Sunday For Tea… The Ongoing Sunday Songs Series

We’ve now reached Week #7 of our Sunday Songs Series… this installment featuring the performance of Sunday For Tea by the Sixties Era, British pop duo, Peter and Gordon… a.k.a. Peter Asher and Gordon Waller.

This blog topping clip features the adeptly edited montage from the espionage / adventure themed TV program The Avengers. BTW, back in 1965, the American Broadcast Company / ABC network had made this the very first British TV series to ever be aired in prime time… and I counted my much younger self within that vast audience.

Considering that Sixties era… how Ian Fleming’s fictional, James Bond espionage novels and the big screen adaptations were all the rage, it had only been inevitable that the small screen producers would also capitalize… even improve on the genre.

And The Avengers’ feminist pioneer / actress Diana Rigg certainly had taken charge in her portrayal of the won’t-take-any-crap-from-anyone, Emma Peel… Peel the certified genius, chemistry / science specialist… the master of martial arts and formidable fencer… the heroine fully capable of rescuing her male spy partner, John Steed (portrayed by Patrick Macnee), whenever his life was imperiled.

Of course, Peel and Steed never limited themselves to be contentedly sipping tea… there also was the expertly uncorked celebratory champagne for a job well done.

Considering how this Sunday Songs Series is far from done. I’ll meet you back here in seven days.

Till then… have a great week.

 

 

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That Sunday, That Summer (That Sunday Songs Series)

We’ve now reached Week #6 of our Sunday Songs Series… this week’s installment featuring the Cole family… both dad Nat and daughter Natalie. Considering mega-talent such as theirs, it became an impossible task to choose between their jazzy, soulful, interpretations of That Sunday, That Summer.

That’s why I’m leaving That Sunday Decision up to you by presenting both versions of this song (composed by Joe Sherman and lyricized by George David Weiss).

With 2018’s September equinox now being one month old… with summer in the northern hemisphere merely a fond memory… a longed for arrival within the southern hemisphere… the time is now ripe for a song story-line, where the lover warmly reminisces about a day-we-met, summer romance… one which has lasted well into the autumn of life.

Although not a Sunday Song, this blog would be Unforgivably incomplete sans inclusion of this decades apart, high tech, family reunion… sans this Incredible, Unforgettable Dad / Daughter Duet…

This Sunday Songs Series will continue. I’ll meet you back here in seven days.

Till then… have a great week.

 

 

Injuries Lead To Insights [Part 2]

To summarize [Part 1]

One decade ago, work related injuries presented me with a catch-22. EITHER opt for the same surgery which had TWICE repaired / TWICE failed me and return to work (to perhaps even get re-injured) OR skip the surgery and retire. Opting for the latter, meant living with a disability and limited retirement funds. I already knew staying attuned to my body’s oft uncomfortable and unpredictable, early warning signs would be necessary to avoid potentially life jeopardizing consequences. I also knew that retiring too soon would require budgetary cuts. Of course, my now knowing that even frugal living has been unable to fully stanch the hemorrhaging red ink… as of late… I’ve been reevaluating what… once-upon-a-time… I had deemed life’s necessities.

Ergo, when my nearly 20 year-old-car failed to start this past May, rather than seeking immediate repairs, I opted to conduct a one-month long, feasibility study to determine if permanently forsaking car ownership could become a viable cost-cutting strategy. Since, I had only been driving to the supermarket and walking to all of my other destinations, anyway, I knew I was physically fit enough to also “hoof” the 2 mi / 3.25 km round trips required to keep my provisions properly stocked. As I got more fully on board with my experiment, that one month soon extended into nearly six… that added time allowing me to experience five totally unexpected events… on five different occasions. It was during those moments where I discovered my feasibility study was also affording me a glimpse into a side of human nature I didn’t even think existed anymore.

Part 2 now begins with all that had transpired…

Event #1 (Early May)… Upon my casually mentioning to the supermarket cashier that I wasn’t driving… and asking if she could more evenly distribute my groceries’ weight between my two shopping bags, she causally mentioned that it’d be OK if I wheeled my purchase home in one of their shopping carts! Not feeling comfortable with doing something that could so easily be misconstrued as theft, I politely declined.

Event #2 (Mid July)… My next-door neighbor, spotting me homeward bound, pulled her car over to offer me a ride. She also mentioned her willingness to drive me to the store anytime I needed. But, again I was having second thoughts. You see, both her husband and she are 95-years-olds and with him not being in the best of health, I knew he needed her help far more than I did.

Event #3: (Mid August)… During a chat with this same neighbor I mentioned how I’d been reducing the weight of my groceries by replacing milk with calcium and vitamin D fortified OJ (i.e., instead of buying both products). Within a few days, she knocked on my door to deliver a grocery bag containing a half-gallon of milk. I expressed my gratitude but also reminded that she shouldn’t be spending their limited funds on me. Even so, she wouldn’t allow me to pay her back.

Event #4 (Late August)… While I had slept, my left knee had stiffened up. YIKES! Since I could barely get around my own home, how could I ever, possibly, make it to the store? How would my knee handle the extra weight of my grocery bags? Also problematic, my dysfunctional car meant driving ISO medical attention wouldn’t even be possible. Well, since unforeseen injury was also a weighty factor to consider during my experiment, I decided to limp my way to the store, anyway. True, it had taken me twice as long, but I did arrive / survive. However, with the return leg of my journey barely underway, I had to set my bags down on the sidewalk to determine if redistributing the weight might help.

That’s when I heard the approaching from behind, concerned yet friendly sounding voice of a complete stranger. She was offering to help me carry my bags home. Upon my informing her of the long distance involved, she even offered to drive me to my destination. However, since we had just met, it was quite understandable for her to (eventually) have (unvoiced) second thoughts. That’s when she went back inside her condo and wheeled out a (fold-able) grocery cart, which could easily haul four shopping bags. She told me that since she no longer needed it, the cart was mine to keep. Even so, I offered to pay for it… but she’d only accept my gratitude. While wheeling my groceries home I found my eyes occasionally welling up a bit each time I thought about how someone, who I had never even met, had cared about my well-being.

Event #5 (Mid October)… Just last Thursday, with fall’s chill in the air, with my knee now feeling no pain, I was once again headed to the supermarket. That’s when a fortuitous chain reaction got set into motion. A woman walking her leash-less, barking-at-me dog, prompted me to cross the street… to enter a driveway where a parked truck was partially blocking my way. While veering around it, right before my very eyes, a familiar logo painted on the vehicle’s door was staring right back at me… a reputable towing/road service business’ sign… no less! I greeted the mechanic who was busily changing a flat tire. I then asked him how much he would charge for a jump start… adding that I lived in the vicinity. With a grin he said, since he was already in the neighborhood, he’d do it for free!

About a half hour later, his jumper box had roared my car back to life. I still offered to pay, but he told me that to promote good public relations, he oft provides this service, pro bono. Of course, the news wasn’t all good. His warning that my ancient, corroded battery might not hold the charge did prove true… which required his return the next morning. Once again, he waved off my reopened wallet. The best part of this was how the second jump allowed me to drive to the dealership to keep my repair appointment. Two hours later, with a new battery and fresh oil, coolant and brake fluid all rejuvenating my vehicle, my experiment had come to an end. And it really did feel good to finally be back on the road!

To now tie up a few loose ends… In the months ahead, there’ll be kindnesses to extend and return to all who had been there for me. [1] Regrettably, retail being what it is, I may never see that friendly cashier again. [2] As I’ve done in the past, I will find ways to make life easier for my next-door neighbors. [3] Since its unlikely that I’ll be needing that grocery hauler any longer, I’ll soon be returning it to my benefactor. With her condo being located along the beaten path leading from the grocery store, it’s entirely possible that… someday… she’ll see some other person limping along through life who’ll need it just as much as I had. [4] As for the mechanic… since I’ve already entered his business phone number into my cell’s directory that’ll mean that any time anyone ever needs road service and asks me who to call, with a quick flip of my flip phone, I’ll be able to instantly recommend him.

What I learned… My car’s engine not turning over this past May… my stiffened knee this past August… even needing to dodge a leash-less barking dog this October… may’ve all slowed my forward momentum… BUT… oh… the lovely path of discovery these events had put me on! Had I immediately taken my car in for repairs, I’d have never experienced any of those five events. Most assuredly, I do treasure life’s mind and eye opening, tears welling, oh wow moments. My nearly one-half-year long, on foot journey through life has provided me an invaluable lesson… has worked wonders in curing my cynicism. I now know… from firsthand experience… that during times of adversity, kindly souls are still willing to extend helping hands to those in need. My having encountered four people, who could’ve so easily looked the other way… yet so freely chose not to… has restored my faith in humanity. Just think about it. If in such a short span of time I could cross paths with four of humanity’s finest, this certainly tells me there have got to be countless others out there who’d do the same.

 

 

Message to the Masses… Don’t Give Up ~ Vid of the Day

Let’s examine the synergy among [1] The literary masterpiece Grapes of Wrath authored by John Steinbeck, [2] the dust-bowl, Depression-era, poverty-stricken people pics snapped by photographer Dorothea Lange and [3] this post’s Vid of the Day song, Don’t Give Up composed by Peter Gabriel.

These three distinct forms of human communication interacted thusly. Gabriel drew inspiration for his song from Lange and I drew inspiration for this post from Steinbeck, Lange and Gabriel.

And while our avenues of creative expression have differed… in this instance, all roads do lead to the same destination… i.e. our concurrence that the devastating Haves vs. Have Nots socioeconomic schism has been plaguing civilization, practically, from time immemorial.

From there, I travel onward to point out how [1] this class war has been dramatically intensifying ever since Inauguration Day 2017 and [2] commoners (such as yours truly) could NEITHER expect the ethics and empathy barren fake prez to ever stand down in that war NOR depend on him to even deliver any commiserating, reassuring, “nothing to fear but fear itself”, folksy, FDR-esque Fireside Chats.

NOPE, not when fearmongering and fomenting misery within the masses is the entire Trumpian shtick… not when he’s too damned preoccupied with burning down America and too intent upon Tweeting 7+ billion souls into an early, irradiated, mass grave.

Considering that Black Hole of Republican leadership, where not one photon of common sense and compassion can ever escape outward, there can be no help from DC. We’ll have to deal with our profound despair / depression… all on our own.

That’s where motivational music such as Gabriel’s Don’t Give Up can come to our rescue. And that’s precisely what Gabriel had in mind when he penned and performed his duet with Kate Bush.

That’s where the video’s imagery… the embracing couple, slow dancing beneath our Moon as it eclipses the Sun… enlightens us… suggests that when we turn to and stand by each other… unite to face down the dark days of despair… we can emerge re-energized / revitalized at the moment the sunlight begins to reappear… that… since total eclipses are relatively rare… maybe… just maybe our dark days will be few?

Even if we have yet to find a kindred spirit to validate us / commiserate with us… trust me when I say that such people do still exist. I am speaking from my recent, almost jaw dropping, personal experience and do plan to blog more about it soon… likely later this week.

There is one more song interpretation worthy of mention. That Don’t Give Up resolve can also serve as a rallying cry for us to vote… i.e., cast our ballots to cast out our sworn, political enemies from office…. ASAP!

 

In the event that YouTube issuess ever cause the above vid to vanish, Peter Gabriel’s sentiments appear below…

 

Peter: “In this proud land we grew up strong… We were wanted all along… I was taught to fight, taught to win… I never thought I could fail. No fight left or so it seems… I am a man whose dreams have all deserted… I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name… But no-one wants you when you lose.”

Kate: “Don’t give up ’cause you have friends… Don’t give up you’re not beaten yet… Don’t give up I know you can make it good.”

Peter: “Though I saw it all around… Never thought that I could be affected… Thought that we’d be last to go… It is so strange the way things turn… Drove the night toward my home… The place that I was born, on the lakeside… As daylight broke, I saw the earth… The trees had burned down to the ground.”

Kate: “Don’t give up you still have us… Don’t give up we don’t need much of anything… Don’t give up ’cause somewhere there’s a place where we belong… Rest your head… You worry too much… It’s going to be alright… When times get rough… You can fall back on us… Don’t give up… Please don’t give up.”

Peter: “Got to walk out of here… I can’t take anymore… Going to stand on that bridge… Keep my eyes down below… Whatever may come… and whatever may go… That river’s flowing… That river’s flowing. Moved on to another town… Tried hard to settle down… For every job, so many men… So many men no-one needs”

Kate: “Don’t give up ’cause you have friends… Don’t give up you’re not the only one… Don’t give up no reason to be ashamed… Don’t give up you still have us… Don’t give up now we’re proud of who you are… Don’t give up you know it’s never been easy… Don’t give up ’cause I believe there’s a place… There’s a place Where we belong…

Kate & Peter: (Repeat 4 times) “Don’t give up… Don’t give up… Don’t give up.”

 

 

Sunday Will Never Be The Same

For the past four weekends, we’ve been listening to installments of my Sunday Songs Series to get our new weeks rolling. Today’s featured track is Sunday Will Never Be The Same which… during 1967’s Summer of Love… had been a Billboard Hot 100, #9 Hit for the American band, Spanky & Our Gang (S&OG).

It’s two composers, Terry Cashman and Gene Pistilli, had borrowed the song’s interlude from the French Christmas carol Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes and I encourage you to check out a fine rendition performed by Vox Angeli. You’ll likely, instantly, recognize it resonating within Sunday Will Never Be The Same… as performed by S & OG.

Considering their success with this song, I do hesitate to be overly critical… BUT… pause for a moment to consider the lyrical subject matter. Here we have lead singer Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane lamenting over losing the love of her life… losing the song in her heart… singing the very lyrical couplet, “I lost my Sunday song, he’ll not be back again”… all against the backdrop of an overly upbeat musical arrangement. Where was / is the tear-stained emotion?

There is a sense of déjà vu in play, too, upon considering how many recording artists’ covers of John Lennon’s composition, In My Life, have far better captured his reflective bittersweet sentiments… even better than the excessively cheerful, 1965, Beatles rendition ever had. But… enuff said. Let’s get back on track.

To locate a blog topper, Sunday Will Never Be The Same performance, with a proper lyrical interpretation and musical mood, I didn’t have to look any further than the songsmiths Cashman and Pistilli, who became 2/3 of the band Cashman, Pistilli & West.

While auditioning tracks, I also found a noteworthy a cappella cover of this Sunday’s featured song and I’d be remiss were I not to link to it. Unfortunately, YouTuber Erin Hackel didn’t provide much of a backstory but… then again… their musical performance does say it all.

I now wish you a great week and hope to see ya back here seven days from now when this Sunday Songs Series will continue.

 

 

Injuries Lead To Insights [Part 1]

 

One decade ago, work related injuries left me with two options. EITHER seek the same surgery which has TWICE repaired and TWICE failed me, recover, return to work and get re-injured OR self-inflicted downsizing / acceptance of early retirement’s bare-bones existence.

This damned surgical catch-22 does bring to mind Anthony Weldon’s 1650 AD adage… “He that deceives me Once, it’s his Fault; but Twice it is my fault” (stated less stiltedly… “Fool me once shame on you; Fool me twice shame on me!”). But, as for “Fool me Thrice?” Hell, since wise ol’ Tony hadn’t considered the possibility that anyone could ever be so foolish, I would need to improvise… thusly…

“Fool me thrice and I’m no fool; I’m an outwitted nitwit!”

Never wanting to be an O.R. 3-time loser, I knew there’d be no new surgery for me. Instead, I’d need to learn to live with my injuries… know my limitations, stay attuned my body’s daily, early warning signs and then act accordingly. To not heed such RED ALERTS? Well… to spare you the unpleasant details… let’s just say the consequences could be painfully life threatening.

Fortunately, most of the time, my wellness level has been acceptable… but… as for planning one’s life around unpredictable symptomatology… in particular… to attempt any work-a-day-world comeback? Well… long sigh…

Just how many bosses would stand for a worker literally lying down on the job?

Needless to say… injury necessitated, early retirement sucks… it instantly taps out one’s feelings of self-worth and rapidly tanks out retirement savings accounts. And no matter how many times I’ve done the elementary school math, things are not looking good. I could easily wind up running out of money before running out of life. Hmm, perhaps longevity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, after all?

Having, long ago, exhausted the easy budgetary cuts, as of late, I’ve begun to consider some further concessions… i.e., my own re-definitions of what are and what are not life’s necessities. To that end… this past May, when my nearly 20-year-old car failed to start, I had opted to run a one month long experiment… one, which would eventually wind up being closer to six months. To add more authenticity to this experiment required leaving my auto dysfunctional… i.e., to better simulate what being car-less actually feels like.

While, admittedly, it might be a bit of stretch to make such a claim, my feasibility study does bear a minuscule resemblance to a downsized, landlubber’s, Thor Heyerdahl-ish, Kon-Tiki Expedition… namely…

Could I successfully keep my larder and bathroom toiletries shelves properly stocked using only my one mind, two hands and two feet?

Literary similarities or not… everything all sounded doable to me, since, for the most part [1] I’d have only been driving to the grocery store (and refueling station), anyway and [2] in spite of my injuries… my fast paced walks to all of my other hometown destinations had kept me reasonably, physically fit (walking being my only safe form of exercise).

By far, my biggest car-less challenge wound up being the 2 mi / 3.25 km round trip walks to my supermarket to lay in provisions… cramming as much as possible into the 2-3 shopping bags, which my two hands could carry.

But folks, these past six months have taught me a far more valuable life lesson. One, which far transcends my living with injuries, dealing with dwindling bank balances and juggling the nuts and bolts logistics.

 

My story will continued. Stay tuned for Part 2

On This Day In History… Game 7 of the ’68 World Series

Let’s set the WayBack Machine’s time/space coordinates to October 10, 1968 / Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. Baseball fans, we’re just moments away from the start of Game 7 of the 1968 World Series… the battle between the American League’s Detroit Tigers and National League’s St. Louis Cardinals.

On this picture perfect sunshiny p.m., Tiger Mickey Lolich and Cardinal Bob Gibson will soon be taking to the pitcher’s mound.

By Game 4 in this best of seven Fall Classic, the Detroit Tigers had only 1 victory… due, in part, to ace pitcher Denny McLain’s post season arm troubles. Folks, his record shattering 31 victories during the regular season just may’ve taken their human toll.

The big question… can the Tigers… who had so valiantly battled back to win Games 5 and 6… extend their winning streak to three? What could complicate matters is how team Manager Mayo Smith will be sending Lolich to the mound with only two days rest. So, regarding this do or die game for both teams, can Lolich pitch his team to a Game 7 victory and make the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball’s 1968 World Champions?

But first, a few words from… me… back in the here and now…

My being a lifelong Michigander, I’ve spent countless summers cheering on my home team Tigers… and… I’m looking forward to watching this YouTube clip for mostly nostalgic reasons. Additionally, Lolich and I have something in common… our shared ethnicity / ties to Yugoslavia. My plans are to “tune in” to Game 7 later this afternoon… you know… just to keep everything more in sync with its long ago start time.

While I (obviously) do know the outcome to this game, I also realize that many of you may not. Since only diehard sports fans would watch when they already know the final score, I’ve intentionally refrained from mentioning any game details.

I also realize that not everyone can spend two+ hours to watch this blast from the past broadcast in its entirety… ergo… for those of you who’d like to avoid the pregame ceremonies… FF the Complete Game clip to time index 12:58.

For those of you who can spare only about 13 minutes I’m also including a 9th Inning Only clip.

For those of you who are not big baseball fans at all, here’s the link to the Game 7 Scorecard. As a final warning… for those who’ll be watching the game… I’ve labeled that scorecard link SPOILER ALERT!!!

Without further ado… broadcast booth, play-by-play veteran announcers Curt Gowdy and Harry Caray are about to get the 50th anniversary broadcast of Game 7 of the 1968 World Series underway!

 

Complete Game

9th Inning Only