WADE In… A dream to get LOST IN. How about having a meal together. 50 years ago my brother was born on this day. He was looking forward to celebrating today but did not make it. The past 3 ½ months his memory rests heavy inside the heart of each of us. To honor his memory we need to get to the ocean because that is where he really liked to go and because we have grown accustomed to going there to celebrate the day with him. He was an excellent swimmer, often swam in the ocean beyond the waves, and at a younger time taught young people to swim and was a lifeguard. In Los Angeles for 90% of his short life his birthday was on an extremely warm day so we all gravitated to the ocean to celebrate there with him.
Last year during the pandemic he wanted to take a drive to Point Dume. The year before we spent the afternoon at a beautiful beach location in Santa Monica next to the historic Annenberg Community Beach House. There he could go close to the water in his wheelchair. We’ll bake a yellow cake with chocolate icing because that is what he wanted made for him last year. Also, we’ll eat homemade manicotti and not forget the sparkling cider. When its time to sing happy birthday we’ll put on all 50 candles plus 1 and then all of us will blow them out together each imagining what his wish would be. Today will be his last official birthday. Like most he liked getting a present. Already passing half a life with challenges and pacing forward with hope for the second half of his life to be more fulfilling, today required a special present. On his 40th we gave him a beautiful hand drawn and inked picture perfectly framed of 3 Geisha women in a bamboo fenced Japanese garden playing a board game with small button-like pieces called stones. They are playing the ancient game called Go. The picture seemed made for him and was even more special because we came upon it in a nearby yard sale. It was beautiful and valuable. It seemed placed there for us to find and put on his wall to enjoy. The continent of Asia excited him. He wanted to return to Japan. This year there would have been a ticket to a special setting. The song I wrote, A Dream To GetLost In, was written before he passed away with no forewarning, but there are unexpected messages that I wrote unknowingly in it about him and later realized. Some things we know in advance without knowing. He really liked very soft dune sand and kept some in his bedroom as we do, too. He held close to him thought through dreams and enjoyed the pleasure of small things. I have felt the loneliness of an empty box sung about in this song on more than a few occasions, but no other occasion seems like now.
Dreams and memories add color to a life. I wanted to write a song about tiny boxes because I like to finger and touch small things and I like putting some of those things in tiny boxes to sponsor memories. The music I wrote for the melody and composed originally on guitar describes musically how I feel about dreams nourished by memories. I finished the lyrics on March 1. My mom wanted him to listen to the song when I finished the music. Somehow that didn’t happen. I recorded the song last month, 2 months after he passed away. Listen to the song a few times. I think each time you listen you will find something for yourself that seems personal. I wrote A Dream.. in G major.
I do know we will continue remembering his day, never forgetting it all our days.
It is good that the pandemic is more under control but too many are not thinking clearly. Getting vaccinated and how that small and easy act can benefit everyone seems lost on too many. Too many have died: 612,000+ have already died from Covid-19 in the USA. 4,200,000 have died from Covid-19 in the entire world. Too many are still getting sick. From current readings those figures are likely grossly understated. I know…we all know people who have died from Covid. Their loss is a loss that can’t be forgotten or minimized. Still one half the people in the USA are not fully vaccinated or object to getting vaccinated. Some children won’t grow old or will grow old without a parent or without both parents or without a grandparent or without grandparents or a close relative who didn’t survive the pandemic. No one should have to prematurely look into that empty box I wrote into A Dream To Get Lost In.
The chorus of A Dream To Get Lost In:
1 ½ inches by 1 ½ inches
A little less or more,
Full or part empty,
One contains a folded note,
Another a smooth rock picked up
Off a riverbed floor,
The orange box
Has a small key to another box.
There is one with soft sand
Filled to the brim
To put my finger deep in,
And one box empty
To remind what that feels like.
Each after open
Is like a dream
To get lost in.
The chorus visualizes a totally real scene. While I was composing the music especially for the chorus, its sound developed magically like it was being wound out of a music box. Music boxes are wonderful because they can be wound and listened to as we slip off to sleep. In my imagination he is listening as he falls asleep.
Thank you always for your loyalty and support demonstrated by your returning to listen to my music and voice!
Now please put on earphones and listen to A Dream To Get Lost In. Earphones make listening enjoyable because you will not miss a word, and you will hear all the layering of the piano.
Friday July 30, 2021
When someone dies, being alive without them prods us to increase the purpose for our living. jek
Our world is more settled since the end of January 2021. I am hopeful a lot won’t go back to the way it was. It simply shouldn’t. Some adjustments that have happened are big improvements. We have had a huge amount of personal time to experiment and discover things about ourselves while we have been confined to living in a very narrow personal world. We have had an opportunity to evaluate what we do and to observe ourselves in a mirror and others also through our mind’s windows with less distraction that would compete and obscure our vision. Definitely it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experiment with our standard behaviors and routines. I continue to write music but in a different way and with, I believe, improved results. I completed my current song No Means Not Yes on January 25, 2021. My process: I decided on an idea and wrote lyrics to make the idea come alive. Then I edited them over a week plus until they felt and sounded when spoken as I wanted them to mean. Next over a few weeks I wrote music at the piano for syncing with the lyrics to get the sound that would convey the meaning I intended and be original to my ear. For me a good song needs to tell a story that has meaning for me and I can react to. Next, I try to get creative humming it and then singing it full out at piano. I have noticed my best work takes time and could easily take more than a month if there are no competing distractions. For the first time, at the same time I wrote 2 songs with the same lyrics: a comedic song and a torch song with a Peggy Lee jazz vocal with piano sound. Both allowed me to become experimental and do interesting things with my music and my voice. I uncovered many things about my versatility writing and performing while composing No Means Not Yes. The day I sat at my piano and recorded my 2 songs on the sound equipment in my home studio did not feel like work at all because the 2 songs had been percolating for more than a month+ in my head. I did a Frank Sinatra that day. He is famous for recording songs in only a few takes. He had his long-time accompanist on piano who knew his every musical need. For me it is the same because I am on piano. As composer and lyricist the music lives in my fingers and in my head and chest waiting to spill out. The comedic song turned out ‘as good as it gets’. The result was as professional as any I have recorded or heard from others. The jazz version will please jazz lovers. For myself I am proud of what I wrote.. That is what this space of a undefined year in hiatus has done for me. I appreciate who I am and what I can do and understand its worth. The answer to reaching the next level is taking the time to get there. I spent a lot of time writing this blog entry, too. Words do matter. It is not time without tension because there has been plenty of tension in the past year. Tension often becomes the source for many of my ideas. I have earned my own respect.
No Means Not Yes was inspired by the tension created during the past 4+ years. Sometimes an OP-ED written in a newspaper detailing facts doesn’t accomplish as much feeling as a song sung to music about a subject and that can be listened to over and over. No Means Not Yes written in G min is a call to STOP.
The first verse:
No isn’t a green light
More like a red light
Not so hard to
Unless you ignore it,
It’s easier to pretend
And not hear it
When it’s said.
Then the chorus:
No means not yes.
What isn’t clear to you
Or do I need to say it
In a different way?
No matter how many times
You don’t want to hear it
Its meaning won’t change.
It’s the opposite of yes.
Jumping to the Bridge:
You have to realize
Not everything is for you.
Like with Dickens,
You will meet some ghosts
To help you listen
What each must
It’s not the right thing to do.
And to the Post Verse:
No matter how many times
You don’t want to hear it
Its meaning doesn’t change.
Let me be clear.
I’ll whisper it in your ear.
No is no.
Though written as a reaction and for a purpose, this song applies to other situations and is useful to apply to them as well.
Please listen now to the 2 songs written with the same lyrics and enjoy. I really liked performing them. Here are No Means Not Yes. Think about using earphones. You will hear every word.. The first song I refer to as No Means Not Yes, comedic version. The second then is the torched jazz version. Take a moment before listening to each version and read what was going through my head as it was written. It will add color to each version of the song.
No Means Not Yes, comedic version
No Means Not Yes, jazz version
The comedic version opens with a slow Bossa feel in G min resolving to a D9#5 chord simply and effectively to set the mood. All 3 verses use the same musical format. The verse lyrics create a stop and start sound to the music almost like a patter or longer stop time if it were in dance rhythm. The spaces give the comedic sarcasm a place to breathe throughout each verse. The use of the dynamics in the piano and the voice gives the song’s target a snake-like quality. Verse 3 uses a fun play on the word no at the end of the verse and then there is a big crescendo into the no means not yes at the top of the last chorus of the song. The effect is to propel and build up the song to the moment of climax. The choruses use strong push beats with the bass line of the song there walking up and down portraying that motion in the sound and rhythm. It is through the chorus the strong point of view and overdone sarcasm of the difference between no and yes is laid down both in the lyrics and music. For the choruses I tried to vary the styling of each so each of the 3 doesn’t sound exactly the same. Each, too, has vocal surprises. When the song reaches the bridge it becomes a bit melodramatic: I stretched out the notes in the vocals while the music is subdued especially where the lyrics talk about how as in Dickens you will meet some ghosts who will help you listen then do.. almost like a soliloquy of sorts. The bridge music resolves to Gmin7/E to an E flat Dominant 7th/E flat to a D7 and then back to a Gmin7/E. The Post Verse mirrors the chorus in its musical chord structure and hits the listener with some fun and subtle things in the vocals especially when it goes from talking about things that he/she doesn’t want to hear to Let me whisper it in your ear. The volume comes way down as does the tempo and the vocals focus on the lower timbers of the voice. In the outro accenting is used. The lyrics are sung quietly building a little louder each time. Frustration builds to the point the singer lets the object of his anger have it. With one last accent after a guttural sigh the song ends abruptly with a dark Gmin open chord in the bass/left hand.
For the jazz version the music in each of the three verses varies.. each also using different jazz runs. The feel of the song is pure Peggy Lee in the vocals. There is no real plan for the vocals in the verses. Both registers of the voice are used with the treble right hand and the bass left hand equally to create color and variations. The piano heavily relies on the bass end of the instrument with chords that are not typical jazz chords. This version of the song relies heavily on chords with 9ths and sharp 5’s. I tried to make each chorus different in sound giving each a musical surprise in it. I varied the jazz runs not repeating them chorus to chorus. The choruses have that smokey jazz feel you would hear if you walked into the Village Vanguard midnight show. Singing and playing them produce the feel and sound of letting it all out in a small space as the sound echoes and reverberates around the room then fades away. The bridge is the first occasion in this version of the song where the notes and vocals are held out in places. Also, more pedal is used here to emphasize dynamic changes. The post verse has a gradual slowdown in the music like a car coming to a stop at a street light in the middle of a small town and with no cars coming. The music sits as it uses the whisper lyrics to wind down until the sound of the song almost fades away. We have come to the end of the road and the vocals are behaving similarly. The jazz version ends the way it started: unfinished and with a dissonant chord that most people’s ears aren’t accustomed to: Gdim9 with a #5. It’s a perfect jazz sound to complete a song that has pulled you in to listen while slowly sipping a scotch on the rocks.. feeling totally enchanted by the music.
I had no idea when I set out to write these songs that life would change forever between the end of January 2021 and now. With pleasure I got vaccinated against Covid-19 and we are realizing the pandemic scourge is beginning to lift in the US, but Beverly Cleary, a very favorite childhood author of mine died, and then with overwhelming sadness I would lose my brother, too. He and I worked together on one of my first songs. He wrote the lyrics for Not An Ending After All. It is unbelievably poignant and relevant. Our loss feels pretty horrible and unreal made even worse because it happened with no forewarning. My feelings for him run deep and will migrate into my music forever. As long as we live, he too shall live. In addition to the two songs I wrote and discussed in this blog, this blog will also feature the song I wrote with my brother: Not An Ending After All, and a song I wrote about him in 2018, He’s A Rebel. Hands down he liked He’s A Rebel. Also, another song, It Will Be A Great Day WHEN, that I wrote several years ago seems to belong with the two. Our next big job is to get through the pain and be grateful for what we were given as long as it was. Throughout his entire life my brother loved to read creating an intelligent and articulate soul. He was a good writer. The day he died I saw a new huge tome on his bed table. When we had questions about computer software and hardware we called him. He was a film and history junkie and considered himself progressive loving TYT. 2 years ago he wrote a beautiful letter to our mother. She framed it because she loved it. He was a sensitive one.
Not An Ending After All
He’s A Rebel
And It Will Be A Great Day WHEN
There is a perceptible and tangible peace in our chaotic world now. Ramping up care for the sick, poor, and the middle class is an overdue government gift. Some could say life is boring now. Let life be boring while we care for everyone better. I look forward to the next time you come over to listen to music I have written when I can share not only my music but the story behind the story I wrote for it.
“The world needs who we were ALL made to be and all the amazing and beautiful differences we each bring with us. Maybe if we say it enough it will ring true and become the message…” Amen.
Happy Mother’s Day, Moms, and especially mine!! Our connection is super important.
May 9, 2021
A research analysis done by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates the number of people who have died of Covid-19 in the US is more than 900,000, a number 57% higher than official figures. Worldwide the Covid-19 estimated death count is 7 million, double the reported number of 3.24 million. In real terms that is the entire population of Denmark or almost the population of Israel or Switzerland. EVERYONE needs to get vaccinated to keep all the citizens of the world alive. Just do it and then feel good about doing something significant to help those who don’t know your name but WILL LIVE BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU DID! jek
The following blog was written to be published on December 11, 2020, but important stuff intervened. Sometimes regular things in our life need to be put on hold. Our cherished dog Rose died on January 8, 2021, from her chronic primarily undiagnosed illness that captured our attention helping her function with it for 5 ½ years of the 10 ½ years given her. The political world in the USA was daily in upheaval driven by our wannabe dictator president climaxing in a near coup and now a second impeachment trial. The statistics connected with Covid-19 are papering newspapers and overwhelming the internet round the world because of their gravity. We are finally settling in with our new president and vice-president who are working with a narrow party majority in Congress to bring sanity and health.. physical and mental.. along with real plans to put economic stability back into our immediate world. The expertise of USA scientists and British scientists created several vaccines and now they are being rushed into production with emergency status to save people everywhere from the ravages and frequent death sentence that can result from exposure to Covid-19. There is now hope that we have a way to get through this health crisis before too many more people die or are left with lingering disabilities. I have not stopped writing music and lyrics but my focus has been fractured many times. Below you will find what I was set to publish December 11. At the end of this blog I have included 2 songs, one that I wrote in 2016 about Rose and the second about Rose and her sister Adelaide. When I looked back and listened to the songs, they functioned as beautiful pictures of our life with them much as film and recordings help to keep memories alive of actors and actresses and singers and musicians when they are no longer living. The songs are true valentines of love. We have lost many souls, famous and not famous at all, but each important. We must all do everything in our individual power to stop the virus from spreading and pillaging our communities.
November 26 was a get away from today day: I experienced something familiar and very nice: the preparation of an entirely home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. It was especially nice because in recent years I enjoy being an active participant helping to prepare the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, salad, and dessert. On my feet I feel pretty confident that I can do it all when called upon. Today I did most of it except the dessert before anyone got out of bed. The result was a delicious meal just like we wanted it to taste. Our Thanksgiving experience leads into my new song To Get Away From Today.
During the pandemic I started writing music at a slower pace. I actually am feeling good about taking my time and drawing out my work timeline. I like how I feel about the results and see there is more time for a song’s music and its lyrics to age and improve. It is impossible in 2020 to avoid feeling the scary decay in mental health of the community of people everywhere and to observe my own mental health fluctuating. We all have been pummeled with a lot the past year. The multitude and varied pressures have to give way so the USA can find itself in a better place. Our country doesn’t seem to be the strong stalwart beacon it was created to be and we know. The election happened and change is imminent yet lots isn’t sure.. but corrections are blooming slowly like nature does and like people do, too. After the last 5 years of a never-ending election cycle, we need to have more positive uplifting experiences instead of constant political rallies spewing hate and scenarios involving extremists and the police acting out systemic racism. Still continuing are endless government lawsuits clogging the courts while unending intelligent media reports about them fill airwaves and other media as our president spends most of his time doing little but perpetual campaigning and making up untruths while regularly playing golf at one of his golf courses. He focuses on putting his opponents down trying to satisfy the rich evangelicals who elected him but not doing much to keep people alive as the USA reels with the greatest health scourge of the last 100 years. Almost the entire year of 2020 our lives have been threatened by the Covid-19 virus. For everyone, just staying alive through 2020 is an important goal. In that context I wrote To Get Away From Today. It has the feeling of the warmth found in a lull-a-bye. It is soothing and easy to sing. In fact it was also easy to write because it’s honest. We made it through a big challenge on November 3. Now we can sleep a little easier. Hopefully worry will be replaced with competence and progress for all of us, and we will not be in a state of chaos 365 days of the year. This song assists in breathing hope back into our life using positive memories as we wait for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to begin their steady path forward focusing on trying to make everyone’s life better with new positive outcomes and thus positive memories throwing “no, hate, and can’t” out the window.
The song intro opens with a D Maj chord introducing the music sound of climbing followed by a music sense of unrushed discovery. This theme is carried throughout the song.
To look inside
A dresser drawer
At things placed there
Like a time capsule,
And then another drawer
With new things
Too important not to save
For looking at again
In the right way.
The opening of Verse 2 is sung softly in the upper part of the octave an octave above middle C reflecting as an adult on soft memories of myself as a small boy and my precious belongings: A ceramic revolutionary soldier fitting perfectly in my small hand/A stuffed bear/Worn from going everywhere and/With a missing hand/A book I read so many times before bed/Its story locked in my head…So..sheltering me from/The events of today. Those descriptions evoke memories of when I was young and my Great Aunt in Connecticut gifting me a small soldier straight out of her attic, then memories of my Paddington Bear too much loved given to me at my birth by my aunt and kept for many many years dropping it too many times and in too many places and many times needing to return and retrieve him, and memories of being read to at bedtime regularly by mom and dad often with Dad doing hand shadow puppets in the light of my table light.. How is that for warm memories!
My get-away is an upstairs attic space. The Bridge describes it:
It’s an upstairs place
Where I can sense
A world without tension,
Where feeling good exists,
Not just an idea
At this point the song’s music changes. Now it has a wistful sound and is more rhythmic with lots of smaller and shorter arpeggios. The vocal music spaces give the instrumental music places to breathe both seeming to inhale and exhale freely. To emphasize A World Without Tension I used an interesting D half diminished chord in the right hand with a #5 and 9th/E in the bass. This is the first time I depart from the chord structure: [DMaj, AMaj, C#, Bmin/B, Dmaj/A, Bmin/G, DMaj/F#, DMaj] that I wrote for the verses and choruses. It does perk up your ear and temp you to want to know what the rest of the song will be like. I emphasized good in the phrase Where feeling good exists when I sing the Bridge through. I wrote the beautiful upbeat music referred to above for the last 3 lines of the Bridge because those words are my wish for the coming New Year. We must try to push away the current year that needs to be forgotten for one Where feeling good exists/Not just an idea/So.. palpable. From this point on the rest of the song builds with a sense of hope and has an upbeat bass feel. The musical interlude into Verse 3 proceeds with a nice classical feel. Verse 3 continues to build with a feeling of hope and there’s a smile heard in my voice while singing about more recent memories. Crescendos not only in the music but also for the lyrics accomplish the feeling described. The chorus of the song sings of the refuge I have found and the simple things that became treasures and the warmth I feel because of them. Because those are the words of the chorus those qualities and simple things are sung about 3 times. Treasures, warm feelings and memories can keep us going and can inspire hope. The chorus was written to have a folk song rhythm like that sung in an Irish pub or played on a solo guitar so I varied the chord structure a bit and gave it a more emphasized bass than the verses to help move the song forward.
..and the Outro describes how I feel about the upstairs place. It begins with some beautiful musical notes and a statement articulating that it is my perfect place. The music here is descending using sparsely spaced arpeggiated chords: GMaj7, GMaj, Ami7/A, GMaj/B going to the DMaj where the song’s Intro began because I am walking down from where my perfect place is. I end the song the way it started with a D Maj chord. This time its form is DMaj6/low D in the bass of the piano. The sustain pedal allows the chord to ring and quietly fade out.
I need this place to come to because it is my place for refuge.
My perfect place,
An upstairs attic space,
To be my refuge
To get away from today!
For getting away from today.
To Get Away From Today focuses on the warmth and opportunity for escape that good memories and storytelling bring. Reading the first and third paragraphs in this blog and also after reading the one following this one, it is clear there is a lot around to bring us down. Despite those things music can pump our heart and fill our lungs and rejuvenate our face so that our mouth and eyes express hope. Please now use your earphones and listen to To Get Away From Today.
2020 shaped by a virus and the craziness of a man and his enablers became and continues to be a rough ride. From data tabulated at the beginning of December 2020 more people have died from the virus than all the Americans who died in WW2. The number of deaths from the virus tabulated thru April 2020 exceeded the number of Americans who died during the Viet Nam War. Every day now the number of people dying from the virus equate to the number of American deaths on 9/11 again and then again and again. Some will say that US involvement in WW2 (1941-1945) was a worthy cause to save the world’s people from several mad men. This time military heroes are not liberating people from a frequently assured death sentence. Rather, our political leaders, like mad men from that other time, are rolling people of all ages on gurneys right to their death not caring a bit about the lives being lost or them being young or old with a life yet to live or finish. They do not care about the lasting effects on people who are fighting off the disease and who survive. Our president and his team failed to care enough to try to prevent the virus from taking hold in the first place by obtaining and using adequate prevention supplies and tracking techniques.
I did not want to write a song about my rage over the deaths of so many. Instead, I wrote a song about how I am able to find a place to escape from the horrors of our days like the Frank family found and then try to bet on hope. Once again please listen to my story in D Major about my need to To Get Away From Today. With the work of many scientists developing new vaccines and new presidential leadership we are poised to rise above and beyond our current destiny.. slowly returning our world into a more normal one..maybe even finding that sweeter world again sung about in my new song. Listening two times will bring the song’s message home faster.
Tonight is Hanukkah and Christmas is 2 weeks away. This year the usual holiday season seems out of place but not its true meaning. We have our gifts: our freedom, our being alive and the ability to protect our health, the feeling of love between our family of humans and pets, our ability to work even if that exists only at home, a new president and vp inspiring loads of possibilities, a vaccine coming to fight off the virus, a warm place to sleep with food to eat, clothes to keep us warm, and the prospect of all the above improving in a near time. We must be thankful and appreciative for those gifts that we don’t need to wrap up then give thanks and show respect to the powerful and loving one watching out for us.
Chag Sameach and Merry Christmas and A Happy Holiday to each of you celebrating in your own personal way,
December 11, 2020
This blog begins its 7th year of existence. Writing it fills me with confidence and provides a forum for me to communicate and demonstrate my ability to write and compose music for you and myself and the larger world. Music is a major part of who I am and how I express myself.
Each of us has many faces we call up as our mood changes. The three pictures above are different messages about who I am and what I can be like. With my changing moods reflected on my face and in my thoughts, I write and feel musical sounds using my instruments and my lips and vocal cords. I also draw and paint or sculpt clay to say things. All that I mentioned are outlets and prescriptions for good health. Like no other time, Trump and his people try to smash what we have built hoping to make us feel sad and unhappy. Music and art and the words put down in connection with them expose what is in our heart and personally matters. Those things can’t be torn down and smashed into pieces because they live in the music and art produced and reside in a place no one can touch. They are memorialized and guarded with passion in our mind and near us tucked away in our residence..far from interlopers. During times like these we need to build a personal space that can’t be invaded or broken into to protect ourselves from the mental abuse of the President and his enablers.
It has never been any hotter than it was on September 6, 2020. Los Angeles, September 5, 6, & 7, 2020, felt like being flown into Death Valley, a very beautiful place known for its 3 seasons of heat. I have never before observed 114 degrees on my home thermometer or read that a city in the San Fernando Valley close to me had a daytime temperature of 121 degrees. These extremes of heat and in increased frequency seem to be our future. We must worry how we are affecting the climate and do everything to undo it. On September 6, I spoke with a tech person in Phoenix, AZ. The saguaro cacti Phoenix is famous for are dying from the heat!
My newest song is called Nothing Comparable Like It. A reviewer pointed out to me that there are 2 ways to pronounce comparable both having the same meaning. To my ear one sounds pretty formal. I chose the other. The movement associated with physically and emotionally interacting with another is like ballet. Nothing Comparable Like It describes a ballet enticing and meaningful. Our current world seems threatening. We need moments to escape and feel closeness instead of feeling dread and disgust daily. My next song in G major gushes like a mountain spring with feelings not necessarily using words but certainly using music. I consider the chorus and bridge as the song’s highlights.
Touching your smile,
Feeling the grit
And the tension
In your face,
Being in such a personal space
That is intimate and different,
Two right there
Face to face,
Nothing like it.
Don’t waste even a minute.
With a desire to know and feel
A complete sensory
I especially like a few lines in Verse 2:
Drawn to where tension
And passion reside.
It is communication
And then a few lines from the Outro:
Two people right there
Nothing comparable like it.
It’s a song demonstrating sensitivity that becomes bolder in verse 1 at plus, at explore in the bridge, and on before in verse 3. The melody repeats in each chorus, the most melodic parts of the song. I wrote the lyrics of each verse so that each has its own dynamic ebb and flow. After listening carefully to the chording and bass notes of the song there are flashes of music styling similar to Billy Joel. The bridge takes a more hard driving approach in the vocals with a backbeat syncopated sound coming to a head midway reaching upward with a high G. The sound then quiets ending with an inverted A dim/A moving to an inverted C min/D. In the outro I took the music out of rhythm to allow it to feel freeform and rely less on chords and more on the melody and dynamics as the words are sung out. The song closes with a nice pop riff on nothing like it nothing comparable like it.
The music for this song did not just pop. Nothing Comparable Like It was planned to move into a different song space for me. The lyrics for this song are different. I wanted to try something new for me that could sit comfortably next to music written for the radio world. Tell me what you think. Listen up now to Nothing Comparable Like It. Use your earphones you will enjoy it more!
Living in the US for the last 3.5+ years challenges our sanity. Aggression sanctioned out of Washington D.C. is consuming many. Everyday we walk a path with a steep plunge in sight. With no sensible climate plan, the West is burning. I fear the future will not be there to build out and look forward to; so Vote Early….. so change will happen. Be a poll worker. In some states voting began today.
I think we should apologize to Hillary Clinton for the poor choice made by the people in the USA in 2016. No person is an angel, but January 20, 2017, she would have stepped up to become a whole team of angels looking out for us and the USA and our interests. She said Trump was not fit for office. Why didn’t people listen? She is very intelligent and experienced. Why do people fall for what seems to glitter and looks like gold? I prefer silver. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be our silver angels. They will bring our democracy and country back from the edge of destruction and insanity to become what they need to be and were once. J & K will lead us and show us how to be. The USA needs to reflect the values of its singularly diverse people and watch out for their well-being in their entirety. The corrupt must be pushed to plunge over a cliff. I hope Hillary Clinton forgives the unforgivable rock thrown at her. A few times I had a rock thrown at me. I know how it can sting and cut. She is smart and very strong and was able to get back up. She will be there to advise and will rise to the occasion just like tonight when I heard her speak about Ruth Ginsberg. Amen.
Today, September 30, 2020, we see on BuzzFeed that adults are finally becoming more mature!
The following appeared on BuzzFeed:
Referring to the September 29, 2020, presidential debate and people tweeting about it: … A recurring theme running through the tweets were public apologies to Hillary Clinton. Jill Filipovic,” Will you shut up, man” is the line of the night. I feel for Hillary right now because I’m positive she wanted to say that and couldn’t. “ From Chasten Buttigieg..“Has anyone checked in on @HillaryClinton? Girl, I’m so sorry.” After all, she accurately predicted many of Trump’s worst scandals back in 2016, and yet, her advice went unheeded. But Hillary not wanting any pity wants something more important and says, “Thanks, I’m fine. But everyone better vote.”
So let’s sing the beautiful melody from Mame for her plugging in: Let’s get out and vote together.. put Trump and his enablers to shame. We need Joe and Kamala and their team and Hillary to make the USA rise again.
Probably the most important thing we need to do right now is to stay well and protect each other and follow the science of public health. Thinking musically positive we’ll find our way through this.
This evening begins Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year. Ruth Bader Ginsberg was Jewish as I am. She passed on a day that is holy and significant. The title of my song modified slightly and certainly with no intended disrespect applies to her distinctly: There Was Nothing Comparable Like Her! May Ruth rest peacefully knowing that she is remembered and honored by people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions, ethnicities, political persuasions, and those with disabilities as everyone’s honorable protector of equality among all people! She pushed for equality of opportunity. Her known qualities of grace, honesty, integrity, kindness, compassion, respect, devotion..mirror those of the biblical Ruth. Her mother properly named her for the role she was going to play. Discovering another woman who will take up her vision seems like an impossible challenge. Probably best to be thankful we lived when Ruth Bader Ginsberg was alive and on the Supreme Court, and we were able to benefit from her intelligence.
A little history below the picture.. on top of some rusty corrugated metal… becoming beautifully brown because nature’s moist air fed by the ocean sponsored a chemical reaction. Nature signed the art work being the sole decorator.
I love our dogs. I love music and enjoy rhythm and tap. I have a good family. I love getting a haircut when I really need one. That means you, Carolyn. With so much that does not feel right, those things feel right. Over the last month+ I turned toward writing a traditional jazz song. That music genre has always felt right to me. In my mid-teens JoAnn, my teacher, a professional jazz pianist, understood what I needed from music and saw that I had the skills to make it happen. Observing that I could improvise easily, even though young, and that I had a sensitive musical ear, JoAnn began encouraging and teaching me to play jazz. I took off and it was good for me. I was introduced to black culture through the wonderful sounds and rhythm and words sung by jazz artists. My parents took me to New Orleans to hear jazz first-hand and I was bitten. Then we started to go out wherever we traveled to hear jazz performers and groups play their music. I began to appreciate people different from myself learning about their culture, practicing the style of music important to them, then working with them. Not too long after sharing music we shared meals they enjoyed, and I was exposed to how they live. I have worked with black musicians many times leaving me very appreciative of our shared music experience. Early on I wrote a song with lyrics about my experience learning from JoAnn and called it JoAnn to honor her. There is no greater forever honor than to name a song for someone admired. She is the person who fed me the music I needed to play. I love the jazz sound including the angst and the beat and also took to naturally studying the rhythm of tap.
I just have to say this: While living through our pandemic, the importance of culture because of its current absence is so obvious. Artists need to be supported because they are important for what they give us. When the pandemic is behind us or receding, we need to treat artists better and support them better financially like all people need to be. As it turns out that is what is happening in Angela Markel’s Germany now. They are finding money to support the arts. What artists have to say and how they say it contributes to our pulse… the mirror of our heart beat. They create healthy energy and contribute to our mental health like any vitamin or medicine or visit to a therapist could help us. Without music and the arts we cannot adequately relax and think and move and act on our frustrations and celebrate successes.
Notice the words: pulse (the second word of my new song), beat, dancing, tap..those words and the feelings they evoke help with angst. For that reason I used them in the lyrics for Letting Go, my new song. The song is my effort to get a life during a difficult time and to help others to get some lift, too.
Letting Go opens:
Sounds pulse the air
Coming from the souls
Of my feet.
I’m dancing down a side street
It’s lazy jazz in G Major. My right hand at the piano uses a classic technique of jazz: chromatic stepping between the G Major scale and the G blues scale. All three verses use small jazz runs emphasizing them in the bass. The runs are the sounds of a dancer moving around NYC. There is a stride feel in the post verse stopping at one point with “the sound of silence” then finishing off the song with dirty jazz blues like the Viper Song from Ain’t Misbehavin’. The pause in sound at the “the sound of silence” visualize the dancer’s feet and thoughts breathing before the next rhythmic movement. The bridge has a swing soft shoe intertwined with a stride piano feel throughout and closes with a little dirty jazz blues, too. To emphasize the rhythm in our lives, the second verse is a listen to the rhythm in movement of people doing everyday activity. Letting Go was written to find relief using the beat and rhythm and sound oozing from our insides.. trying to find musical sense from within to feel better.
This song was a slow write. Sometimes I feel tired. It seems to be what lots of people are dealing with. I do feel like I need some time off to do regular things. Actually, I have been working on two songs but slowly. Taking a vacation is not to be. Taking life easier seems like an answer for now. I am writing but slower.. but writing. I am thinking about using the new regimen as my new routine when things ease. I think I may find increased authenticity in my music composing and lyric writing while taking my time like Fred Rogers would interject. Time allows sound and words to become more flavorful by percolating.
My brother’s birthday was last month. Good that you are Becoming. This is the time. HBX8!
IL, HB! This isn’t the easiest year to celebrate but I want to hope by this time next year there is relief worldwide and your birthday and my brother’s will occur in the middle of it.
Take a listen now to Letting Go. Each of us tries letting go often as we age. Sometimes it seems like it is the only way to go. Use your earphones. It’s a good way to listen.
Thank you for coming over. Today music is more important than ever. There are few other things that can be counted on to be always available, calming us when needed and energizing us when little else can. Some recent few I have found to help are the Space X program and just today Joe Biden choosing Kamala Harris to be his VP. Music, Space X, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and Black Lives Matter are sources of energy that give us HOPE. They uplift us while we are living in a twilight zone and our security is being pulled away and a terrible disease surrounds us that can take anyone down.
Space X Dragon returning 8.02.2020
A gorgeous fall joined with Indian summer should be arriving soon! We really need to see it and feel it.
Attach yourself to music. You will always feel better.
May 3, 2020, when my last blog was published seems a long time ago. In fact, every month now seems like two months or more. Living through a time that is chaos-filled warps time. Normal is out the window. When we experience something normal-like, it feels more wonderful than it should be. When finally we get to experience that the pandemic is in the past and racial unrest is going there also and we are listening and seeing with our ears and eyes fully open and trying to earnestly help others and we’ve figured out how to deal with the possibility of future big disruptions to world health and how to live with total equality, all of those accomplishments in totality will be the defining moment and our collective mental health will shoot upward. Though I’m hopeful, I see that those are big goals and the totality seems far into the future coming only with different leadership. I began writing a song about changes in thinking and acting I see in myself and others as we all move on a slower path connecting the days counting up during our pandemic. Then May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a policeman in Minneapolis and Rayshard Brooks on June 12, 2020, died in Atlanta, shot in his back with 2 bullets from a policeman’s gun. Now lots of feelings are thrown together in a single pot to be sorted and mingled. How about too many not respecting minorities properly. How about people including our leaders not protecting the health of each of us.. not doing enough for too many to keep us all from being exposed to the coronavirus and having to experience an impossible medical dilemma that has no current medical solution where death can be the result.
I wrote Alive And Freer while FDR’s speak softly but carry a big stick was taking up residence in my head. The ecclesiastical sound of church bells became important to the sound of the song as I played with notes at the piano while composing. The sound of those bells ringing became a call to act just as they are for many hurrying to the call of church bells every Sunday. I created a strong convincing percussion section using the bass section of my piano assisted by some good mic-ing and mixing. When I finished the song it felt that the song should be the first part of a several song work because I am overwhelmed daily by how much more there is to say. The last line of the first verse, What’s next?, expresses that exactly. Alive And Freer brought together two powerful experiences that everyone is living through globally. When singing and playing the song, I feel that it is part spiritual and part ecclesiastical and part personal journal. The music is in B flat major. This song sings from deep inside addressing what we are experiencing daily, hoping the end of our pandemic and the end of racial inequality will arrive and be permanent. The word NOW in each of the 3 choruses is amplified by the voice to emphasize that this moment in time and our experience with it is painful NOW in the places where each of us lives. I used a E flat minor7/the lowest C as the chord to punctuate NOW, the most important word in the chorus. The world is a NEW OLD place including more who demonstrate draws the song to NOW. Verse 2 opens with It’sTime To Fix This Place and ends with the desire to Push Away Those Who Lead And Would Ruin Our Way Of Life Inside This Space. Next the bridge with a contrasting sound in places using lower vocal sounds and many lower tones in the chords encourages everyone to find their voice and demonstrate softly but with a big stick and put their own wise words down on paper To Light The Night like those who did that eloquently pre-1776 and in 1812 and others since. The third verse sings of unplanned miracles, recognizing that even when things get bad some good things can happen and be a harbinger of hope. Five times the bass sound of church bells ring out during the song and its closing to keep our attention focused while driving firmly to Surviving Needs Smart Thinking From Real Leaders Who Want Us To Stay Alive To Become Freer. Today I heard that our leaders want to avoid counting Covid-19 tests and avoid counting confirmed cases and deaths to deceive us into believing that life with this virus is getting better. They think that will happen if we do not hear the numbers. With clarity we can see the President of our country and his people really do not want us to be Alive And Freer. So the song ends and church bells are heard but drawn out, ending with a soft version of fireworks on piano, a hopeful display pointing to our freedom to choose. We must inspire each other to stay steady and keep going while we search for a leader who can inspire us and keep us all Alive and Freer.
Please listen to Alive And FreerNOW. Use earphones. You will enjoy it more.
This is a different year in every way including how we will celebrate the coming Father’s Day. We have more time to think about how we feel because there are few distractions available. We understand more than ever that our words should never be replaced by something bought. I appreciate as always your loyalty and thank you for telling your friends and family about my music and where to listen to it. I write pop, jazz, comedy and also songs that discuss the political moment. If you are lucky to be a father, why not share some of it with your kids?
Everyone is tired of our life being so limited. Still it is very important to be productive, using productivity to express our feelings. Being mentally healthy as well as being physically healthy will assist our getting through this. Listen tomusic. It is cathartic. I would be honored if any of my music helped you feel better or helped you to understand more.
Sincerely and my wish for all fathers to enjoy what it feels like to be a father to a son or daughter or both and to feel your kids love and admiration.
June 16, 2020
As of June 23, 2020 there is 133 days before November 3. Think about finding a way to use the 133 days to make a difference that everyone can feel and benefit from.
“The more unexpected something is, the more there is to learn from it,” Michael J. Fox. Those words led me to write Now Everything I Do Matters More. I know people who feel those words every day. Most of us have been touched by that feeling at least once. Many live with sudden disability or have plunged themselves into a downward spiral and need to pull themselves upward just to float. The flight upward is mighty and unsteady requiring real tenacity to stretch a mind and body toward goals that function like lifesaving buoys. A big need is the support of caring people near us. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. All of us trying to survive today’s pandemic understand Michael J. Fox’s words and are reminded of their truth every day. Holding onto our health that could at any moment challenge and crush us is our current job. Helping others to hold on and make it to the other side is another consuming job. Supporting humanity and working toward healthy goals are what must point us forward and be our dream job.
Now Everything I Do Matters More begins with Starting with a shocking/Totally unexpected occurrence/While seeking an answer/The puzzle was solved/But not the answer to why/Now it’s how to cope/And where to find hope. Then the chorus, I try to be smart/Hoping time will be kind/Yet even if not/There are some I trust/Who care/And will be there/While I step in small steps/And rev up/To walk a little faster/Over a path of pebbles/Even if I slip or trip/I can’t let myself break down/And they won’t either. Next a little bit of the bridge, My life’s picture is blurred/I am not sure how/The painting will look when done… and some from Verse 3, I have been given/Decades to cope/Everything I do is hard/But everything now/Matters more…Trying hard to not let the sun/Fully set/Until my goals have been met. Without every detail you get the song plot. What’s happening to everyone now side by side along with the stories of the many who deal with all kinds of disabilities became my song. All of us are lining up because of today’s strife. All of us need to be supportive of the millions who struggle with disability and don’t get the help they need because they are different or live on the fringe of what is popular. If it is hard now, imagine how hard the life of someone living with a disability is now… big time hard.
I wrote Now Everything I Do Matters More in D flat maj. The song lasts about 5 ½ minutes. It piles a lot of sentiment in those minutes. The five minute song is fast becoming my standard. For the first time I am uploading into my blog a video performing the song I wrote for this blog. I made a recording of the audio but right now seemed like the time to go beyond that. The times we are living through are pushing us to do things different and be real. This song is about HOPE and finding and holding onto consistency. The verses use part of the chromatic scale for D flat major to create the melody for the vocals sung over the steps of the D flat major scale. That formula exists across the verses of the song. The chorus feels like the right and left hand are having a musical conversation, the left hand being the melodic voice and the right hand being the harmonic voice. The dynamics contribute to that sense. Placing the melody in the left hand is a writing style that I don’t typically choose. The left hand too has strong push beats. There is a definite samba rhythm in the chorus that drives it and helps to give the feeling that stuff is getting better. The bridge has a syncopated rhythm in both hands that settles out when reaching the middle of the section. The musical sound and rhythms are built on B flat minor and D flat major to distinguish it as a contrasting sound just for the bridge. While writing the bridge I pictured a car struggling to mount a steep hill, then slowly coasting down the other side. My fingers bounce heavy over the keys and then I slow down and coast as I exit the bridge into a music interlude. There is a small warm hint of country in the melody for the words ‘ when done.’ The outro mimics the musical interludes between the verses and choruses and the bridge. There is a stop rhythm at the word ‘More’. Closing there are a couple of arpeggios and a D flat scale with the steps out of order. The final chords are a 3rd root position chord in D flat in the right hand with that chord moving up an octave and a half but eliminating the 3rd.
Now watch the music video. Please use your earphones for the best sound.
There is no feeling we are winning the Covid-19 fight yet, but I am very very thankful that I live in Los Angeles. We have an excellent Mayor Garcetti and an-over-the-top Governor Newsom who both are smart and get things done.. helping and protecting all of us from the bottom up!! We are the lucky ones this time. Many Americans need to think about what they are not doing to help each other then cultivate patience. We need a much better and generous government for everyone so everyone can stay home and stay alive and then give back.
Listening to music is perfect during these times for coping and settling-in and for partnering with while we try to get healthy again. Come by and listen and bring others virtually with you. I never stop observing and thinking and writing and desiring to perform wanting to make the next song the best of all.
Happy Mother’s Day! Without the support of a mother, life would be dismal.Angel’s Trumpet
This blog is about a week late because a major technical problem stymied us. This isn’t the time to get repairs done quickly, but we put heads and hands together and got it done. Thank you to everyone.
Be well and help others to stay well by staying home.
We took a walk with our dogs today and we wore masks and gloves. It is, Saturday, March 21, 2020, the first day of spring. The weather is as good as anyone could wish for, cool and sunny. There were few cars and few people. We walked onto a freeway overpass. It was not a holiday, just an ordinary Saturday. There were almost no vehicles on the freeway. In Los Angeles last Thursday evening we were instructed to shelter in place, but we could take a walk for exercise as long as we remained separated by 6 feet. The coronavirus pandemic experience feels out of body hovering in the twilight zone. The global world is worried about staying well in juxtaposition to the threat of personal mortality. People are very concerned how they will live because they can’t work to pay their rent or mortgage and bills including health insurance and utilities and worry how they will get and pay for the food and basics they need to survive while at home for a long time. The US economy as well as ‘the global economy is going through chemotherapy’. There are shortages of medical supplies and medical equipment and hospital beds for really sick people trying to fight off the disease and food supplies are challenged by hoarding and inconsistent supply chains. Almost the worst: within each state in the USA there is a feeling of being on our own because unbelievably our powerful government has fallen down miserably. States are requesting the military be brought in to help build temporary hospitals to increase the number of hospital and ICU beds and to manage hospital ships brought into service. In the United States TODAY there are 25,400* confirmed cases of coronavirus and 307* deaths and those numbers will get larger tomorrow. Globally, TODAY the confirmed cases exceed 300,000* and 13,050* have died from coronavirus. We are told we should prepare for lots worse. This feels like living in a war zone where nothing is secure and all could blow in any moment. Hope feels empty. Everyday feels like a new catastrophe. Listening to Rachel Maddow and her colleagues and guests report and discuss daily events is like listening to a terrorism story, but her reporting is needed because of the truth uncovered. The work is worthy of a Pulitzer. It is also true the past 3.5 years have been pretty catastrophic. The killing off of the world’s population seems horrendous and too much to endure but almost like an intended result. Aren’t pandemics associated with climate change? Climate change and the ravages that go with it are what cause hellish bacteria and viruses to spawn and grow and Republicans in government refuse to acknowledge any of it. “The White House is a ghost town of scientific preparedness,” aptly said by Ed Yong. The health and care of our country’s people have not been important to our leaders in the federal government during the last 3.5 years. What seems to be driving the federal response is the personal wealth of our President and his loyalists. Much of the damage can be attributed to unskilled and under prepared leadership and uneducated and blind-sighted-supporters. As I am finally reviewing the copy for this blog before thinking about publishing it, comparing the stats I included a week ago with today’s stats, the United States now has 101,000* confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 1588* deaths. The world has more than 597,185* confirmed cases and 27,359* deaths. FRIGHTENING. The health situation in the USA would be better managed and more under control if we didn’t have a President who is a hoax. That’s the name and description he gives to everyone who speaks up about his bad judgement. Becoming educated and prepared and serious and concerned about each other is what each of us must demand of ourselves. We are really all equal now.
Just before midnight at the end of the first day of spring 2020 our conure Seymour died. It was sudden. Seymour was drinking peach juice just before being put into his cage for the night. He fell from my dad’s shoulder after his cage was cleaned for the night. His end occurred in minutes. There was no time for suffering. Life can end with a flourish as it began. Certainly, there is an in-between-lesson to be found there: focus on living with special attention to the warm moments of living. The suddenness of an ending reminds that the in-between-time is where value is found. Seymour lived 18 years and 4 months. He will find the soul of Fritzie, his long ago relative, in the somewhere where conures lite. Seymour was the ‘green feather cook’ getting to the kitchen riding on a shoulder. He liked to be in the kitchen when meals were being cooked where he got to taste some tidbits and share in the busy moments.
I am nervous. Nervous is about being anxious. The things we can do are to continue to work on good things in the confines of our home and exercise and eat carefully and be good to each other and do what we can remotely for others.
There is another kind of nervousness. One produced by an expectation of something good. That is the subject for my new song. I wanted to write something positive to lighten the weight of today’s misery. Collecting together other positive feelings: the pictures at the top of this blog express a feeling of genuine warmth so I placed them there and there are two visually pleasing garden pictures representing the current spring. The message of spring is a new beginning and we do need that. Also, my family says in this blog Good-Bye to Seymour. He was always beautiful and never seemed to age. His picture in this blog was taken only 2 months ago. He was a good friend to the animals and people in our home, so our Good-bye resolves into good memories. He was with us a long time. I like to draw and paint sometimes, so I am painting something outside with my interpretation of Seymour’s likeness. I always wanted to play the role of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. I got close years ago when I understudied the role and then years later I was asked to musically direct the show. Seymour was named for my illusive dream and kept my dream alive just by being around.
Here is the chorus of You Make Me Feel Nervous In A Good Way.
You make me feel amazingly light
Like I am in flight.
You make me feel just right.
You make me feel like
I don’t have to try too hard.
You make me feel like
I don’t have to journey too far.
Feeling these things
Makes me nervous
You are there.
While singing and playing the chorus, I do feel good. Words properly chosen and backed up do make me feel good and right. I enjoyed mixing tempos e.g. I don’t have to journey too far. Feeling these things. The chorus has a country/folk sound mixed with pop, a mixed sound I usually don’t use. The sound in the bridge is my musical theatre moment. I use music interludes mirror imaging the intro to tie the song together musically.
The words of the outro:
You being there
Makes me feel nervous.
Gives me pause,
But in a good way,
Gives me pause
There are some interesting sounds included in the outro and then it winds down like a music box that is wound up and plays until it runs out of music.. using the music of the intro. The song winds down with the same music it began with. Most of us love music boxes. In the past I have given boxes with music to some special people. After using the key to wind it up, it is unbelievably wonderful to open the box just before falling asleep and then close my eyes while listening to the music playing especially if the song is meaningful. I believe a dose of something happy can help a little bit now. You Make Me Feel Nervous In AGood Way is written in G major.
Finishing up my music work and writing for this blog has been hard this month. Losing Seymour suddenly was a blow. What’s happening to our world is an enormous blow. It is impossible not to feel sad. It’ll take a long while to move out of the funk though the stuff of this time will never be forgotten. My grandfather always spoke of the Depression of 1939 that way. He lived during it. His memory of it shaped his habits all of the remaining years of his life. I need to keep moving ahead to bring quality into my life and help others do the same so we can be together.
Please take a listen now to YOU MAKE ME FEEL NERVOUS IN A GOOD WAY and use your earphones if they are nearby.
Until the next time we talk music…
If it’s your turn, please vote. Do it for the WORLD. We must not have another 4 years like the last 3.5.
Before we next get together…Happy Passover and Happy Easter and a BIG PRAYER that science will find a vaccine to push COVID-19 into the history books and we will each of us help each of us to prepare for that happening by following the rules so we will get there and benefit!!!
During Passover we dip greens into saltwater like free men and eat bitter herbs. Doing those two things directs us to a cause. We must rise up for those who are struggling to live and overthrow the leader with his tyrants who tries to enslave us for his own personal sake. On Passover we read the ancient text and we cry saltwater tears vicariously when we dip parsley in salt water. We must muster our personal strength to right today’s wrongs and not look back, remembering that the people of Israel escaped Pharaoh’s ways and crossed the Red Sea with only unleavened matzoh to eat but their freedom was on the other side of the Sea so they rushed. We must always share these stories with children so they and eventually their children and then their children will not ever forget.
It was only 102 years ago that there was a worldwide pandemic. Most today don’t know about it unless a family member died from the flu then and then later maybe as children or adults we were told about it. My father’s mother lost 2 sisters then. She talked about it because the experience changed everyone. Also, only 80 years ago one man tried to take over the world. Too many have forgot about that, too, even when we see it happening again before our eyes in many places in the world, even in our own country. History has a way of repeating itself especially when we don’t educate ourselves and then prepare for the inevitable just like the pandemic.
Sincerely and my wish for your continued good health,
March 28, 2020
March 29, 2020
142,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in USA with 2493 deaths
722,000 cases worldwide with 34,000 deaths
March 30, 2020
163,800 confirmed cases in USA with 3000 deaths
April 1, 2020 @4 PM
200,000 confirmed cases and 4300 deaths in USA
921,000 confirmed and 46,840 deaths in the World
I hope we get through this together learning the lesson that we must all be concerned about each other and take care of each other and enjoy and value what each of us brings to our world!!! Music is good medicine for coping and enjoying..also for being creative. Thank you for coming by!
Following Anne Frank: Hoping for the day when there is nothing to report (:
April 4, 2020
305,341 confirmed cases in USA with 8283 deaths
1,187,798 confirmed worldwide with 64,084 deaths
April 6, 2020
347,000 confirmed cases in USA and 10,300 deaths
1,290,000 confirmed cases worldwide and 70,000+ deaths
April 8, 2020
427, 824 confirmed cases in USA and 14,721 deaths
1.5 million confirmed cases worldwide and 90,000 deaths
April 11, 2020
500,000 confirmed cases in USA and 18, 693 deaths Los Angeles without people around noon. People are listening. That almost seems un-American.
1.69 million confirmed cases worldwide and 102,000 deaths
April 12, 2020 EasterSunday
Courtesy of Johns Hopkins
547,681 cases in USA and 21,600 deaths
1,835,373 cases worldwide and 113,362 deaths
April 17, 2020
671,425 confirmed cases in the USA and 33, 200 deaths
2.1 million confirmed cases worldwide and 146, 055 deaths
Above information was provided by Johns Hopkins.
The growth in cases and deaths since March 21, 2020 is terrible. (:
April 20, 2020
771,980 confirmed cases in USA and 40,500 deaths
2.4 million confirmed cases world wide and 165,000 deaths
April 22, 2020
839, 675 cases in the USA and 46,583 deaths
2,561,050 cases worldwide and 176,982 deaths
Everyone MUST get tested and then re-tested to contain this scourge!
880,000 cases in the USA and 50,373 deaths
2,780,094 cases worldwide and 194, 664 deaths
May 1, 2020
1,075,600 confirmed cases USA and 63,109 deaths !!
3,278,546 confirmed cases worldwide and 234,020 deaths !!
May 4, 2020
1,175, 005 confirmed cases in USA and 68,533 deaths
3,500,000+ confirmed cases worldwide and 250,000 deaths
May 7, 2020
1,266,785 confirmed cases in USA and 75,193 deaths
3,856,396 confirmed cases worldwide and 266,470 deaths
May 18, 2020
1.5 million confirmed cases in USA and 90,000 deaths
4,857,311 confirmed cases worldwide and 316,500 deaths
We and our government need to do better, lots better!
Even beautiful flowers can hang down seeming to express real time sadness. This is an Easter cactus blooming late.
May 26, 2020
1,658,785 confirmed cases in the USA and 98,078 deaths
5,495,052 confirmed cases worldwide and 346,230
In REAL NEED OF SOME FLOWERSto blossom amidst all the thorny public stuff we are being fed and living through! Stay well.
For thememory of 119,941 who have lost their life inthe USA from Covid-19 and the 2,234,471 who are dealing with or have dealt with the plague and the 8,403,599 confirmed cases worldwide and the heartbreaking 451,383 deaths worldwide(:(:(:
June 17, 2020
August 11, 2020
5,141,470 confirmed cases in the US and 164,537 deaths(:(:
20,284,882 confirmed cases in the world and 740,276 confirmed deaths(:(:
We must all help each other by following the rules: wear masks, wash hands frequently, social distance minimum 6 feet away, stay home. We need to help each other to get through this terrible plague by behaving responsibly.
September 19, 2020
A COVID-19 Day plus Rosh Hashana
6.82 million cases in the USA and 202,000 deaths
30.7 million cases worldwide and 955,000 deaths
The number of cases worldwide have grown by 50% in 6 weeks minus 2 days. The number of deaths worldwide have grown by 29% in 6 weeks minus 2 days.
The number of cases in the USA have grown 33% in 6 weeks minus 2 days. The number of deaths in the USA have grown by 23% in 6 weeks minus 2 days.
Just like the holocaust, the experience of being brought down by Covid-19 should forever be burnt in our minds. We should never allow anyone to control us the way he has and continues to do so. We are victims of his unpreparedness and stupidity and in fact the stupidity of ourselves for not reacting sooner to push back and question his judgement and his role in our lives. We need to install a road tested leader with science credentials to oversee our recovery. How many more people have to get sick and die before real change happens?!?
Receiving a well-spoken apology after a tumultuous experience just doesn’t happen except in literature or in a script for a play or film. What could receiving or giving a truly meant apology feel like? I have received apologies on a few significant occasions. Not one of those apologies has come close to feeling memorably sufficient given the premeditated hurt. Recently I read an expose’ saying that an apology needs to be more than words. That discussion led me into writing my next song. Music is more than the lyrics of a song. Musical notes are pitches used to concentrate feeling using tempo, dynamics, a musical key, chords and arpeggios. When put together in characteristic patterns, musical notes create music styles that speak in idiosyncratic ways. Playing musical notes on an instrument with a personal touch speaks without saying a word. With these thoughts I began to develop a song with strong lyric feelings relating to an apology and where the instrumental sound is integral in developing the feeling. If you have read my blogs before, you would have read that the weather affects my work. I enjoy the feelings and moods that weather spawns and incorporate them into my music composing and lyric writing. We are currently experiencing in Los Angeles a beautiful weather phenomenon. Those positive feelings put me in the right place to sit and write An Apology Has To Be Perfect.
Starting with Verse 1:
I will never be perfect,
But an apology has to be.
Regretting what turned out,
Talking about my part
For what went dark,
Driven by a desire
To be forgiven,
Ever searching for the way.
and the Chorus:
It’s the moment
To find a way
To be forgiven
Without further delay.
then Verse 2 that speaks in poetry of the Recurrent Story humans find themselves in:
Who doesn’t try and fail?
Who doesn’t do wrong
Who doesn’t want
What became wrong?
That is our
The song plan is now laid out. The bridge and Verse 3 are conversations about forgiveness. Finally, the admission in the outro speaks of penitence:
I was wrong.
I feel the weight of it…
The music for this song must express emotion and the lyrics must be earnestly sung from a mind-joined-to-heart place. I chose G minor with its B flats and G flats to create the sound. The music starts very simple in my mind imagining the sound and feel of a single string instrument or a solo flute. By contrast the bridge has a different feel imagining the agile sound that can be produced by the string section in an orchestra. The vocals use heightening and softening accents to emphasize emotion. I held out some vocal notes because emotional pain does string out as we experience it. The outro could be played by a single cello or violin producing a classical sound. Traditionally emotion is classy. The Bergman composing team would feel at home with the sound of this song because it is cinematic. When writing the lyrics I was thinking of how universal the topic of this song is and that everyone will identify with it. I am hoping this song will find its way onto an independent screen and say in music with accompanying visuals what words alone can’t convey. After watching the Las Vegas presidential debate and after seeing Sting’s Last Ship a week earlier, in both incidences the message projected was You are the things you choose to do. Both experiences would have benefited from the message sung about in An Apology Has To Be Perfect.
Please now put on your earphones and listen to An Apology Has To Be Perfect.
A small autobiography below the blog..
I wonder if you know what writing this blog and the music I put in it means for me. The task is to focus on skills I own: joining my words with musical ideas and then using them to perform. In the blog I write about my real thoughts. I often make use of what I am reading or my in-the-moment thinking or conversations or what is being discussed in media or an impromptu experience or meeting or a planned attendance at a show or event or something I never have really thought about but fell into. The last mentioned often turns out as the best contributor of all and is the reason the song in this blog came to be. When it is compelling, I research a topic to fill in around the edges and minor holes in my thoughts making what I write more true to the topic. I try to discover the special hook for the song I am writing that will set it apart from other songs written. In the case of the song in this blog it is the sentence: I will never be perfect, but an apology has to be and later in the song, I feel the weight of it. While composing, the song I am writing is definitely a work in progress that evolves over several weeks culminating in final lyric edits and final music editing until I make the final recording in my home studio using professional equipment. Before that time I record the sound of what I am writing on a very good hand held recorder so my ears can hear from a distance what I am thinking and singing and playing. For me the lyrics come first but can be edited until just before sitting down to record to make sure the music fits the lyrics or vice versa. They both need to be at once together like two soft made-to-fit gloves. The actual recording and the mixing is done as a team and can take 1-2 days or even longer trying to achieve a high level of satisfaction. There are many collaborating moments in my work from the seed to the completed song. It is because of that collaboration that I am where I am and I am grateful. The absolute final recording occurs in a professional recording studio when I feel ready and after the song has properly vegetated in my head and when my voice and hands are ready to perform it there. Other instruments I play can also be brought in there and isolated or another good instrumentalist added in. The song placed in the blog is the copyrighted song recorded in my home studio. In short, I have a professional focus built into my life by choice and ambition each month. I gave myself this job and can modify the job description to my liking. The job description assures that I retain complete artistic freedom to compose my music and own it. I do not wait for work or anyone’s accolades. I decide on the work and work to satisfy myself much like an artist who paints. My work allows me to develop ideas and experiment with sound instrumentally and vocally to get ready for music opportunities as I discover them or when they are pitched my way. Keeping rigorously to this schedule isn’t the easiest thing. Observing the progress I have made committing to this regimen, I am hopeful that I will arrive at where I want to be. When I do get there I will never forget what it took for us to get myself there.
Gracias, merci, toda, grazie, mahalo, arigato, efharisto, tak, …to each of you who follow my work in your far away places. Thank you. You area blessing for me that translates into mental nourishment. You are my driver who encourages me to discover more about myself and my relationships with others and other significant things, then to put it down on paper and give voice to it in music with my hands and ears and voice.
February 23, 2020
l s … for you, a happy and healthy birthday and manyhealthy ones in the years beyond. je
If ever we needed a role model with high morale fiber, that time is now. Eleanor Roosevelt between her mid 30’s through her late 70’s was an activist who supported women’s rights. The rights and defense of the black community were close to her heart and she acted in their behalf. During WW II she spoke out for Japanese Americans being housed in interment camps. She stood for the human rights of all and America’s promise of opportunity for all. She worked with and FORR her husband Franklin when he could not. She was chosen by President Truman to be the first US delegate to the United Nations and then later reappointed to that post by President Kennedy. She broke ground wherever she went and with whatever causes she chose to include herself in. She wrote a syndicated column 6 days a week called My Day and hosted her own radio show and spoke out against the use of glorifying crime and violence in movies. It did not matter if the causes were popular only that they seemed right to support. With great respect for her and how she chose to live her life, I decided to write a song inspired by two of the things she believed: No one will ever make me feel inferior withoutmy consent and You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ” I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” With the unfolding of a new decade and at the time of the New Year 2020, it seems appropriate to be Ready To Take On The Next Thing That Comes Along, the title of my next song. Adlai Stevenson who ran for president against Eisenhower said of Eleanor at her passing: ” What other single human being has touched and transformed the existence of so many? She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world.” That statement slightly reworded is also what music does for the world. It does seem that the contributions of Eleanor R. and what music can accomplish can find a home together in the special world that serves humanity.
People can say
What they may,
Nice or otherwise,
But no one Eleanor R.
Will ever make me
Without my consent.
That ain’t gonna happen.
And the Chorus..
Don’t punch me in the stomach
I will not let you land that surprise.
With my passion
I plod toward a future
In my own peaceful way.
It is not hard to see,
Stitching a heart
To a mind
Can forge a plan
Mostly to please
But also those FORR me.
and skipping to the..
From all this
I feel strong,
Ready to overcome
And take on
The next thing that comes along.
The next thing that comes along,
..that comes along
The lyrics can sound personal and contemporary, but Eleanor Roosevelt felt similarly. Expression in the 40’s and 60’s was different but she would have expressed herself meaningfully though I am not sure of her exact talent with poetry and music. She was a writer and communicator. She spoke up when women were not expected or allowed to be that way.
The key for Ready To Take On The Next Thing To Come Along is B Major. B Major is not a common key choice because it has 5 sharps and therefore uses lots of the black keys of the piano. However, all the black keys contribute to the ease of remembering and playing a song in this key. I love the feel I came up with for the chorus, always an important part of any song because it is repeated to reinforce its sound and meaning and begs the listener to repeat it aloud for himself/ herself. The chorus’s syncopated melody reminds me of boxing in the gym slowly hitting a speed bag faster and faster, the bag moving with a force and pulse, but controlled, in “my own peaceful way.” With the opening verse, I am having a conversation with you the listener. It is sung the way a conversation would sound with pauses and thought and a pause before the conversational retort,”That ain’t gonna happen.” The second and third verses indicate a backstory and how I put it into action. That action is like the music of a runner’s legs seeming to just go by themselves with complete adrenaline to the finish line. The bridge speaks of the uneven path along the run to the top of the hill. It is the best part of any experience but only realized long after. The duo: “in my own peaceful way” and Eleanor’s “ready to overcome the next thing that comes along”, own the song and make my composing effort worth it. The end of the song has a sweeping feel yet no set ending awaiting for “the next thing to come along.” It is not a long song time-wise, but in that short time the words pack significant wisdom. Eleanor Roosevelt, not one remembered for physical beauty, beautified the world with wisdom and tolerance. She was considered the most admired living woman among Americans from 1948 thru 1961. Please now listen to Ready To Take On The Next Thing That Comes Along and then after that another song I wrote last year, A Beautiful Valentine that was introduced in my blog dated February 14, 2019. Finally, a throw back to one of the first songs I recorded about 48 months ago, Misty! I recorded it because someone I knew loved that song.
Please use earphones to listen to the following songs. You will enjoy the experience more.
Happy Valentine’s to each of you!!! For the past 48 months you have shown your affection returning to read my blog and listen to the music I write and perform. Thank you. I have now completed my training to become a composer and now move forward with my passion. Please continue to come back so can we continue together. The picture at the head of this blog is me celebrating!