Nashville cats

Nashville is known as Music City USA. It’s much, much more than the Grand old Oprey,  as so very many stars got their start on a local stage inside a bar. This mural on the wall outside of Tootsie’s orchid lounge is one of the most famous venues for starting artists.

Today there are dozens of clubs that feature live talent day and night. I would compare Tootsie’s to the Apollo where the people determine the best talent. The difference is these clubs have band’s in front, back and on multiple floors.

In particular everyone knows Nashville is the country music Capitol featuring music row a road lined with record companies. There are also museums for many of the biggest stars like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and more.

If you’re not familiar with those names perhaps you’ve heard of Ray Stevens. We got to see him perform at his own venue called CabaRay. He said he was a “frustrated architect” seeing all the flaws he encountered over the years. His club was incredible much like the very old Vegas style.

Ray is not only a great singer he’s an awesome comedian. Our faces hurt from laughter. Many of his songs crossed all the genres including Everything is Beautiful, a lesson for today.

Advertisements

In only a days time

This only goes to demonstrate that a lot can happen in a days time. Seventeen years ago on tomorrow September 11th terror reigned down on the World trade center towers, the Pentagon and another plane was prevented from killing others by courageous passengers.

Some might compare the act to the attack on Pearl Harbor that put the USA in WWII. Regardless, those that perpetrated these attacks, mass murders were self-serving psychopaths. That act 17 years ago began the war on radical Isam.

Where were you during 911?

That week 17 years ago I flew in North Carolina for national sales meetings. On my arrival the airport it was bustling, busy with business nearly elbow to elbow with people. It should also be mentioned that the airlines had their own security there wasn’t a TSA. Then our sales meeting was suddenly disrupted by the first plane and we saw the second one live on TV in horror. After all, we were about 280 miles away from the Pentagon tragedy.

I was supposed to leave on Friday afternoon but all flights were canceled. I called the airline over and over day after day and finally got on the first flight out on Sunday which they claimed could be overbooked.

I arrived at the airport, there was nobody in sight except military personnel. All the stores, restaurants and appeared even airlines were closed. I reported to my gate before my time, I was the only person there. Finally, a few more passengers showed up and more as the departure time drew near. At the last minute, a ticket taker popped out of the wall and we started to board.

The entire experience on my departure was eerie. From the airport to all the passengers suspicious of each other and the plane wasn’t even half occupied. Fear had taken over. The primary function of our federal government is to protect the people. On that day they failed miserably.

How do you progress?

Progress is something that’s desired and acquired day after day. Progress isn’t the same for everyone. Something as simple as a geographical destination for each person using GPS the results should be the same right? No it depends on your point of origin and more importantly if you veer off course your path is bound to be different.

So direction is key in achieving most any goal. Speed is not of importance what is paramount is staying the course putting one foot in front of the other so to speak. When we do that reaching our destination or goals is making progress.

Years ago I used to work as a DJ for weddings and at parties and even a nightclub. I had a set of music that was suitable for the clients and of course I did requests. Looking back it was a lot of fun, setting up all the equipment myself was the most taxing part. At a wedding for example as the day or usually night went on I had dozens of people come up and say, “You know, you’re the greatest.” Generally I know it was the liquor talking but it felt nice to be appreciated.

I closed nearly every show with my best wishes for the bride & groom or customers as they imparted on their walk of life. Then I would play Walk of Life by Dire Straights, an awesome song about where you’re going.

Working for the weekend

Is everybody working for the weekend? Especially if it’s for a holiday weekend the answer would be a strong yes. This year the 4th of July fell on a Wednesday breaking up the week without the three or four day weekend we’re accustomed to. I couldn’t remember the last time but it wasn’t that long ago as it happened in 2012.

This mid-week holiday was not only tough on us but was equally tough on the businesses that count on holiday weekends as their Black Friday sales event. So do you plan on celebrating the holiday on the days leading up to it or after including the weekend? Of course, everyone did some celebrating on the 4th but not to excess if you had to work the next day.

For those planning travel to see relatives and friends to celebrate the holiday together they had to make their arrangements and decided in advance. For those that had vacation days, they had to decide sometimes a month in advance to get off.

Regardless of your plans remember what Independence Day stands for. If it’s taken for granted or you need a refresher course here you go. As a little kid, I remember Red Skelton, though I don’t remember this clip on the Pledge of Allegiance.  It’s so apropos for today.  Enjoy.

 

Time keeps flowing like a river

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Tiny house movement. It’s where people are downsizing to live within their means living in a space a fraction of the size they’re accustomed to. This is appealing to the millennials and the baby boomer alike. It’s a way of simplifying life returning to a much less complicated time and style of living.

Initially, the movement was almost strictly about changing to mobile living. Now, much of movement is more focused on downsizing and just living the simple life. It’s amazing how we amassed so much stuff over time. Seriously think about it everytime you move there’s more, and it took longer to pull it off. With time we accumulate.

For every person that is not a collector, there are probably ten of us that are. This guy’s van that is pictured I met in the parking lot, he has simplified to under 100 square feet. It’s equipped with solar panels as you can see and the little dome on top has a satellite dish.  This is the tiniest house I ever saw but is designed for a single person and is short on some amenities.

Safe Holiday travels

Once again the holiday season is upon us. The stores have been decked out in some cases for months already and this year it seems many homes are already set aglow. When you speak of the holidays you are reminded that it’s a time for friends and family with an emphasis on family.

Thanksgiving, actually the day before is the most traveled day of the year but others like Christmas are still on the horizon. As we plot out our trips to see relatives often times around the country we schedule one-way trips to get it done. Depending on the number of relatives and locations we can have a couple or a few one-way flights and/or car rentals.

Round trips are easy in comparison to one-way trips. Airlines typically charge more for one-way flights and car companies always jump at the chance to make more money. In scheduling one-way flights be sure to plan for extra time going through security as the TSA gives out the most pre-checks on round-trips.

Safety is key in your travels and in your journeys be sure to check for your personal possessions as you exit the plane or car as it will be nearly a miracle to find lost phones, wallets and the like later. Have a blessed holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

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.

Gateway to America

It’s widely accepted that the huge arch in St. Louis, Missouri is the gateway to the west. That being a fact and said, I just returned from a quick trip to the Utah mountains. The Wasatch Range of which we spent a majority of our time is the western edge of the Rockies. Mount Nebo at 11,928 feet is over two miles high and is the highest peak of the Wasatch that stretches into Idaho. This is a high, daunting, beautiful gateway to the greater northwest territory. I felt I was on the Top of the world looking down on creation.

After you cross this range you drop into Salt Lake City which is a huge valley much like Phoenix. It’s also the second most arid state after Nevada. Amazingly all 29 of Utah’s counties have mountains. That’s rough country.

There are almost countless canyons across the state that offer breathtaking views and can actually take your breath away because of the thin air. That doesn’t stop the hard-core bicyclists that climb these ascents constantly during the summer months.

Park City is in the Wasatch mountain range featured the 2002 winter Olympics and you can see the Olympic park from highway 224 which is maybe 10 minutes from town. The town is a huge ski destination but originally in the 1800’s was then known as the silver mining town.

Portion of life

For most people, if you look at a portion of their life that they enjoyed most it would be their vacations. Many of us live for the next vacation, it can’t come soon enough. Believe it or not, a good percentage of Americans can’t seem to find the time or have the means to take vacations. Because it’s a time we enjoy most it seems it should be a priority and if you can’t find the means at least you could take a day trip to enjoy nature and life.

Nearly two years ago I had a portion of the book I’ve been writing for years published in an international literary magazine called AOIS21 Media. Since then the road is like this. I have the bulk of the manuscript ready but every few days I work on it refining, changing, rearranging to make it ready to present to a publisher. I’ve also spent countless hours reading and listening to e-book publishers and speaking with some to get their advice on publishing. An arduous task at best.

Essentially this work of the heart has taken a portion of my life. I’m amazed by authors like James Patterson, one of my favorites, that releases books every couple months it seems.  I know he has a template or a formula which he starts from so it’s not as difficult as a brand new creation.

My wife and I are very fond of vacations though we get so tied up in life that there are way too many years when we skipped a vacation. At least when we didn’t find time for an actual vacation we’ve at least taken a getaway weekend to regain our sanity and remember how to breathe. That’s the key, remember how to breathe its an essential ingredient for living.

Can it always get better?

What can be better than just that for the Daily Post word? The term brings to mind for me the film As good as it gets, starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear and an all-star cast. That poses the question how often are things as good as it gets? How often can they be better?

Generally speaking when we’re trying to improve on something we’re working to get better at it. Let’s look back at Hollywood for a moment. When we see a movie the audience is typically moved by the performances but when it comes to the critics that may not be the story.  We sometimes think, did they see the same picture that we did? We loved it yet they gave it a very poor review sometimes with only one star. The critics thought the movie could have been better.

As ratings go there’s poor, good, better and best. As movies go opinions vary upon who you ask. The same is with people. Some think that someone is better than another or anyone else in some cases. For those that believe in God or a Supreme Being the deity sees all are the same in their eyes, it’s up to them to judge. The same God has provided values for us to go by. The evil perpetrators are just that. But those of us who think we’re better than the other should look at themselves first.  I’m impressed with Values.com.

Take this picture for example. It’s of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona. The picture could be much better if it were zoomed in on the mountains. The picture was taken about six weeks ago and not only did the Peaks have snow but the Arizona snow bowl was still open for skiing. The Navajo nation’s term for these peaks means “peak that never thaws”. Yesterday we had our hottest day this year of 108 degrees. I know some of that snow is gone but it remains 30 to 50 degrees cooler than Phoenix year round. Flagstaff is over 7,000 feet in elevation, the peaks are the highest point in the state at over 12,600 feet. Surprised?