Concert report

Just over a week ago my wife and I saw Kansas in concert in Scottsdale. I saw Kansas way back in the “80’s” but my spouse hadn’t and she didn’t know they incorporate violin in many of their songs which sets them apart from most classic rock bands. It was great, they did Carry On Wayward Son as the encore!

Late last summer we saw Alice Cooper, Deep Purple and the Edgar Winter Band where Alice who is an Arizona resident was an incredible showman. Deep Purple is the oldest touring group and it’s their final tour. That’s probably a good thing and Edgar Winter doesn’t sing much but he still plays well.

Just over a year ago we saw Ann Wilson of Heart at the Celebrity Theatre which slowly turns ensuring you get a good look at the group. It’s sad that the Wilson sisters cannot mend their fence because they were so good together. Ann is the lead singer and she did most of their hits but carefully selected those where she didn’t have to hit the high notes. We saw Heart almost seven years ago when they were here with Def Leppard, Journey, and Billy Squire. Heart was the best of the show.

At the same venue in Scottsdale just over three years ago, we saw the Moody Blues outdoors which was the coldest May night in history. It was a great show and the Moody Blues said: “We asked our agent to book us in warm climates, I thought this was Phoenix, where’s the heat?”

 

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Don’t let life pass you by

Life, so they say, is a game but we let it slip away. Seal’s & Crofts got that right, about life slipping away anyway and many would agree that it’s like a game. From our earliest memories, time seemed to stand still compared to today where it rushes by in a flash.

As a child when time dragged we got bored. When is the last time you had the luxury to be bored? Most adults can’t find the time to be bored between work, maintaining a relationship, kids and maintaining the house with regular chores we barely find time for our hobbies and personal goals.

Compared with our parents or grandparents we had the television as our babysitter.  The T.V. consumes a good part of most of our lives. Sure there’s some good information or lessons, but when’s the last time you sat down and read a book?

Moreover, the baby boomers probably have the best understanding of going outside to play as a kid. With the cell phones, computers, tablets and the game programs era, time is spent looking at the blue light emitted by these devices. This does little for physical conditioning.

Someday when you stop and think back on your life you will remember a lot of the simple things in life. The beauty of nature, the marvel of the stars and of course all the special times or trips when you took the time to see these things. It’s really an awesome world that we have here. Make some memories today.

Super puzzling

The big game is only a matter of hours away. Despite the typical promotions, pomp, and circumstance the interest by fans is minimal. The two teams have the same record, nearly identical statistics so it should prove to be a better game than some in the past. Why the disinterest?

I’ve heard numerous radio personalities making these aforementioned statements about the Super Bowl and one reason they came up with that sounds feasible is the fact that it’s being held in frosty Minnesota. I mean the Pro Bowl was held in rainy Florida this year instead of Hawaii and we’re accustomed to the Super Bowl being played in a warmer climate especially those living in the northern parts of the country.

That may account for a small percentage of the disinterest. I believe this puzzled quandary is the culmination of this entire season. Anyone that has followed the huge controversy this year where many of the millionaire players that are paid to entertain us refused to stand for our National Anthem.

This inconsiderate act by hundreds of players across the league has led to fans burning their season tickets, a huge drop in attendance and of course an enormous drop in viewers on television as well.  Our veterans have been thoroughly disgusted by the players’ display (Vets provided their freedom to play the game) as are the fans. The players and the cowardly Commissioner should have picked a different time and place to air their concerns because millions of fans have boycotted your season, the playoffs and the Super Bowl. Congratulations players you have officially elevated the other sports to the top spots once again as the NFL has plummeted to new lows.

Good or bad is shocking

Since we are bombarded by social media every day we encounter good news and bad news on a regular basis. Either news can be shocking to us depending on what it is and how important the content is to us. Before the advent of social media, before the internet, we got our news in the paper, TV, a weekly magazine or from a friend or neighbor.

Receiving the news in person has the speaker witnessing the expression of shock on our face. The facial expression exchange can be priceless. How do you stay up-to-date with current events? Am I promoting gossip? Heavens no, that’s typically not trustworthy news anyway. If anything I’m just encouraging a little more human interaction.

Haven’t you seen the videos and commercials of people walking down the street so engrossed in their phone that they walk into a pole? If anything I would encourage more interaction with one another. A really old song may be appropriate here by Dionne Warwick’s What The World Needs Now Is Love.

Lopsided news from networks

Growing up everybody, for the most part, trusted and believed what you read, heard or saw in the news. Then there was a trust and respect that was earned by journalists and reporters for most of us it was the only source and contact with the outside world. Then things evolved as TV brought us live video from the Vietnam War and from there we’ve been on the technology express.

Now we get breaking news breaks online, we hear about a lot of major events only moments after it happens. As a result for the past ten years or more public trust in the traditional news sources has dwindled. “Public trust in traditional media has fallen to an all-time low as people increasingly favor their friends and contacts on the internet as sources of news and truth”, according to Financial Times earlier this year.

Case in point goes back to the 2016 Presidential election where the media’s reports were the other candidate won the election. The media along with the other party blamed the loss on Russian interference. Mainstream media and celebrities spent a shocking 75 percent of their time since then discussing Russian/Trump collusion theory.

It has now been proven to not only be false but the FBI has revealed that President Obama and Hillary are guilty of Russian collusion. Surprisingly the media hasn’t mentioned this news except for a minute of time and print. Trust is a difficult thing. The saying “fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me” is evident. What does the future hold for the networks?

NFL players ascent marred by politics

In all my years of watching professional football, I’ve never seen anything like this. Attendance and viewing have dropped to an all-time low for the NFL. After all, fans pay to see these millionaires play the game, to perform for their amusement. The political stunts have created millions of ex-NFL fans.

Fans know that the protesting players are doing this in an anti-patriotic exhibit. Players claim that they are protesting for civil rights-really? The media has been quiet about this fact that the players are politically forced to protest by their union.

The union president Eric Winston called President Trump’s remarks to Commissioner Goodell’s memo “a slap in the face of civil rights heroes” but NFL fans don’t support Winston’s statement. Goodall sent a memo to all 32 teams asking them to stand for the national anthem and our President applauded the memo. The NFL Hall of Fame has just placed nearly 800 flags all around the perimeter in Canton, Ohio in a patriotic stand for Huddle Up America.

The players union NFLPA is to blame for the worst attendance in NFL history. You can look on Youtube and see season ticket holders burning their tickets because they don’t want to see these rich, elite anti-patriot, anti-veteran folks air their laundry.

Setting a scene

Television and movies directors spend a great deal of time in the setting of a scene.  Of course, scenes vary from the tame and docile to the exciting and frantic spectrums. It’s not uncommon for the opening scene in a television show or a movie to start out peaceful and quiet. But particularly today’s action movies start out with fast-paced conflict and struggles. Box office numbers revealed that high-speed action captures the audience early on and holds their attention.

The same principles apply to posting on the internet. Sure most everybody likes the classic piano playing cat video but thrilling action catches the viewers attention. Does your story need fast-action appeal for a kickstart? That is up to you and whether the action fits in with your storyline.

As the writer only you know how and where the scenes play out in your production. Is a rock-n-roll beginning the best way to begin your story? Then again perhaps your storyline is more of a waltz or something that builds a crescendo into a fever pitch. Whatever your theme is, be sure to use the appropriate direction as the director.

Very interesting

When you find something is of great interest you continue to observe or read on. If it catches your eye, peaks your interest you are compelled to forge on. As a writer, it’s your key to hold the reader’s interest or you inevitably will lose them as they move on to something else.

Depending on your subject say perhaps current events an insiders perspective could turn some heads. Celebrity interviews are always a hit. For most of us, celebrity interviews are unattainable. Something that most reporters have shied away from in recent years is human interest stories.

I know growing up TV and newspapers did a lot of special interest stories especially the smaller local ones. The interest is the human, personal factor it’s something we can all relate to. If it interests you chances are it will be of interest to someone else but of course, you can never please all of the people all of the time.

What happened to journalism?

This past weekend I opened my local newspaper and on the front page, I saw not one but two glaring typos in the sub-headings. These were words that were irrelevant to the heading and were not caught by spell check. It sent out different messages to me. First I had to guess at what the correct word was they were looking for in order for it to make sense. Don’t reporters review their work anymore? How could an editor allow these kinds of mistakes?

I worked for a newspaper twenty years ago. My editor had words with me on a regular basis about how I didn’t adhere to Associated Press standards. When I wrote for magazines the editors said they didn’t have to change a word. Regardless, it’s obvious that this kind of standards has been thrown out the window in favor of anything to sell a paper. How can you have any respect for those that just do what they want?

AP says transparency is critical to their credibility. Today sources quotes are taken out of context and used to fit their agenda. How many times are anonymous sources used when AP is adamant that those sources only be used if:

  •  The material is information and not opinion or speculation, and is vital to the news report. That would hinder sales.
  • The information is not available except under the conditions of anonymity imposed by the source. lol
  • The source is reliable, and in a position to have accurate information. LOL again.

Millions of Americans now find other sources for information because the Mainstream Media cannot be trusted. The great Walter Cronkite would be appalled by the media today. Wake up media and report the news, the facts and not just those that fit your monologue.

Quill to parchment

The quill to parchment method of writing was used for centuries, no for two millennia with paper finally replacing parchment as the writing surface. Although it is reported that paper was invented in China about 105 AD made of bark, fibers of rags, and hemp. Before the quill, the writing instrument was the reed pen who’s origin was about 400 BC. Both were dipped into ink to write with, although the quill was much more durable made of a feather that could be cut down to sharpen it for extended use much like a pencil.

The pen and paper obviously are still used but is slowly being phased out with tablets and computers as the writer’s choice. It should be mentioned that the quill and reed pen utilized capillary action where ink was drawn up into the instrument and slowly released as you wrote on the surface. You think there’s a problem with modern fountain pens there was no comparison for an entire document could be destroyed by a pause with ink flowing and/or dripping across your work.

Progress has yielded convenience and efficiency to our fingertips. We have it so easy compared to our ancestors and still, some of us balk at sending a relative so much as an email.  Imagine how hard that letter would have been with a quill and parchment. The mind can only imagine what the future has in store for later generations as a means to communicate. Telepathy?