Monthly Archives: March 2011

What Makes You Happy?

Here’s a partial list from me: A sunset over the ocean. A smile on a loved ones face. An ice cream on a hot summer day. Or a Popsicle. A friendly dog that doesn’t bark or bite. Watching “The Office.” Reading a really fantastic book. Going to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. Spring after a long winter. The Boston Red Sox (when they’re winning). I could go on and on.

But in these ever changing rapid fire days in which employers are asking employees to do more and more and with an increasing number of people feeling isolated and alone, its important to stop for a second and ask yourself what makes you happy. And then do it.

According to a web site called these are ten of the most common things that people say when asked “What makes you happy?”

1. Watching a sunrise
2. Feeling the sun on my face
3. A comment from a reader saying I have inspired them
4. The sound of children playing
5. Seeing a pelican each morning on the way back from the beach ( most mornings)
6. The magic I feel when I see a rainbow forming
7. Walking on the beach to start the day. Just this morning this lifted my vibes.
8. The magic of the love I share with Des
9. Meeting an old friend and feeling like it was yesterday.
10. Memories of childhood holidays

Some people say the life is not supposed to be about being happy all the time. They say we’re supposed to suffer a little bit. (Where did that idea come from. Wait, I know. Religion.)

But doctors have been saying since before the beginning of history (Spinal Tap reference) that being happy keeps a person healthy and extends that persons life.

Look around. You can tell just by looking at people whether they’ve spent the majority of their lives smiling or frowning. Talk to people and you’ll find our pretty fast.

But here’s a small secret that I’ve learned in my 50 years on the planet and which I will share with you today. Ready? Here goes….

We all want the same thing. We all want to have good health. We all want our friends and family to be healthy and happy. We all want to watch our favorite program on the television. We all want to eat delicious foods. And none of us want to die.

Well, my mother always told me that there only two things in life that are definite. We gotta pay the government taxes. And we’re all going to die.

So we might as well be happy while we’re alive. That’s my message for today.

This is kind of a lousy time of the year. Old man winter is still hanging on here in the northern part of the United States. Its almost April and its freezing out. There’s devastation in Japan and suffering and revolution in Libya. People are struggling to make ends meet. Being happy ain’t as easy as you might think.

But just for a few moments think a good thought. Or maybe call a friend. Or do something nice for somebody in need. It will make at least two people happy for a spell

Only another few billion to go and we’ll be so happy we could burst.


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The Greatest Live Act In Rock and Roll History?

Was there really ever any doubt about who is the greatest live act in Rock and Roll history?

The answer, of course, is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band by a mile. Not even close.

At least that’s according to Rolling who asked readers to rate the Top Ten Greatest Bands of all time.

Here’s what Rolling says: “When Springsteen began performing with the E Street Band in 1972 it was a four man-group, with Clarence Clemons on the saxophone, Danny Federici on the organ, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez on drums and Garry Tallent on bass. When the group last toured in 2009 there were 11 people onstage with Springsteen, and although the sound has grown more elaborate the band hasn’t lost any of the passion or the power they originally had. They’ve been off the road for about a year and a half, but the rumor mill says that a 2012 tour may be in the works.”

Well, thanks folks for confirming what I’ve been saying since I first saw Bruce and The Mighty E Street Band blow the roof off the joint way back in 1978. No other band brings the same energy, passion, electricity, musicianship, endurance, (Did I mention passion?), and overall satisfaction that Bruce and The E Street Band. Some might call me obsessive, but I’ve seen the band perform over the last 30-plus years about 50 times (which is nothing compared to the “concert count” of some Springsteen fanatics!). And I have never once been disappointed. Au contraire, mon frere.

Instead I’ve been awed by the way the band has not only stayed together as a solid unit but also has maintained it’s incredible strength and dominance as rock and rollers. From the soaring saxaphone still played nightly by the bands eldest member, Clarence Clemons, to the majestic guitar work by Springsteen, Steve Van Zandt and the vastly underrated Nils Lofgren and the howling vocals of Bruce Springsteen (who’s voice has matured with age), these guys can’t be beat.

Sure there are some other great bands out there and I’ve seen quite a few of them. (If you’re wondering…The Rolling Stones were a distant second, with Mick and Keith huffing and puffing to keep up with Bruce and the band. U2 came in a surprising distant 6th.)

But nobody comes close to holding an audience in complete rapture for 3 hours night after night after night like Bruce and the band. Each show I’ve seen has been a roller coaster ride of emotions featuring flat out rockers, melodic mid-tempo numbers and slow ballads that has left me breathless and exhausted and wanting more.

The synergistic combustion of energy that gets passed from the band to the audience and back again in a semingly never ending cycle is what really makes Bruce and the band the best.

If you’ve never seen the band perform live you’ve really missed out on something special:

So thanks to the well informed and hip readers of Rolling for a well deserved tip of the cap to the greatest band in the land. And if you ever get a chance to see Bruce and the E Street Band in concert…run…don’t walk to the nearest show.

You’ll thank me later.


Filed under Music

Some Ways To Improve The Academy Awards

The reviews of the 2011 Academy Awards have been out for a day or two and they are not favorable.

According to those who really care about these things, the 2011 Academy Awards were among the worst ever of the modern televised age. Words like dull, boring, tiresome, tedious, overwrought, inane, unfunny, contrived and trivial are being tossed around and those are just being used to describe the first five minutes.

James Franco and Anne Hathaway (wasn’t she the secretary on the Beverly Hillbillies…oops, wrong Hathaway) were apparently brought in to try and attract a younger demographic. Tragically, Franco and Hathaway seemed young enough to be the grandchildren of most of the people in the audience. Ratings were reportedly the lowest in many years.

Something must be done. The Academy Awards presentation is an institution and is typically the most important of all the myriad of awards presentations that are rolled out each new year. And the changes must be as revolutionary as the protests in the streets that brought a changing of the guard to Egypt.

So I’ve come up with a few ideas, with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, of how to revitalize and resuscitate the Oscars. Some of you may scoff at my ideas and think they are too radical. I say major changes are needed or the Academy Awards may be replaced in the television line-up next year with “Skating With The Stars” or some other insulting form of “entertainment.”

1. Most importantly the Oscars must be shortened to no longer than an hour and a half. My better half, the lovely Janet, believes two hours would be more appropriate. I believe that in this age of A.D.D, two hours seems to most television viewers a lifetime. So I will compromise on my suggestion, in the name of love and harmony and say, one hour and forty-five minutes. Tops. Not a single second longer. And I have the perfect popular personality to keep track of time next year.

The one and only Flav-O-Flav.

2. The program must be switched from the networks to cable and be shown on HBO or Showtime, so as to allow for a fair amount of vulgarity and nudity. Every year people act shocked when an Oscar recipient curses and the network attempts to bleep out the “dirty word.” What a joke! Everyone knows what the person has said and if you can’t make it out or read lips it your own damned fault. And wouldn’t it be much more interesting to see our most beloved stars parade out to center stage wearing nothing more than their birthday suit. Complete nudity would most certainly make for a more entertaining Red Carpet.

If an actor or actress feels too embarrassed to bare all, they can only enter the auditorium in an egg. If it was good enough for Lady Gaga at the Grammys, it’s good enough for anybody else.

3. The Red Carpet must move. Similar to those people movers we see at airports. People are spending far too long hanging out on the Red Carpet. This year I saw funny guy Russell Brand dragging his poor Mum all over the Red Carpet so that he could be interviewed by at least 5 different people. Let’s get things moving. How many photographs do we need of Harrison Ford and his date anyway?

Personally, I’d be much more interested to see him come dressed in full Indiana Jones costume regalia. And who knows, that whip could really come in handy.

4. The Televised Winning Categories Must Be Limited To the following: Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Documentary and Best Foreign Film.

Can you honestly tell me that you were on the edge of your seat when they awarded the Oscar for Best Lighting In A Film? Not me. And I especially don’t care about the best animation for anything.

Let the children who enjoy those films have their own awards ceremony.

5. And finally for now…Bring Back Billy Crystal. He was the best host ever. Hands down. Hands up too. Pay him whatever he wants. Fly him in on the Concorde. Let him do his old bit with the throat lozenge. Whatever. Billy Crystal was the best thing about the Academy Awards for a long, long time. Bring him back.

And whatever you do, no more songs. Music has its own awards show. Stick to the good old flicks.

Good luck.

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Bee Gees

An everlasting smile
A smile could bring you near to me
Don’t ever let me find you gone
‘Cause that would bring a tear to me

This world has lost it’s glory
Let’s start a brand new story
Now my love right now there’ll be
No other time and I can show you
How my love

Talk in everlasting words
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my life
I’m here if you should call to me

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say

It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away

It’s only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away

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