My “Go to” Karaoke Song(s)

It has been some time since a “Daily Writing Prompt” moved me enough to use it as a blog idea. Today’s though, was definitely one I could use. The Prompt? “What is your ‘go to’ karaoke song?”

I have to admit, I have sung a lot of karaoke. I did this mainly when I was in my mid 20’s to early 30’s. My friends and I had a couple places that we’d go and sing at. Looking back at it, I have to laugh because they were all dive bars.

I started singing karaoke with my old morning show partner, who actually COULD sing. He had a great voice and often sang ballads from the Great American Song Book. It was always funny because you’d have these people up there singing Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Prince. Then he would get up and sing something from Robert Goulet!

At one point, between radio jobs, I actually hosted karaoke, which I thought would be fun, but it really wasn’t. It was then that I realized there were plenty of people who “thought” they could sing, but couldn’t. They come up to you with requests like, “Put some reverb on my voice” or “Pitch the song up or down” or “Give me more volume on my microphone” … It was crazy! These people are up there thinking their Shania Twain or John Lennon or something.

I have never claimed to be a good singer. I have a handful of songs that I can sing and sing them well. I know which songs my voice will never be able to handle. I stick with the ones I know I can do without embarrassing myself. In my repertoire were songs like: The Wonder of You (the Elvis version), Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Bad Case of Loving You (Robert Palmer), The Lady is a Tramp (Sinatra) , Mack The Knife (Bobby Darin), And I Love You So (lol – yes! The Perry Como song!), and That’s Amore (Gotta do some Dean Martin!).

If I had to pick the 3 karaoke songs that people would associate with me, they would be:

#3 – Tutti Fruiti by Little Richard

The reason for this is that back in the day, I used to change the lyrics to this. The lyrics were … well, not clean. People always laughed when I did this, however, today, I couldn’t do that any more. It’s just not who I am. I actually kind of cringe when I think of some of the lyrics I sang.

#2 Delilah – Tom Jones

I’m not going to lie, this was always a hard song to sing. Tom has such a great and powerful voice. The end of this song is tough. The night is fairly high – and you have to hold it for some time. That high and long note was nothing for my old morning show partner. He used to do this song a lot. I am not sure how or why I started singing it, but it became one I was always asked to sing.

#1 – Secret Agent Man – Johnny Rivers

By far, one of my favorite songs to sing, and hence, my “go to” karaoke song. It was always a favorite of mine growing up. The Johnny Rivers single was recorded live (I think at the Whiskey A Go Go). I probably heard my dad play this hundreds of times on his guitar. It has such a great intro and awesome solo. I remember one time I brought a fedora and a trench coat to the place we were singing so I could wear them when I sang this. Yeah, I was quite the dork in my 20’s!

While I loved singing karaoke, eventually it got old. I felt like I was going out and wasting money on alcohol, and being forced to sing the same things every time. There were plenty of other songs I would have loved to try, but the people I was with always made me sing the ones they wanted to hear (“It’s my birthday! You HAVE to sing Bad Case of Loving You!” etc…) The karaoke “scene” just wasn’t were I wanted to be anymore.

If there was karaoke at a work party or back yard BBQ, would I get up and sing today? Yeah, probably, but I would leave the fedora at home!

Words of Praise From Tricky Dickie

One of the things I love about the Facebook Memory Feed is every now and then something pops up I forgot about. Today is one of those instances.

I am sure that I have the letter referenced in this writing somewhere in a box at home. I don’t know where it is off the top of my head because it is a letter of recommendation for a radio job. Since I am no longer working in radio full-time, I packed it away as a reminder of a good friend.

11 years ago, (7-1-2010) I wrote the following:

He’s Been Off The Air For Years, And He Still Makes Me Laugh

Cleaning up the basement, I found a box of old cassettes. Most of them are my old radio shows from my Honey Radio days. In the box was one labeled, “Another Crappy Richard D. Show” – I probably labeled it. You must understand that Richard is a legend. He was one of the greatest bosses I ever worked for. The atmosphere in that building was constant fun, mainly because of his attitude. We all joked with each other, and each one of us was the butt of someone else’s jokes. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

I had to go to the college today and so I brought the cassette with me. In listening to it, I was reminded of a time when radio was fun. It was brilliant magic, and Richard was the magician. Richard knew personality radio and was a master at it. As a listened, I heard many of the familiar phrases he’d use:

“I’ve got the monocle on my mind’s eye, and you’re looking good today”.

“I brought my cerebral compass, which is here in case I lose my train of thought, I can find my way back”

“I’m the silly DJ from Savage, Minnesota….where they just decorated the town square….they bought him a suit”

“To my right is a wall. On the wall is a peg. On the peg, records. When I take one of the records off the peg and play it on the air, it becomes a Tricky Dickie Off The Wall Record”

“If you will allow me to open up Poor Richard D’s Almanac…” (which looked at famous birthdays and This Day In History). After reading his facts (and jokes) it would be followed by some kids saying, “Wow, we didn’t know all that stuff Richard D”…to which he would respond, “Of this (long pause) I am aware”

Then there were references to his family and residence.

“Hurricane Hazel” – his mother in law

“Bee-Bop” and “Doo Wop” – his boys

“Oldielocks” – his wife.

“Lack of Drive in Warren Michigan” – where he lives

And of course, there were plenty of Keith Allen jabs…..”That was Drag City by Jan and Dean…Keith Allen went there once in a dress”, for example.

Radio brilliance from a time long since gone.

During my time at WHND, I pestered him constantly for advice and for stories from his CHUM and WXZY days. I was probably a big pain is his neck, however, I never had to wonder what he thought of me again after reading his letter of recommendation for me. Honey Radio was going off the air and I asked him to write something I could use in my search for my next radio gig. Here is his letter:

November 29, 1994

To Whom It May Concern:

In contemplating what I might write about one of the best employees ever to pass through these doors, my mind focused on qualities one might use to measure any worker. Some, though not all, are listed below.

Attitude: Keith Allen is one of the most cooperative, cheerful, and positive people I have ever encountered in the workplace. I never had to talk to him about attitude adjustment. He seems to be upbeat by nature, and is a pleasure to be around.

Work Habits: Keith is self starting and self directed. Rarely, during his tenure here, did I have to steer him. He accomplished voluminous amounts of work in short time spans, and his energy level was high. He always did what I asked him to, without complaining, even when the task was not something he enjoyed.

Dedication: During Keith’s time here, his total focus was on Honey Radio, and how to make it better. He displayed a fierce pride and loyalty toward WHND. More often than not, he came in early for his shift, and stayed hours after it, contributing in whatever area he was needed. One of Keith’s strongest assets is his total love of and commitment to radio broadcasting.

Talent: Unless Keith Allen’s motivation level changes, he will be one of the great radio personalities of the future. He has the innate tools to master the art: a sense of what’s funny and what is not, great timing, a fantastic music background, and a good voice. If Keith doesn’t become a major talent someday, I’ll be very surprised.

Add it up: A person with a great attitude and disposition, a self starter with a high energy level, a person who loves the medium, an individual who is dependable and reliable, and a person with enormous talent. The sum is someone, I’m sure, you will want to add to your operation.

Sincerely,
Richard D. Haase
Program Director, WHND


Richard is still working in radio … as a tech guy now. I’m sure the atmosphere in his presence is still the same. (Very rarely was he in a bad mood.) He is like a 12 year old trapped in an adult body! Perhaps that’s why we got along – neither one of us have grown up. I’m honored to have worked for him and more honored to call him a friend.

Over 20 years later, and you still make me laugh, pal. Thanks!

11 Years Later – 2021

Richard is still around, though retired. Life has certainly changed for both of us over the years. I think of him often, and recently caught up with him on the phone. Though he is a bit older, his voice is still as strong as ever. In the time we chatted, it was obvious that his wit was quick as ever. It was great to just pick up where we left off.

Amongst the many boxes of radio stuff, I have some of Richard’s old WHND shows. The last time I listened to them was probably about 7 years ago. A mutual friend and co-worker and burned them to CD for me and I listened to them on my way into work. With every Keith Allen joke, every bad pun, and every silly laugh, I found myself back in 1994 and laughing at jokes he probably wrote in 1964! I’m sure if I popped those shows in today, I would still laugh….all these years later!

The Legendary Richard D!

Chasing Fireflies

Last night, I sat outside on the porch after I put Ella to bed. It was still light out, so I grabbed the baby monitor and my Bible and went out to read. As evening rolled in and it started to get dark, I looked out into the yard and watched as the fireflies were turning their “lights” on and off. I set my Bible on the chair and walked out into the yard to just watch the magic of these little bugs.

As I stood watching them, a memory came rushing back to me that I wanted to write about before I forgot about it. It took place when I was probably between 5 or 7 years old. We moved to a new house in 1976, and I know there is a picture from this trip with me in a shirt from my old elementary school, so that narrowed the time frame down for me.

Our family borrowed my grandpa’s pickup truck, which had one of those campers that sat in the bed of the truck on it. It kind of looked like this:

We drove it to Ohio for a trip to King’s Island and Sea World. My mom had an old friend that lived in Ohio and we visited them on the trip. My mom’s friend had three daughters and two of them were twins. I think this was the first time I had ever met twins and I probably always got their names wrong. This picture is of my brother and I with the girls in the camper.

We only have one other picture of us all together and I am going to guess this was at Sea World because I think this is supposed to be a walrus. Not sure who the two guys in the back were, but I remembered hating that they were in our picture!

Any way, I remember we spent the night at their house. I am guessing we stayed in the camper, but I am not certain. At any rate, I remember their back yard was huge. There were train tracks that ran along the back of their property and we actually got to see a train come through.

That night was first time I ever saw a firefly. We we all outside playing and the fireflies started flashing. I asked what they were and the girls told me. They seemed surprised that I had never seen them before. As I recall, we all got jars and began to catch them in our hands and put them in the jars. I remember being amazed at these things.

I remember not being afraid of them (I was afraid of wasps and bees). I remember watching them in my hand and in the jars. They just kept flashing away. It wasn’t until a few years later, that we learned that the fireflies were signaling each other in search of a mate.

We have plenty of pictures from our trip to Kings Island and Sea World. However, we have no pictures of us chasing the fireflies. Yet, this memory came back to me as vivid as ever. Go figure. I probably stood out in my yard for about 5 or 10 minutes just watching nature’s light show, remembering a very enlightening evening!

Thank you “Friend”

I went to the side door to put some boxes in the recycle bin and noticed a small box on the porch. Sam has ordered a few toys for Ella, so I assumed it was for her. I noticed that the box was addressed to me. I asked Sam if she had ordered anything for me, and she told me she hadn’t.

I opened up the box and found this note inside:

I opened the box and there was another box inside.

I’m not going to lie, I had no idea what this thing was. So I opened it and found that it was an electric razor that is made to shave your head. It has a few other attachments (beard trimmer, nose hair trimmer, etc…). It’s actually pretty cool.

It had a charge on it when it arrived, so before I showered, I actually used it on my head. It works pretty good. I was really surprised. I never used to have luck with electric razors, on my face at least. It was actually a close shave.

I have an idea of who might have sent this, but no one wants to claim responsibility. So here is a public “thank you” to the thoughtful friend who sent me this gift. I appreciate it very much. You are very kind.

I Just Want To Make It All Better

As a parent, you hate to see your child sick. You feel helpless. All you want to do is take away the hurt. You want to make them feel better. You know that they are miserable and you would gladly bear their pain and suffering to allow them to get well.

The past few weeks have been hard on my little girl. Two weeks ago, she had yet another ear infection. After a full run of antibiotics, she began to show signs of being sick again. She spent a lot of time cuddling and laying next to me on the couch.

She had a slight fever yesterday and last night she was up almost all night inconsolable. I was at work, and Sam tried everything to get her to calm down. She finally calmed down early this morning and was able to sleep a little bit. She was asleep when I got home from work and Sam called her doctor to see if she could get her in.

The doctor said that her ear infection was actually worse. She was surprised that the week’s worth of the antibiotic didn’t touch it. She ran a bunch of tests to make sure it was not something else (Covid, RSV, Flu, etc) and they all came back negative. The ears have a lot of inflammation and so she has some ear drops to take as well as another antibiotic. We are hoping that this does the trick. If not, we could be looking at a hospital stay.

When she was born, she did not pass her hearing test in one ear. After retesting, she passed. However, at that time, they told us that she’d probably be prone to ear infections in that ear, and may even need tubes at some point. I believe we may be at that point. We’ve scheduled an appointment with an ENT and hope to have more answers after that.

In the meantime, we continue to pray that she feels better. Can I ask that you do the same? Thank you in advance.

I hope you feel better soon, my princess. I love you as big as the world!

XOXO

Daddy.

National “Let It Go” Day

National Let It Go Day is celebrated on June 23 of every year. On this occasion, forget every regretful situation and the things that play on our minds and lead us to become angry, frustrated, hurt, guilt-ridden, or even embarrassed. It is time to let them go.

This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned over the past 4 years. There are just some things you need to not focus on. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

A Very Happy Father’s Day

As Father’s Day approached this year, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. My oldest son works so much, and when he isn’t working, he’s usually hanging out with his friends. My youngest son hasn’t been here in a couple months, and when I have gone to pick him up, I end up coming home without him. So, if I am being 100% honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d see them this weekend (despite the fact that it was Father’s Day).

So last week, my oldest called and said he wanted to get together. I suggested we go to breakfast or that I could make breakfast for them. He liked the idea and called me again on Saturday. There was a classic car show at one of the county parks, and he suggested we go there. I loved the idea.

So Sunday morning, I ran up to the store to grab some bacon and sausage. By 9:30, when they arrived, I had the meat all fried up, toast in the toaster, and eggs ready to go. We sat and enjoyed breakfast together and we were on the road by 10:30. I had packed the stroller in the car the night before, so all I needed to worry about was packing a diaper bag.

It was a lot hotter than I thought it was going to be Sunday, but we stayed in the shade as much as we could. We walked around and got to see some amazing cars. There was a 1902 Oldsmobile that was taking people for rides throughout the park. One of the funniest things was when my son asked me about this big rubber bulb on one of the cars. He had no idea that it was the horn!

He laughed when I told him! Then we started to notice them on all the older cars. We saw Ford Model A’s, Ford Model T’s, some classic old Buicks and so much more. My oldest loves old cars and it was amazing to hear him spout off the year, make and model as we approached them. There were also a variety of old police cars, army jeeps, and some really unique vehicles there.

There was a car that my son had seen at a car show a couple years ago and he got all excited. “Dad! That’s an upside down van … and it drives like that!” It was actually cool to look at, but even cooler to see driving around!

I wish I had gotten a picture of the inside of that!

It’s always cool to see cars done up to look like famous cars. The General Lee wasn’t there, but Ella got to meet Herbie the Love Bug!

There’s a paddle boat (The Genesee Belle) that usually runs during the summer. It is not running this year yet, because it has to undergo a bunch of inspections. The gal inside the boat told us that because of Covid, and the boat not running, it needed some extra looking over. We were, however, able to go up on the boat and look over the lake.

It was almost noon when we stopped by the boat, and I could see that despite drinking lots of water, Ella was starting to get hot. We had already bought tickets to ride the train at noon, so we decided that we’d do the train ride and head back home. The steam engine wasn’t running this weekend, so a diesel engine pulled all the passengers.

The train cars are all about 100 years old. They have all been refurbished and are quite comfortable. They all have the old wooden framed windows that can occasionally fall down for no reason. We had hoped to ride in an open air car, but they were all full by the time we got to the train. We sat in the car with the windows open.

The train goes about 10 miles an hour and the cars kinda rock back and forth. Since we were close to Ella’s nap time, it was no surprise that she fell asleep on me during the ride. Not even the loud whistle of the train woke her up. It is always fun to hear the engineer tell stories of the train while you are riding. The railroad got it’s name (Huckleberry Railroad) because the story goes that the people riding the train could jump off one of the front cars, pick some huckleberries to snack on, and still be able to jump back on one of the end cars of the train.

When we got back to the depot, we stopped for a few more photo opportunities and left to grab lunch and head home.

When we got back home, Ella was still tired and went down for a nap. I spent some time talking to my sons about the classes my oldest is going to take in college and the golf lessons that my youngest is taking. It was nice to have some quality time and conversation with them. Ella woke up just before the boys had to head to dinner with their mom. Sam woke up for work before they left and made sure that I got pictures of me and the boys and me and all of the kids.

When Sam left for work, it was just me and Ella. We may have over did it a bit as she was running a little fever. So I snuggled up with her on the couch and we watched cartoons together. Before putting her to bed, I grabbed the new book that I got from her for Father’s Day and read it to her…

I absolutely love this book. So simple, yet so meaningful. “My dad love me!” Yes, sweetheart. He does. Very much!

The last book I read to her is another favorite.

I feel like I have been reading her this book forever! It never gets old. As a matter of fact, it means more every time I read it. This is such a short story, but it expresses the love of a parent for their child so perfectly. Here is the entire book without pictures:

I’m sure my sons would think I’m nuts if I read this to them today! I mean they are both cool teenagers now, right?! But this book really sums up how I feel about all of my children, the three who are here and the one that is one the way!

What a truly amazing Father’s Day. I thank God for blessing me with these wonderful children and I pray every day that I can be the Dad that they need me to be. I love them all “as big as the world!”

The Little Redhead Girl Who Made Me Cry

If you have a Facebook page, you know that sometimes you will see the same post posted by one or more of your friends. Sometimes it can be weeks, months or even a year before you see it again, but you will. That was the case with a recent post by one of my high school teacher friends.

Even though it wasn’t the movie I saw, I still answer this question with “Annie.” No, I didn’t see the movie until much later in life (and against my will, by the way), but I did see the play. It left me terrified and sad. I believe I mentioned this once before in passing, so I figured I would tell the whole story.

Elementary School – (Third Grade I think – about 1978-1979)

The Broadway play, Annie, debuted in 1977 and was a HUGE hit. A year or so later, the upper classmen of our school put on the play for us. Darcia (a fourth grader, if I am right about being in third grade) was cast as Annie. Darcia and I would remain friends throughout school and played in band together in high school.

I remember they took our entire class down to the gym and we all found spots on the floor to watch the play. I remember you really had to look up to see the stage from where we were sitting. The play, of course, opens in the orphanage. The kids are treated poorly by the alcoholic Miss Hannigan. I remember hearing “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” and feeling bad for the kids.

Then there was Annie – Darcia. Darcia was one of the prettiest girls in school. She was also one of the smartest. Anyway, she was perfect for the part. If you remember the story, Annie has half a locket that was left with her on the doorstep of the orphanage. Annie hopes that one day her parents will return for her.

As a young boy of 8 or 9 years old, the thought of this scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t comprehend it. Why would parents give their child to an orphanage? Would my parents ever not want me? Why was this mean woman treating these kids so bad? Don’t they have it bad enough? So many thoughts! So many things ran through my head. I highly doubt I caught most of the rest of the play because I was so deep in thought.

Here was a beautiful little girl, just hoping for a good “tomorrow.” When Annie sings that song, I remember feeling so sad for her! I wanted tomorrow to be better for her, too! I will ruin the end of the story for you – there is a happy ending and Annie winds up in a wonderful home, adopted by Daddy Warbucks. Despite the happy ending, I was left traumatized.

I remember going home that day and feeling so much sadness. I went to my room and just cried. My mom came in to see just what was going on. I begged her with tears in my eyes to never make me an orphan. At that particular moment, she had no idea what I was talking about or why. I remember her looking at me and asking me why I was talking about that.

I remember explaining to her that we watched a play about orphans. I’m sure she figured out quickly that it was Annie. I told her about the little girl who was left there by her parents and the more I explained, the harder I cried. All my mom could do was hug me and tell me “it was only a play” and that she was not going to make me an orphan. She must have thought I lost my mind! I can only imagine what she told my dad when he got home!

I remember still being upset at bed time. That play really stuck with me. It was quite a long time before I didn’t think about it.

I remember seeing Darcia on the playground during recess, or in the hallway or in the cafeteria at school and she always smiling. That smile always helped me to remember that she was not an orphan and was a very happy person.

Darcia is also friends with the teacher who posted the question. When she saw my answer, she replied by saying, “Please don’t tell me it was the fourth grade play version!” To be honest, I thought I had shared this story with her before, but I guess I didn’t. I can look back on it now, and chuckle that the play affected me that much, but then again, I’ve always been the one to cry at the silliest things (Just recently, I cried at an episode of Bluey my daughter was watching!)

One thing is for certain, though, Darcia was one hell of an actress, and her performance in the play was award worthy!

“The sun’ll come out … tomorrow! Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow …. there’ll be sun ….”

Coming Soon – Song Draft

One of the blogs I follow – Slice The Life (See his site here: https://slicethelife.com/) is hosting a Song Draft next month. Over 12 weeks, I’ll be choosing my picks (songs) much like one would draft a player in a Fantasy Football draft.

A few of my blogger friends took part in his last “draft” which was all movies. They had genres to draft (Sci-Fi, Western, Comedy, etc…) and I wish I had been able to take part in that. It was fun to read the various reviews and thoughts on the movies and why they picked them.

For the song draft, there is no specific genre required. If I want, I can pick all Dean Martin songs, all instrumentals, or all songs with numbers in the title. This is my first time participating in this sort of draft, so I think having genres may actually have helped me pick the songs a bit more, but having the freedom to pick from whatever songs I want is kind of cool, too.

I plan to do this much like I did Tune Tuesday, where I focused on one particular song. I actually went back through and looked at all the songs I wrote about (I think I got them all), so I wouldn’t repeat any. I have already listened to all the songs on my iPod in hopes that some would really stick out. There are a few. I’m not really sure how I plan on picking my songs, but I’m excited to be a part of it. Look for it to begin sometime in July!

Thanks to my pal, Max of the Power Pop Blog (See his site here: https://powerpop.blog/) for inviting me to be a part of it and to Hans at Slice the Life for allowing me to be a part of it.