys and lasted for six years, until their breakup in 2014.
“From This Valley” won them their last Grammy, winning in the Country Duo/ Performance category. There are two versions of this song, with this track from the album, Mercyland, featuring various Americana artists. -Harry 6-22-15
J.T. did not write this one, but he sings it lovingly with his trademark reserved energy, making this one of the more memorable tracks on his new album, Before This World, which was released in the past 24 hours. Such a long career and such a consistent one, as well, James sounds pretty much like he has for the past 45, or so, years.
Never rushed or over-excited, “Sweet Baby James“, is still sweet as Southern Iced Tea, but it takes imagination to think of him as young enough to be a baby, now that he is getting on in years. But the music is as good as ever. James Taylor’s first album in quite a while is a good sign. The world may be a troubled place, but solace and peace can be found, as always, in the warmth of James Taylor‘s voice. – Harry 6-17-15
Yeah. Hell yeah. The best movie I’ve seen in a good long while. THE JUDGE. Brilliantly acted, drilled right down with a nearly perfect script. I love good writing. Robert Downey, Jr. was better than I have ever seen him. Vera Farmiga was tender and wise and she nailed it. And then there is Robert Duvall. Son of a Bitch can flat fucking act. He is as close to pure as an actor can be.
I heard that Nicholson turned down the role and, while we all love Jack, I’m most appreciative that he said no, because the role was tailor-made for Robert Duvall. And then there is Mr. Thornton. Ol’ Billy Bob. Everything he does is good and worth savoring. Small town Indiana never looked so good. Let me ask you, can a movie be as bittersweet as can be and also be about as sweet as a piece of homemade pie. This movie is a paean about family and love and loss and grief and it’s a lot about anger and jealousy.
Directed beautifully by David Dobkin, with cinematography by Janusz Kaminski who made great use of light, space, and a handful of drones that slowly rise just to make a point, which is what good film making is essentially about. Well done, gentlemen. And in a cookie cutter age when movies have to be two hours or less, Dobkin and his editors end up with 2 hours and 22 minutes. Thanks for not leaving it on the cutting room floor just to satisfy industry timeframes.
I hope this movie wins awards, for two reasons, first so it will attract a wider audience; and lastly, because it might bring more scripts, more well acted roles, more lovely visuals. THE JUDGE is one of the best movies in the past ten years. Just my opinion, what’s yours? – Harry Lipson, 6-7-15.
Rest in Peace, Jean Ritchie. She was to the dulcimer what Robert Johnson was to the Delta Blues; what Lionel Hampton was to the vibraphone. From her early recordings, made by Alan Lomax, Jean sang the traditional ballads of her Kentucky upbringing. Born in 1922, she died today at the age of 92. Her Appalachian roots led to numerous recordings over a half century of living. She was a seminal figure in the folk revival of the 1960s. Sweet travels, Jean Ritchie.br
TOM BRADY and Deflate-gate MY TAKE
Here is what I think. Tom Brady’s game footballs were, whenever possible, slightly deflated by a a pound or two. This, I believe, from all that I have heard and read, is common throughout much of the NFL.
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Quarterbacks like their balls to have a particular grip and feel, and air pressure is one of the factors in getting a game football to a quarterback’s liking.
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The NFL rule that says footballs must begin the game inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch; a rule that, as far as we know, has never been enforced by the NFL in the six years that it has been in the rule book.
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Is that cheating? Let me ask you, when you drive 40mph in a 35mph zone, are you speeding? That’s what we have here, rules violation wise. Most quarterbacks do it and nobody’s been pulled over and given a ticket. Until Brady.
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What I am upset about is Tom Brady’s reputation. When mid October rolls around and the suspension has been served, the draft picks docked, and the million dollar fine paid by New England, what is left is Tom Brady being forever labeled a cheater and a liar. They can’t take it all back or make it go away.
It’s a relatively minor offense that he committed, and yes, I think he knew about it, and somewhere in the distant past (Brady has been the starting QB since 2001), Tom had a discussion with some equipment guy for the Patriots and the balls were subsequently “attended to.”
The fact that Tom didn’t deflate the balls himself is not the issue. It was done at his behest and he was okay with them diddling with the pigskin. That makes him guilty of the violation, but it does not remotely rise to the level of spousal abuse (Ray Rice and his wife in the elevator). It does not remotely or vaguely rise to the level of pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, as another Baltimore Raven, Ray Lewis, did in 2000, regarding the murder to two men in Atlanta. It does not remotely rise to the level of Richie Incognito, a veteran lineman for the Miami Dolphin who engaged in horrendous hazing of rookie teammate, Jonathan Martin.
Tom is technically guilty of violating a rule has never been enforced and is regularly broken by lots of other teams in the NFL. TB got caught but the price he is paying is far to steep. A man should not lose his reputation for this.
When it’s mid October and this suspension has been served, where does the greatest QB in NFL history go to get his reputation back?
All those kids who wanted to grow up to be like Tom Brady, have a hero with an asterisk, a backstory, a black mark, something parents will long be telling as a cautionary tale. From most accounts, Tom Brady is a guy who basically never takes a shortcut, who has never done drugs, who always does the right thing and is unfailingly polite and humble.
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Had this sting operation not been bungled from start to finish by the NFL and Roger Goodell, the league’s best player would still be just that. Look, I am a diehard New England Patriot fan and a big Tom Brady guy; still I candidly admit Tom Brady’s associative guilt and subsequent foot dragging during the Wells Investigation regarding what is a relatively small infraction that had never once been enforced, that has now morphed into a public flogging of Tom Brady and his legacy, due to the thoughtless and careless way the NFL has handled this somewhat tragic sports story.
“Long John Dean” is one of my favorite rootsy songs.* Willie Watson, with his sparse and sparky banjo frailing just brings great life to “LJD.” For one man and one banjo, Willie Watson is indeed a folksinger, and an interesting voice as well. I hope he keeps his album mixes simplified and not overly produced. Cool banjo riffing.
From Willie Watson’s Folksinger, vol. #1 cd.
* – also you can check out “Lost John Dean“ by Kane, Welch, and Kaplan, here in HarryShot’s songs.
Both of these classic songs were written by Dr. “Tex” Logan, a bluegrass pioneer, who died recently at the age of 87. The New York Times referred to his musicianship as a “hare quick bluegrass fiddler.” He performed for years, off and on, with the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, as well as with Joe Val and the Bluegrass Boys, and Peter Rowan among many others.
“Diamond Joe” is oft covered and has truly become a classic; and the composer of the song is apparently, however, in some doubt. You can read that it was written by Cisco Houston, Woody Guthrie, Tex Logan, etc. I can’t prove it, one way or another, but The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan, as well as The New York Times give Tex the writing credit. Dylan, Mellencamp, Jerry Garcia and literally hundreds of others recorded “Diamond Joe,” also known as “Willie’s Diamond Joe.”
Tex, for sure, wrote “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” which is among my favorite of Christmas songs. I have more than a dozen versions on this very computer, which I offer as proof that I love the song, and tonight I recognize it’s creator, Dr. Benjamin “Tex” Logan, who, among other things, earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University. So, here is Emmylou Harris’ version, from her album Light in the Stable.
Rest in Peace, Tex. – Harry, in Boston, on Cinco de Mayo.
It has been a bad few months as far as losing great artists is concerned. We lost Ben E. King today; he of “Stand By Me” fame. It was just days ago that Percy Sledge passed away and John Renbourn died some weeks back. But we are here to praise and eulogize Ben E. for his music which, as they say, will always….
Interestingly, Ben E. was the lead singer for The Drifters for a period of time between 1958-1960. He is singing lead on”There Goes My Baby,” which he co-wrote, “Save the Last Dance For Me,” and “This Magic Moment.” He also had a hit with “Spanish Harlem.” The dude was a genius and a Hall of Famer.
I have a fuzzy recollection of being at a frat party in New Orleans around 1966 and Ben E. King was the entertainment. I have a clearer memory of Chris Kenner‘s band at another New Orleans party around that same time. I have a polaroid of Kenner somewhere that I took. So, the great Ben E. King is now the late, great Ben E. King. He could get it done.
I very well remember 1968; the days after the Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Gunned down on a motel balcony. The ghettos of America erupted and there were riots in every major city in America. The frustration and anger that was all pent up in Black America boiled over.
Baltimore, D.C., Hough in Cleveland, Roxbury and Mattapan in Boston, Watts in L.A., in Indianapolis, Atlanta, St. Louis, Philadelphia, NYC, and essentially every African American ghetto had uncontrolled rioting.
Watching Baltimore re-live the bitterness, fear, resentment, alienation, and despair is heart rending. The same socio-economic conditions exist. Today gangs are far more prevalent than back 50 years ago. I would be angry too if I lived in those conditions. I’d be protesting and maybe even joining the rioting. I would hate to live in near or actual poverty, without an interesting job, without feeling safe and respected. Our Society has addressed some of these issues but while many may be the beneficiaries in 2015, it is quite clear and obvious that we have failed, as a society, to provide opportunity and hope to a lot of Americans, of all races and religions, all ethnicities. Baltimore may be in for a long hot summer, as the expression would go back in the late 1960s. “A long hot summer.”
We have so much wealth that is concentrated in such a way that the chances of happiness and success are limited for a significant portion of the American population in 2015 America. So tonight on the streets of Baltimore and on the street of Ferguson, there are a lot of voices with a lot of questions, and unfortunately, there are too few answers and no easy, quick fix to a societal problem that truly must be addressed. I can’t help but think of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing “If I Had A Hammer.” The lyrics ring true today just like they did in 1949 when Lee Hays and Pete Seeger wrote it. – Harry on April 29, 2015
Truly one of the greatest of all rock and roll classics. Well, the lead singer, Jack Ely (no relation to Joe Ely) has passed away. But he sure will live on forever as a one hit wonder. And what a hit it was. Rolling Stone Magazine has Louie, Louie as #54 in the Top 500 Songs of All Time. Not too shabby.
So rest in peace Mr. lead singer of The Kingsmen. “Hey, we gotta go.”br>
Well I was wrong. We got swept.
But, however, nevertheless, in spite of this, say what you will, such is the case, Se la vie. And so it goes…
You have to hand it to the Boston Celtics. This team is unselfish. They move the rock. Every night they are busting their butts for each other. The scrappy Celtics seem to listen to their young Coach, Brad Stevens, in his first foray into the pro ranks. If all that weren’t enough, these guys are almost always out-hustling their opponents. Diving for balls. Grabbing rebounds. Stealing basketballs. Making the extra pass. Plus, they seem to check their egos at the door. Those are adjectives that describe a Winner. This team fits that description.
Many teams wear down from the long regular season, Not these kids. The reason for mostly fresh legs is depth. They play a lot of guys every night. The minutes are spaced out between them. Brad Stevens is lucky that his team has so many interchangeable parts, due in fact to their lack of a star on the team. Late in games, the Celtics seem to usually find a way to win. This may all be a big surprise to NBA fans. We kind of sneaked up on everybody. For a team that wasn’t expected to win many games, our record ends up at 40 wins and 42 losses.
In the last 36 games of the regular season, the Celtics were 24-12. That’s almost the last half of the season there.
I think the Celtics will beat the Cleveland Cavs. Not too many people believe that is going to happen. It’s just my opinion, but I think every member of the Boston Celtics team expects to actually win the series. I’m going out on a limb, but I say Boston will beat Cleveland, and advance in the NBA playoffs. LeBron James is going down!
Oh my. Just heard that Percy Sledge, the great Percy Sledge, has passed away. What a voice. Percy Sledge defined soul music and the likes of the Rolling Stones lay credit at his feet for their music. Percy Sledge is right there on Soul Music’s Top Ten Greatest Artists of All Time, along with Otis Redding, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Smokey Robinson among others.
Here is “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” a cover of a song, first written and performed, by Smokey Robinson and the finest version ever recorded of this great tune. Percy had one huge mega hit with “When A Man Loves A Woman.” R.I.P.
I think so highly of John Prine that whenever I run across covers of his music, I take time to listen to them. Most aren’t up to John’s high standard, but occasionally I find something that is worth adding to my personal library. So I came across Amy Black, a friend of Sarah Borges’ and to boot, Amy is from Alabama. Nice coincidence. And she lives in Boston. Another coincidence. Actually she just moved from Boston to Nashville, the home of Americana music.
Here is John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Lonliness.” I can see John and Amy doing duets. Well, we can dream.
Boston’s loss is Nashville’s gain. Good luck, girl.br>
John Renbourn died today, age 70, of a heart attack while at home in the UK. A founder of Pentangle and an amazing guitarist who also had a wonderfully musical voice, Renbourn was an anachronism and an innovator, simultaneously, it seems to me. The American Delta blues also captivated and interested him. So here are two tunes, excellent examples of the talent and the gift of John Renbourn.
“Kokomo Blues” is originally associated with Scrapper Blackwell, circa 1928, but is attributed most of the time to Mississippi Fred McDowell. Following that is Bob Dylan’s “Buckets of Rain.”
My musical tribute to the late, great John Renbourn. –
if you want to buy mp3s or the cd, at Amazon.com, then click THIS
I rank John Hartford up close to the top of my all time favorite artists and acquaintances. So it is great to have Robert Earl Keen cover John’s ” Steam Powered Aeroplane” with the sheer enthusiasm that “Aeroplane‘ deserves as most covers don’t quite get it right enough for my semi-jaded tastes. Well REK delivers as he pretty much always does.
This is a GREAT record and it comes with my finest recommendation. There are 20 tracks in the “deluxe” cd and S.P.A. is only on the deluxe version which was released mid February, 2015. Keep up the good work, Roberto, I know John would approve.
This HarryShots.com Song of the Week is dedicated to the memory of Doug Ashford. – Harry 3-17-15
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
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.
Producing 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
Amazon.com mp3 download– $0.99
This stirring encore song from the “Love for Levon“ concert/live album recording is a fitting tribute to Levon Helm and his seminal group, The Band. Recorded in East Rutherford, N.J. in October, 2013, performers included: Roger Waters, John Mayer, My Morning jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Joe Walsh, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Bruce Hornsby, Grace Potter, John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Jorma Kaukonen, Mavis Staples, John Prine, Garth Hudson, Allan Toussaint, David Bromberg, Joan Osborne, Robert Randolph, Marc Cohn, Amy Helm, Larry Campbell, Don Was, Kenny Aronoff, Greg Leisz, The Levon Helm Band.
HIGH HEELS? REALLY?
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
As I listen to more music and my mental library expands every year, I, increasingly, tend to like covers of extraordinary songs. Especially when a great voice takes on an equally great song. And it’s even better if it’s a one-shot live performance, with millions watching, and I can think of few better examples than Miley Cyrus taking on Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” on the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live.
Miley Cyrus just flat out nails it. Creatively and powerfully delivered, “50 Ways” slows down on the verses, speeds up with contained power on the choruses, and has a vocal range from conversational speech, on one hand, to screams and growls, crescendoing when Miley exhorts her stout band with “Come on boys” as she leads into another chorus.
For what it is worth, I only like Miley’s cover songs and not her own music. It’s probably a generational thing, and maybe it is my loss. If you like Bob Dylan, check out Ms. Cyrus’ version of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.” – Harry
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.
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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Somewhere John Hartford got lost in the shuffle, but he’d likely be pleased with the anthem he wrote being covered by The Band Perry. This 2015 Grammy winning track is from the album, I’ll Be Me – Glen Campbell. It’s not the first time the song has Grammied, a word I think I just invented. Anyhow, at the 1968 Grammys, John picked up two Grammys and Glen Campbell picked up two more for this amazing song. According to Wikipedia, Gentle On My Mind is the #16 song in the top 100 songs of the 20th century. That, my friends, is a lot of royalty checks in John’s mailbox.
To me, John was a genius several times over. He wrote the song in the early part of his career and in some sense, it made his career. Others may quibble and rightly so, but Gentle On My Mind sure helped him. He was deserving of every accolade he received. “Gentle” was a huge-ass hit for Campbell and he made it his theme song on his popular TV show, way back when. Course, we all wish Glen Campbell the best as he battles dementia.
Here is The Band Perry and they do a bang up job. Great effort. It’s the HarryShots song of the week. Enjoy. – Harry
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
One man bands are quite the uncommon thing. Matt Lorenz is just that. He bills himself, or should I say he bills his band, The Suitcase Junket, as “Nationally touring, slide guitar playing, throat singing one man band.” MAKE TIME is his/the band’s third album. As of this writing I have not listened to his earlier records. But, wow. This cat is great. Underplayed instrumentation with the vocals brought clear, I can’t say that I like everything on this record, but that’s what mp3s are for, right.
What we have here, to paraphrase Strother Martin, is something that communicates with me, for damn sure. And I hope with you. The whole deal here is that I pick songs that I consider worthy, and you get to pass judgement by listening, or not, for as long as you’ve got. It’s all free and nobody’s going to want your email address or come back to you with some kind of offer or another. We’d like it if you LIKE us on the ol’ FB.
So here is “Wherever I Wake Up” which I have unilaterally subtitled, “Where the Fuck Am I?” – HL
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.
I 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
Just heard that these cats are calling it quits. Here is a live version of “Feelin’ Alright” by the Black Crowes (1989-2015). For almost a quarter century, this Southern rock band from the Georgia laid down a blues tinged sound that featured wild keyboards and skyhigh guitar solos. Hey DA, this is for you.
Alabama’s less than stellar New Years performance left me in a less than stellar mood. When our football season is over, it flat out is.
I love the wonderful expression “I was just beside myself.” That is pretty much where I was for most of January 2nd. Beside myself, or is it “besides my self.” I think the former.
Anyway, I was just going through the motions for the better part of the day, and when I get that way, what I have to do, sooner or later, is push the refresh button and get back to being myself, as they say.
What does it for me, these days, is an action movie. Once I watch it, I push the refresh button and pick up where I left off, before the ballgame started. I think it is one of Newton’s Laws.
Coincidentally, I just read one of my friend’s FaceBook posts in which he (Leigh Montville) mentioned that he’d enjoyed The Equalizer, Denzel’s current movie.
Now I happened to think that Denzel deserves an Oscar on an annual basis, just call his name, let him walk up there, hand him a statue, let him flash his world class smile, say a few offhand asides, and we can send his extraordinary ass off to make another fine film. Denz got my vote for Flight, a really cool, Oscar nominated effort, starring the coolest actor since Jack, Brando, or Bogey. Come to think of it, that would be a pretty good Mount Rushmore of actors. I would make that pilgrimage.
If you consider the leading women actors… Hepburn, Kidman, Blanchett, and Streep, would make a nice foursome. Of course, that’s off the top of my head, you know, bang, bang, slam bam thank you m’am. Equal pay for equal work. Just the way it oughta be.< In fact, The Equalizer equalized my equilibrium and now I can completely accept that Ohio State just ate our lunch and it’s time now for the NFL playoffs. I have moved on. The page is turned.
Still, Alabama should have run the ball down their throat for two and a half quarters which would have opened things up for Amari Cooper, and we could have closed the sale in the last third of that game, and we’d be on to the Fighting Ducks of Nikeville. And I would not have seen The Equalizer yet, which happens to have been filmed in my current hometown of Boston.
Since The Tide didn’t win, and since I wanted to move on, let the pain go, I went and watched Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, one right after the other. Olympus was a lot better, but neither one will win a popularity contest, unless it’s just against each other, and then Olympus takes that one. This further helped me clear my head and bring me back to being a reasonable semblance of what I normally pass for.
It’s not hard to be a Bama fan, but when we lose with such a lousy effort, I have to go to the movies, a triple feature, to make life, once again, worth living. –
Harry, January 3rd, 2015
SONY CAMERA REPAIR is beyond terrible. I love their pro-cameras, but the service department sucks.
I am going to watch (live probably, or possibly TIVOed) Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin in Times Square on CNN, New Year’s Eve. It is funny, risque, and fascinating every year. I have not yet tired of the interplay between a respected reporter/Anchor and a crazy, funny, free-spirited comedienne.
I sure like the musical resonance of the accordion. More and more I hear them in the music I listen to, which is primarily “Americana.”
I recommend Austin SUN RADIO if you are a fan of Americana. Jessie Scott has a show weekdays that reminds me of Cross Country XM 12, the now defunct satellite radio channel that had a cult following, myself among them.
Thinking about losing weight. Of course I am, it’s New Years. Checked out some elliptical machines and rather liked the NordicTrac A.C.T. Elite from Sears. It turns out that Sears is now the exclusive sales company of all NordicTrac stuff.
If you have HBO, and if you don’t I recommend it highly; check out the HBO Sports documentary “Glickman.” What a life, what a guy.
DON LEMON at CNN. I watch CNN regularly and like them. But Don Lemon is less than brilliant. He has minimal grasp of facets of what he is discussing. Good looking guy. Good voice. But he does not ask probing, intelligent followup questions. He is a lightweight without a shred of gravitas or expertise. And he seems to think it’s all about HIM. Don, it isn’t. It’s about the NEWS, the ISSUES, the EVENTS. He needs a lot of seasoning and CNN gives him a prize time slot which he does not merit, at least at this point in his career. May I suggest Jim Schiuto in his place or Hala Gorani, or Candy Crowley, if they can convince her to unretire. I also could recommend Richard Quest. He is bombastic and seems to have swallowed the Energizer bunny, but he knows of what he speaks and he deserves a prime time slot, whereas Don Lemon does not. CNN would be better for reading this blog post.
I wish you a Happy New Year. A healthy one too. If you have wealth, share some of it with others. If you send some to me, I will be eternally grateful and will try to pay it forward. You will be forever anonymous and unmentioned, but an angel you will be.
I hope you will love yourself, something I need to be better at doing.
Good luck in 2015. Let’s be safe out there.
PO Box 245
Arlington, MA 02476
MY DEAR SANTA LETTER 2014
These are my Christmas Wishes, my New Years’ Hopes, Etc.
Hopeful Harry writes….
I am a long way from perfect, so it’s hard to say precisely whether I’ve been entirely good or bad, naughty or nice. As time passes, I don’t see much in black and white. I see greys, nuances, shadings, gradations, arguments, plusses and minuses in living, in the world, in my life, in the way things are, etc., etc.
So with random thoughts in my head, maybe a vision of a sugar plum or two, here we go:
Can we feed everybody. Can’t we end world hunger. I know that’s a biggie Santa, but heroic effort is required. I see this as black and white, no grey area. Starvation shouldn’t happen.
OK, Santa, ready for more? How about referees not getting assaulted, battered, threatened. Whether it’s pee wee football or FIFA World Cup, fans have to respect the refs, umps, and officials. A lot of us are intensely loyal fans, but I humbly ask that you, dear Santa, bring sanity to the sports world, even though we call ourselves “fans,” which is shorthand for fanatics, which brings into question our sanity; big ask, but a civil society is one of my wishes.
I wish freedom was available for all that are oppressed.
I wish freedom was available for all that feel depressed.
I wish freedom for all that live in fear.
I wish that the world’s religions could bask in harmony and equality.
I would like to see illiteracy wiped from the face of the earth.
Maybe fracking isn’t such a hot idea, Santa. Illness and earthquakes that seem to result, as a by product, are reasons to give pause.
I wish prescription medicines were available, at no cost, to all of us.
I wish that we could cure cancer, heart disease, lupus, asthma, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and all known diseases.
Santa, I think you should promote brussell sprouts as excellent in many ways, and a good source of natural health. A little butter, some chopped garlic, a dash of salt, and you’ve cooked a healthy item. And they’re so easy to eat with your hands. A double bonus.
I want gender equality to spread around the world. Men and Women equal in societies the world over. That’s another big ask, but you’re a big guy, Santa, so I’m asking you to make it happen.
I want animals to be treated better. Life is precious. All life. Spread that around Santa; get the word out. Harm an animal, be very unlikely to get into heaven, a concept that may or may not be manmade, but that should be a Commandment everyplace, everywhere.
I want all the worlds’ children to be loved and raised with kindness and understanding. That is going to be the game changer. Future generations would be less likely to go to war so easily, take from others, do violence, cause mayhem. Kindness and Understanding are right up there near the very top on my list.
Money. Rich folks should give something back. That gets them bonus points.
Let’s revere Philanthropists like we do athletes.
At this time of year, it is a message that should be stressed all year long. Philanthropy, anonymous or otherwise, can cure a lot of unhappiness in the world. So here’s to those that share good fortunes.
I dismiss you, Santa Claus. A child’s fantasy. Whimsy.
But, you can prove to me that you exist.
I demand that you, Santa-man, show up at my house on Christmas Eve, with a new Ultra High Def 65″ TV.
Then you better bring along a new 5K 27″ Apple IMAC computer. Load it up with apps, Santa. Get the 3TB version.
I’ve been good all year (a lie) so I deserve more stuff.
Bring me a brand new La-Z-Boy electric recliner with auto heat and massage. In fact, give me two of them. One cherry red and one in mustard yellow. Those things can’t be beat for comfort.
Come to think of it, I could use new wheels. Santa I need a Tesla. Shiny dark blue, cream colored interior. Every options checked.
I want it ALL. Stat.
Clausy, stick Bad Santa in my blue tooth player and press “play.” Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.
P.S. – IF you actually show up with all of my toys, (which you know I totally deserve), AND there is no MasterCard/AmEx/Visa statement coming; the UHD TV, the Imac, the Tesla, and the La-Z-Boys; if it’s all mine – gratis, compliments of the House…. Santa, if you come through then I promise that I’ll believe in you, Tinkerbell, magic Hobbits, Rudolph with his ruby red nose, and the Jolly Green Giant.
What else would I like for Christmas? Let’s see. What I want for Christmas?…. well, a nice fire in the fireplace. The Kings College Choir singing English carols on the stereo.
Just a few candles glowing. No presents expected, but perhaps I find something simple, meaningful, given with thought, sitting under the tree.
A little mulled cider would be nice. I’ll get settled into a comfortable chair and begin to think about it all. Plus all those important wishes to come true in 2015.
That’s what I want this Christmas, and all my Christmases to come.
There’s a lot that I believe in. It fills my head with visions of… ..sugar plums.
Harry, in Boston. 12-23-14