The Mittens That United a Nation

Who would have thought that a simple pair of mittens would have brought so much joy … and unity … to a nation?!

A photo of Bernie Sanders wearing mittens at the Presidential Inauguration has gone viral. In case you haven’t seen the original … here it is….

Thanks to creative people … and Photoshop … Bernie has brought the nation together in laughter. He has become the hottest meme on the internet. Social media has been flooded with pictures of Bernie is movies, TV shows, and awkward places….

So I had to share some of my favorites!

Bernie ad-libbing on Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?
Bernie Sanders is Mr. Frederickson in Pixar’s Up!
Bernie sits in on a staff meeting on The Office
Bob Ross – creator of “happy little mittens”
Bernie just figured out Blue’s Clues!
Now, whenever I read Goodnight Moon to my daughter … I will think of this!
Talk about being in an awkward position!
Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi … you’re my only hope!
I would totally buy this album for Bernie’s Rhymes!
Bernie and Baby Yoda may be the cutest thing on the internet.
Obviously ready to heckle Fozzie or Kermit
Bernie is a bit ticked that his $1 bid did not get him on stage.
The Sorting Hat must decide whether Bernie goes to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin.
Ready to ROCK!!

Thank you, Bernie for uniting a nation with laughter!

Feel free to share your favorites ….

Let’s Work Together

As the country moves forward, I am reminded of a great song everyone needs to hear.

Known for his song Kansas City, Wilbert Harrison’s Let’s Work Together still holds true today!

Lyrics:

Together we stand, divided we fall
Come on now people, let’s get on the ball and work together
Come on, come on let’s work together, now now people
Because together we will stand, every boy every girl and a man

Before when things go wrong, as they sometimes will
And the road you travel, it stays all uphill
Let’s work together, come on, come on, let’s work together
You know together we will stand, every boy, girl, woman and a man

Oh well now, two or three minutes, two or three hours
What does it matter now, in this life of ours
Let’s work together, come on, come on
Let’s work together, now now people
Because together we will stand, every boy, every woman and a man

Oh come on, let’s work togetherOh well now, make someone happy, make someone smile,
Let’s all work together and make life worthwhile
Let’s work together, come on, come on
Let’s work together, now now people
Because together we will we stand, every boy, girl, woman and a man

Well now, together we will stand,
Every boy, girl, woman and a man

From Songfacts.com:

Wilbert Harrison originally wrote and recorded this blues-style R&B number as “Let’s Stick Together,” a plea for fidelity in a fractured marriage. That version, released in 1962, didn’t make the charts (until Bryan Ferry covered it in 1976) but never left Harrison’s mind. Seven years later, he resurrected the song, keeping the melody but changing the lyrics. “I thought I’d put some words to it that meant a bit more,” he told Beat Instrumental in 1970.

Changing the title to “Let’s Work Together,” Harrison’s new message of unity was aimed at a nation rife with conflict over the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.

Sue Records, a small New York label, released this as a two-part single in 1969 but it took around nine months reach the charts. It peaked at #32 in February 1970. In November, a cover by the blues-rock band Canned Heat landed at #26 (#2 UK). It was Harrison’s second and last Top 40 hit. His first was a decade earlier when his cover of the Leiber and Stoller tune “Kansas City” hit #1.

Canned Heat’s version was used in the movies Forrest Gump (1994), Big Fish (2003), and Invincible (2006).

Dwight Yoakam also did a fantastic version! Here is the original, Canned Heat, and Dwight

The Radio Life of a Song

The following is a sort of transcript from an informative speech I did in college on how songs make it on the radio. Some radio friends may find that not all the info is here, but it was enough for my listeners in speech class.

How many of you have ever called a radio station to request a song … only to never hear it?

How many of you think that radio DJ’s get to play whatever they want?

How many of you ever wished that radio stations would play other songs from your favorite CD?

How many of you think radio stations play the same songs over and over and over….every hour, every day!

Prior to college, I worked as a radio personality and programmer for over 20 years.  The questions I pose to you, are similar to those asked of me by people who learn of my background. For my informative speech, I will answer those questions by explaining what a song must go through to get on the radio, and what happens to it when it gets on the air.

First things first – this speech wouldn’t be anything if the artist didn’t record a song!

Once a song is recorded by your favorite artist, and the album is complete, record executives decide which songs on the CD are “radio friendly.”  In other words, these are the people who decide what songs will be released to be played on the radio.  Some of your favorite album cuts, won’t ever make it to the radio.

The first song released from an artist’s new CD is always the one that record companies hope will make music lovers like you and me, run to the store, or surf to iTunes.  The hope is that based on that one song – you’ll pick up the whole CD. Hit records mean record sales and money for the record company … and the artist.

But as you will see, it is extremely difficult for a song to get played on the radio.

On average, a radio station will receive 10-20 songs looking for play on the radio.   At the same time, a radio station only has room to add 1 or 2 songs to their playlist each week. 

You do the math! The song had better be very good to make it to the playlist!

Two people are essentially responsible for deciding which songs are added to the station play list:

The Program Director and the Music Director

The PD

* The program director is the leader of the station.

*They put together the talent and program schedules. 

*The program director oversees music, promotions, and any production that goes on-air.

The MD

*The music director interacts with record company reps.

*They listen to new music.

* They work closely with the program director to decide which songs get airplay.

Once a song is chosen as one that should be on the playlist, there is a series of steps that it will go through which I’d like to call, the song’s “radio life”.

In order to understand the playlist, we first must understand what it is.

  • The playlist consists of every song, to be played on a certain day at a certain time.
  • Music is scheduled ahead of time
  • Each song is assigned a certain category, which in turn determines how often it is played.

This is an actual hour’s worth of music from a local station.  It shows you the songs that  played in the 5pm hour this past Tuesday (in 2010).

Notice that each song has a category.

A’s are current songs in Heavy Rotation

B’s are current songs in Medium Rotation

D’s and E’s are former current hits, that are now referred to as reccurents.

G’s, H’s and I’s are oldies, which are called “gold” songs.

L’s are Lunars, which I will explain in a minute.

Notice that Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” is in a “Heavy Rotation”.  It didn’t start there.  There were a series of steps that it went through to get there.

It first enters a Current “Light” Rotation:

• This is the song’s first spot on the play list

• It usually only plays after 7pm and overnight

• It usually plays one time approx. every 12 hours

• Programmers wait for listener feedback

•Positive feedback moves the song up in rotation

Current “Medium” Rotation

• This is a song that is getting good feedback from listeners, is researching well, and is climbing the charts

• This song plays once approximately every 6 hours

Current “Heavy” Rotation

• If a song makes it to Heavy rotation, it’s usually considered a “HIT”

• This song will play approximately every 2 ½ to 4 hours, depending on the format of the station.

Prespective

With that in mind – let me put something in perspective for you….

Here is another playlist from another station, this time a country station:

Notice the two songs highlighted in purple.  Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift.  Both of these are in a “Heavy rotation” and rotate every 3 to 4 hours.

Here’s what I want you to think about. Let’s say Megan loves Kenny Chesney, but hates Taylor Swift.

She can’t get enough of Kenny – as a matter of fact, they are not playing it enough!  Taylor Swift, however, is played just way too much for her.

The truth of the matter is that they both play at the same rotation – but Megan’s perspective , and personal taste influence how she thinks about the songs….

Does that make sense?

What Next?

So after a song becomes a hit and is played to death in the “Heavy” category, what happens to it?

Many radio stations have what is called a “Recurrent” category, which may or may not be divided up into sub categories (Power Recurrent, Medium Recurrent, etc…). Now that the song is a hit and familiar to the audience, it moves into this category. People are still requesting it and it is familiar to the audience.

A song can stay in that recurrent category for some time before it eventually moves into one of three places….

The Gold Category

The “Oldie” or “Gold” category.  This insures that it will play at least once a day. This category also has divisions to it. A Power Gold will play more than a Secondary Gold. (See above – G’s play more than H’s, and H’s play more than I’s)

If it doesn’t go there, it may end up in a Lunar Category.

Yes, technically the song was a hit, but maybe it has a novelty feel to it, so stations may not want to play it too often. I asked a PD why they called it a Lunar, and he said, “It plays once in a blue moon.”

So, if it doesn’t go to either one of those categories…..sadly, the song goes away …….

Conclusion

So, now you know…

• The reason why your request doesn’t get played – because all music is scheduled.

•Because the music is scheduled – DJ’s are never playing whatever they want to

• The reason some songs on your favorite CD will never get played on the radio – radio stations are told what songs to play by record labels

• When you think you are hearing a song over and over again – it is merely based on your perception

I hope this answers your questions …. got any more? Ask away….

“Let’s Go – While We’re Young!”

Somewhere on the Internet I saw I shirt that read: “I speak fluent movie quotes.”

There are a few variations of this shirt that incorporate “song lyrics” and “sarcasm,” but for me – it is movie quotes. I do this all the time! Here is an example that happened to me today.

I left the house for work without my lunch. I packed it and left it on the counter in the kitchen.

I was already running late, and I debated just coming in and ordering a pizza. Knowing that we seem to have had pizza a lot lately, I decided that I would stop at the Subway down the road from work. They are usually very quick, but today was another story.

Not the Subway I stopped at – but it looks similar….

I stop there every once in a while and the guys who usually work behind the counter are friendly and fast. Tonight, there was an older lady who was working. She must have been the only one there. It was not busy, and there was a guy at the counter ordering when I got there. His order was not especially complicated, but it seemed like it took forever for the 6 inch sub to get made. It took even longer as he checked out.

When she came back to get my order, I looked at her and told her the sub I wanted and on what kind of bread. She brought the bread out and cut it, as they do, and began to talk to me about politics. I stood there looking at her as she was talking … all the while, my sub bun is sitting on the counter awaiting preparation.

She finally moves the bun down to where the meat is and asked me to clarify my order again, which I do. She asks if I want it toasted and I told her no. She puts the meat on the sub, clarifies the type of cheese I want (she had the wrong kind) and begins to put it in the toaster. I remind her that I do not want it toasted. She apologizes and sets the sub down by the veggies and again starts to talk about politics. The entire time, I am watching the clock wondering if I will ever get to work on time.

My veggies are simple: Lettuce, tomato, pickle. She puts the lettuce on, looks at me and begins talking about the government. She grabs for onions, I tell her “No onions, please.” She grabs tomato, looks at me and shifts topics. She begins to tell me that her coworkers say she doesn’t get any work done. I literally look at the clock again and start to mumble under my breath, “Come on, Let’s go! While we’re young!”

I think she has no clue that I need to get going! She grabs for onions again, and I remind her “No onions, please. You just need pickles.” She continues to talk while placing these pickles one by one by one – looking up at me and talking between the placement of each one! I am ready to scream! She again reaches for onions when she has finished with the pickles. I want to look at her and go, “Enough with the onions!!” In all honesty, I was waiting for someone to pop out and tell me I was on some reality prank show!

In the time she began making my sub, put everything on it, wrapped it, bagged it, and rang me up, I heard her talk about politics, work, her neighbor, and the state of the economy! I was in this place for 20 minutes! In that 20 minutes, “Come on, Let’s go! While we’re young!!” kept replaying over and over in my head! The line is from Rodney Dangerfield as he waits for Ted Knight to tee off in a scene from Caddyshack. While it is a very funny line from a very funny movie – I failed to find the humor in it tonight!

Rodney Dangerfield as Al Czervik in Caddyshack

How about you? What are some of your favorite movie lines that you have used in real life situations??

Honey? Does this outfit match?

If this isn’t an unwritten rule, it should be: Kids outfits should be placed in dresser drawers already matched! This blog stems from a conversation I had with my wife before work today.

I have never been the greatest at matching clothes for kids. I admit it. I can bet you money that you will almost always know when I dress my children. I ALWAYS pick the outfits that go together. I remember Dante’ had an outfit that had running pants, a jersey, and a jacket that all went together. He wore that a lot when he was a toddler – because I knew it matched! Dimitri had a similar outfits that I always put him in. Nice and easy – dad can’t mess those up!

Ella was wearing a new outfit, and I commented on how cute it was and how cute she looked in it:

Sam said that it really wasn’t an “outfit.” In other words, the shirt and pants were not bought together as a set. She then went on to explain that I could match that top with the green pants she has on or the yellow, pink, or white pants which are in her drawer. I must have stared at her dumbfounded for a minute because she then made mention that she noticed that I tend to put her in outfits that are already matched.

Well, she is right! That’s what I do! If the matched outfits are all in the wash, I find a shirt and put her in a pair of jeans. Every thing goes with blue jeans, right!? How can I mess that up?

In preparation for writing this blog I Googled “How to match outfits.” Do you wanna know what came up? This:

What in blazes is that!? What do the triangles or that “Star of David” in the middle of it mean?! I clicked on the link for this image and it only complicated matters with a more detailed … and more confusing chart:

Is there any man who can make sense of that?! And those are just colors! I don’t even want to think about matching stripes with polka dots or any other kind of pattern!!

I can only hope that Sam keeps putting clothes away in “paired outfits.” The day this stops I know I will be at a park with her, or out in public and other moms are going to look at her and think “Oh, yeah….her dad dressed her today!”

You can be sure that when Ella starts going to school – outfits will be laid out in advance … just in case … to prevent any fashion faux pas that dad may cause!!

Not my daughter, but probably an outfit I’d dress her in if I couldn’t find a matching outfit in her dresser!

A Smile Amid Chaos

All you had to do this week was turn on the news, check your social media page, or surf the internet to see the chaos going on in the world. As an American, it makes me sad to see the state of the country. The division within the country is just sickening. Abraham Lincoln quoted scripture when he said:

Facebook was full of friends who stated that they were leaving Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms to go to MeWe and Parler (whatever those are!). I utilize the “snooze/mute” and “unfollow” features so I don’t see a lot of the content that aggravates me. However, even taking advantage of those features, I still end up seeing things I don’t want to.

When I am feeling angry or upset at the world, politics, or whatever, I need only turn to the smile of my little girl…..

Ella is oblivious to all the craziness in the world. She loves playing with mommy and daddy. She watches Elmo and reads books. She chases the cat and gets into things she isn’t supposed to. She finds joy in simple things, like me making a stuffed dog “bark” at her.

She got to go outside and sit in the snow for the first time in her life. Even though she wasn’t quite used to the snowsuit and boots – she smiled at the peacefulness of a winter day!

Having her in my life is better than any medication a doctor can prescribe! I love my daily dose of Ella – her smile is contagious!

Keep Smiling!!

That Time I Ticked Off Soupy Sales … and His Wife!

The great comedian, Soupy Sales, was born today in 1926. In honor of his birthday, I thought I would share a story I don’t talk about often, because it still makes me sick to my stomach to think about it.

Back in 1989, I was working at WKSG, Kiss-FM in Detroit. I was doing the overnight show and often hung out afterward to help the morning guy, Paul Christy. I had contacted Soupy’s manager and asked if he could cut a few lines for my show. (My favorite was: “Hi Everybody, this is Soupy Sales! Whenever I’m in Detroit, I never miss the Keith Allen Show. I don’t listen to it and I don’t miss it!) In a few weeks, Soupy sent them to the station on a cassette for me along with a note with his phone number. He said to call him If I ever needed any more lines.

A few months later, we were all in the studio and Paul noticed that Soupy was going to be playing a show in town that weekend. He asked me if I still had his phone number. I told him I did. Without missing a beat, he said, “Give it a call and find out where he is staying, so we can get him on for an interview.” Now, it was like 6 am, and the show had just started. I gave him a look and he was dead serious. “Go make the call!”

Paul was my boss. I didn’t want to make him mad, so I was off to the production room and made the call. I’m not sure who I thought I was calling, but I guess I hoped it was his office. It was his home number! His wife, Trudy, answered the phone and it was obvious I woke her up. I told her who I was and why I was calling. She gave me the name of the hotel where Soupy was staying and she assured me that Soupy would get a hold of me. Oh, he did.

That afternoon, I was at home and the phone rang. When I answered it, it was Soupy. He was not very happy. It was obvious that his wife had called him wondering why some schmuck had called her at home at the butt crack of dawn! He gave me a “talking to!” My heart sank as my comedy hero yelled at me for bothering his wife so early. I felt awful.

After it all sank in, I knew I had to make it right. I sat down at the computer and wrote two letters. One to Soupy and one to his wife. I explained how I was wrong for calling so early. I explained how I was just trying to do what my boss had asked me to do. I apologized profusely in both letters. I felt so bad for being disrespectful and for what happened. It was the absolute worst feeling! I cried as I wrote those letters. I felt so bad about the entire incident! Even writing about it now brings back that feeling of “nausea” I had when it happened.

I friend of mine knew the hotel that Soupy was staying at. He said that he would take the letters there for me. He dropped them at the desk and that was that. I would have taken them myself, but the last thing I wanted was to run into Soupy, who at that time I had never met yet. I already felt like crap, and I certainly didn’t want to meet him under those circumstances.

Fast Forward a few years:

Soupy was playing a show at Pine Knob. My buddy Vic and I were going to the show that night. Vic knew Soupy because he worked in New York and often worked near where Soupy lived. That night, before the show, Vic wrote a note on his business card and sent it back to Soupy’s dressing room with a security guard. Next thing I knew, we were being escorted back to see Soupy. Soupy got up and shook hands with Vic. Vic introduced me and when Soupy heard my name, he looked at me and said, “Didn’t we have an incident a few years ago?” I once again felt my heart sink, but Soupy chuckled and said everything was ok. He said he appreciated my apology and proceeded to chat with us as if nothing had happened.

What a relief to finally know that Soupy (and his wife) did get my letters. That was the thing that worried me for years, never knowing if they had actually got to him. He was so gracious and pleasant to me that night. I am glad that I had the chance to shake his hand.

Happy Birthday, Soupy! Thanks for the laughs!

Drew Friedman’s rendition of Soupy Sales

Resolutions or Goals?

I subscribe to some daily writing prompts that will occasionally wind up as a good blog idea. I’d say I use about less than 5% of them, as most of them don’t really strike a chord with me. Every single one of these prompts said to write about my New Year’s Resolutions or Goals for the New Year. My buddy believes that resolutions and goals are the same, but they really are not.

A “resolution” is a firm decision by a person to do or not do something. A “goal” is the object of a person’s ambitions or effort; an aim or desired result. See, a goal is the final product, if you will. With a goal, you prepare, you plan, you set forth your intentions to achieve this final result (the goal) by taking specific actions. A resolution is a “promise” to yourself to do something, while a goal has a specific target.

Do I have resolutions? I guess so. They are probably the same resolutions that many people have: eat more veggies, drink more water, lose weight, be more active, etc. I just need to not do what I do every year and fall of the wagon on these.

I want to make some specific resolutions regarding my role as a husband:

  • I will say “I love you” every day.
  • I will spend more time together – monthly date night.
  • I will pray together.
  • Show more appreciation for all she does.
  • Listen more.

I also have some specific resolutions regarding my role as a father:

  • More one on one time with each of my children.
  • More play time
  • Be more mindful of the words I speak.
  • Read more books and the Bible together.
  • More outside time – walks, catch, etc.
  • Be an example!

There is one thing that I would like to accomplish that I am ashamed to admit I have never done. I have never actually read the bible in it’s entirety in a year’s time. In one of my classes, the teacher actually said that as students, we should strive to read it through at least once or twice a year. It always seemed like a very big task.

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a plan with specific passages to read every day, and by doing it, you’d read through the entire Bible in one year. I printed out the “plan” and I intend to do just that. I know with the classes, I’m going to have to make some extra time, but it needs to be done! My goal is to have each week’s worth of passages with me and to read whenever I get the chance.

Do you set goals for yourself in the new year? Do you make resolutions? What things help you to keep on track?

Hindsight Really is 2020 – A Recap

The saying goes, “Hindsight is 2020,” and many of us are rejoicing that 2020 is really truly behind us! I often wonder if you were to make a list of positives and negatives of the past year, would one outweigh the other? What about 10-15 years ago? Was that just as bad, but we only choose to remember the good things from that year? I don’t know the answers to those questions.

In talking with my youngest son this weekend, he was talking about the last year and listing all of the bad things from it. I told him that is really is easy to see the bad things, the negatives, or the sadness we experienced. I challenged him to try to find some positives among the negatives. As we drove back to my house, we were able to do that. I told him it isn’t always easy to find those positives, and sometimes there may not be any, but to always look for them.

December 31, 2019

As the world awaited 2020’s arrival there was great excitement. Many said, “This is going to be MY YEAR!” Others looked at the new year as a clean slate from 2019 (which they wanted to be over). I recalled the quote from country singer Brad Paisley, who said, “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book, write a good one.” We looked at 2020 as a year of happiness, recovery, new opportunities, new adventures, and so much more! 2020 had other plans.

2020

Looking back at 2020, the absolute high point was the birth of our daughter, Ella. NOTHING tops this moment! The blog announcing her birth was one of the most read of the year.

My first daughter. Daddy’s little girl. My wife, Sam, was just amazing throughout the delivery. It was the first time I had witnessed natural child birth and I was in awe of everything. My heart was overflowing with happiness. What a day!

This month, Sam and I were talking about what to do for her first birthday. With Covid, there is not a whole lot we can do. We are probably not going to throw the big party we wanted to, but we are working out plans for something special to mark the occasion.

Covid-19

I can’t even imagine if Ella had been born a few weeks later. By the time March arrived, the whole world was talking about Corona virus and Covid-19. Everything started to shut down in an attempt to “flatten the curve.” Our sleep labs closed and we were deployed to the hospital Labor Pool. During my time there, I heard stories and witnessed things I will sadly never forget. With a new baby at home, my constant worry was that I would bring it home to her. I eventually snapped. The doctor called it Acute Stress Disorder and she took me off work. I was out on FMLA for 6 weeks.

Finding the positive in a negative – I got to spend 6 weeks with my daughter. There are countries that allow both parents to stay home with their newborn child for a year when they are born. I wish the United Stated allowed that. There are so many wonderful moments that happen in that first year. It is a shame that we have to go back to work while our babies are still so young.

Another positive: As the curve flattened, I officiated my first wedding for my friend, Theresa from high school. To say I was nervous is an understatement, but all went well and I didn’t mess anything up too bad. It was nice to see other friends from high school at the wedding, too. It was a bit weird, as there were many masks in the crowd, but that had kind of become the “norm.”

Division and hate

2020 brought more division and more hate. There has always been division in politics, but it seems that both parties hatred for each other was over the top. I’ve heard a lot of mudslinging in ads, but the stuff being said was brutal. The politicians seem to have forgotten who they are supposed to be representing and working for – the people of the country!

Everyone was offended by everything in 2020. Social media was full of arguments, name calling, and much more. Really, the media just continued to “feed” the public and make everyone more angry than they were to begin with. Jim Morrison of the Doors once said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Noam Chomsky takes it a little further:

I had to finally stop watching the news, and scroll past so many posts from friends. I couldn’t take it. It is totally ok for you to be passionate about your beliefs and your political stance. If it is different than my stance or beliefs, that’s ok, too. You and I can agree to disagree. I was saddened that so many friendships were broken because of the difference of opinion. Friendships that have lasted 30+ years ended because of this, and that breaks my heart. If only more people thought like Thomas Jefferson:

Blog Milestones and Hits and Misses

In 2020, I celebrated two years of blogging. I wrote my 300th blog. I still wrote many movie blogs and music blogs. The music blogs slowed as I started to neglect Tune Tuesday. I tried something new with Friday Movie Quotes, but that didn’t seem to go over too well, so I stopped. Most of my blogs were ramblings about my life and of course, my daughter.

The other blog that got a lot of views was my recent blog about the loss of my friend, and high school band director, Tom Shaner. I posted a link to this on my Facebook, and his daughter also shared it, so many people I didn’t even know read it. I received a private message from his brother who told me that he really appreciated my blog and how it enlightened him on the impact he had on his students. When I finished writing that blog, I didn’t think it did him any justice, but that private message proved otherwise.

Conclusion

As I look back on 2020, I see life’s “circle.” The high point of the year was the birth of my daughter, while the low point of the year was the passing of my friend, Tom. Life and death. A new life enters the world, while an old one leaves the world. Happiness and sadness. As life moves on, the circle continues. We see new births and new deaths.

A pastor once told me that birth is the beginning of death. You begin to die the moment you are born. There is truth to that. So as we look on the new “book” that is 2021, and we begin to write on the blank pages, let’s try to remember the words of actor Michael Landon:

Here’s to a Happy New Year for all of us!