Saturday Night Serenade–Super Bowl Edition

Are you ready for some football?

I’m not remotely a football fan, but I love the Super Bowl.  I love that it’s a uniquely American cultural event, with a tradition all its own.  People throw parties and gather at sports bars,  dressed in their favorite team’s jersey.  There’s a whole category of ‘game day’ snacks, from subs, to chili, to burgers.  Plus, plenty of beer.

I couldn’t care less which teams play, I tune in for the half-time show and the commercials.  This year, I’m cheering for the Eagles, mainly because they’re not the Patriots.  But mostly, I’m looking forward to the spectacle.  Justin Timberlake is the half-time performer, and that should be fun.  Fingers crossed, no ‘wardrobe malfunction’ this time out.

This week’s serenade is from a couple of years ago, one of my favorite Super Bowl performances of all time.  I LOVE Bruno Mars, and this shortened version of Uptown Funk is fantastic.

Remember when you had to wait until the actual game to see the awesome commercials?  Now, a lot of them are already out.  I’ve seen Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) from Game of Thrones in a rap battle with Morgan Freeman.  I’ve seen a rabbi, a priest, an imam, and a monk pile into a truck and head to a football game.  But so far, nothing has made me laugh like Hannibal Lecter pinch-hitting for Amazon’s Alexa.  Creepy fun!

I don’t know about you, but here at Chez R, we’ll be serving ribs and nachos when we sit down to watch.  Tonight is all about preparation.

I hope your pick wins tomorrow.  For now, enjoy laughter with those you love, and be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy New Year!

It’s been a weird year.  And I mean, no matter your politics, no matter your generation or your gender, it’s been weird.  In some ways, I’m glad it’s coming to an end.  The only thing is, what could 2018 possibly bring?  It’s scary as hell.

Growing up in the 70s, I heard people talking about the generation gap.  I can remember being out and about, seeing ‘hippy-dippies,’ as my dad would call them.  With their long hair, bell-bottom jeans, and endorsement of ‘free love,’ they just seemed to experience life in a different way from my straight-laced, clean-cut parents.

These days, glaring differences abound between folks of my generation and the new one.  Let’s be honest.  Millennials can be fucking annoying, with their tiny homes and their organic beetroot lattes.  I know.  I raised two of them.  Nevermind that Mr. R and I recently got on the kombucha wagon.  That’s a story for another day.

But what I love about millennials is their gleefully optimistic dedication to the idea that anything is possible.  This year, I want to embrace that belief.  Because they’re right.

I’m not saying that I can suddenly become Joan Jett if I just believe hard enough.  The kids aren’t saying that, either.  What they’re saying is that it’s possible to make the world a better place.  And we start with the person staring back at us from the mirror in the gender-neutral restroom of the organic farm co-op.

Tonight’s song, This is the New Year by A Great Big World, embodies the exuberance I want to carry into 2018.  A better world isn’t going to trickle down from on high.  It starts with me.  And you.

So what will we do?  Let’s start by hugging those we love, and branching out from there.  Mr. R and I lift our glasses in a toast to a better world in 2018.  Happy Saturday night!

“This Is The New Year”

Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for nowAnd I will give the world to you

Speak louder than the words before you
And give them meaning no one else has found
The role we play is so important
We are the voices of the underground

And I would give the world to you

Say everything you’ve always wanted
Be not afraid of who you really are
Cause in the end we have each other
And that’s at least one thing worth living for

And I would give the world to you

A million suns that shine upon me
A million eyes you are the brightest blue
Lets tear the walls down that divide us
And build a statue strong enough for two

I pass it back to you
And I will wait for you
Cause I would give the world
And I would give the world
And I would give the world to you

This is the new year
A new beginning
You made a promise
You are the brightest
We are the voices

This is the new year
We are the voices
This is the new year

Saturday Night Serenade–Merry Christmas!

We’re here.  It’s Christmas Eve Eve.  And it’s all done.  Gifts are purchased, wrapped, shipped off to who knows where.  Decorating is finished.

If you ask me, that’s the beauty of Christmas falling on a Monday.  Now all that’s left to do is relax and enjoy.

I promised to be more grown up this week.  I’ve pulled a beautiful video of Bing Crosby singing a beautiful song.  I cannot tell a lie.  For whatever reason, I’d never heard this song until the year, over 25 years ago now, when we moved to Florida between Christmas and New Years.  Publix, known for their tear-jerker holiday ads, was running a commercial featuring The Christmas Waltz, and I fell in love with it.

Tonight’s second song is a powerful, rock-anthem rendition of a traditional favorite by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Their Carol of the Bells is beautiful, but can you imagine living next door to this family?  Holy cow!

There have been countless recordings of this third song.  It’s really a Christmas Eve staple.  The beauty of Josh Groban’s version of O Holy Night gives me chills, it’s so amazing.

And…
Because I can’t resist…
One final, perhaps slightly less than grown up song, I leave you with the Dropkick Murphy’s and The Season’s Upon Us.  What can I say?  They put the fun in ‘dysfunctional’.

May your holiday be happy and bright, and may you enjoy a peaceful Christmas surrounded by those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!  And Merry Christmas from the Rs!

Saturday Night Serenade–Only My Most Favorite Christmas Song Ever

We’re moving ever closer to Christmas, and you-know-what is getting real.  This week, I did a ton of final holiday shopping online.  It’s convenient, but then the waiting begins.  Will it all arrive in time for me to wrap it, box it, and send it to the four corners of the world?  Okay, mostly it goes to central Pennsylvania and eastern Nebraska, but still.

Next Saturday is the 23rd, or as I like to refer to it, Christmas Eve Eve.  I’ll attempt to pull it together and be adult in my song choice, but tonight, I’m bringing you a three-fer, three different versions of my favorite Christmas song, Mariah Carey’s iconic All I Want for Christmas.  The song features prominently in one of my favorite holiday movies (go figure), Love Actually.

The first version is a shortie by uber-talented ginger, Ed Sheeran.  I love him so much!

I love this next version for so many reasons.  The Roots are actually playing the song on classroom instruments, so that appeals to the teacher in me.  Everyone is so joyous, having a great time.  And the pop-up kids crack me up!

But this final version may be my favorite.  You’ve got not only Mariah Carey, toss in Adele, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Sir Elton John, the Chili Peppers, and more.  And they’re all having so much fun, you can’t help but have fun, too.

The world is a crazy place these days.  Isn’t it nice to just forget about all that and embrace the joy that is Christmas?

Find your own slice of joy tonight, and be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–It’s December!

Well, it’s done.  The tree is up and decorated.  The dining room table is ready in all its festive glory.  The outside lights are up, including three 3-D twinkling snowflakes in the front window, the new addition for this year.

I LOVE December!  And everything that comes with it.  The decorations, the food, the parties, the movies and television specials, and most especially the music.

I’ve become obsessed with Pentatonix.  Are you over them yet?  I know some people are, but they utterly fascinate me.  So I’ve pulled a two-fer for tonight’s serenade.  Mary Did You Know always touches my heart, maybe because I’m the mom of two baby boys.  Well, they’ll always be baby boys to me.  And this version of Carol of the Bells is so cool.

I’m wondering…
What are your favorites?

I hope you’re enjoying this first weekend of December.  Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Heartbeat

That was unexpected.  Who realized that we’d feel the hole we do with the loss this week of David Cassidy?  He hasn’t seemed relevant in years.

David Cassidy was my first celebrity crush.  When I was in second grade, I utterly adored him.  I watched every minute of every episode of The Partridge Family.  I had all their albums, and I knew every word to every song.  Against her better judgement, my mother allowed me to subscribe to Tiger Beat Magazine, and I read it faithfully for years.

Following his teen idol days, Cassidy struggled with personal demons of addiction, and of finding his place in the universe.  More recently, he retreated from public life with the announcement that he was suffering from dementia.  Which is heartbreaking, really.

This morning, I saw that his daughter, by his side at the end, was sharing his last words.  “So much wasted time.”

Well, that will make you stop and think.  I wondered what he was thinking about, but I know where it fits into my own life.  Maybe if we hold onto that takeaway, his heartbeat still continues.

I hope you’re seizing every moment this holiday weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #10

We’re taking a bit of a departure this week for tonight’s serenade.  Wichita Lineman isn’t exactly a summer song, but I wanted to note the loss of another great musician this past week.

I can remember watching Glen Campbell on television when I was a kid.    I can recall my little brother calling him ‘Glim Candle.’  Of course, back then I had no appreciation for the amazing talent the man was.  He was a singer, songwriter, gifted musician, and he even tried his hand at acting.

He was in the original True Grit, the good one, with John Wayne, not the sorry remake from a few years back.

He succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer’s, the same disease that took my grandmother.  To say that it’s an awful thing is a massive understatement.  People always think of confused old people who don’t remember the names of their family members.  But that’s just where it starts.

My grandmother started running away from her home because she didn’t recognize my grandfather, her husband of over 50 years.  He finally moved her into a nursing home, where she felt more at peace.  But the disease began to eat away at her other functions: mobility, sight, hearing, the ability to swallow.  It’s devastating.

While looking for tonight’s song, I came across this interview with Alice Cooper about his good friend Glen Campbell.  At one point he says that when he found out about Glen’s diagnosis, he hoped it would take him quickly.  I get that.

Wichita Lineman is a simple, beautiful song about a hard-working man who’s away from his love.

I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main road
Searchin’ in the sun for another overload
I hear you singin’ in the wire, I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

I know I need a small vacation but it don’t look like rain
And if it snows that stretch down south won’t ever stand the strain
And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

I hope you’re spending a wonderful August weekend, doing what you love with those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.  Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #4: A 4th of July Two-fer

Happy July!  Here in the States, we’re celebrating the long Independence Day weekend.  It’s the ultimate summer holiday, with cookouts, picnics, trips to the beach, and fireworks.

There’s a lot that divides us Americans these days–politics, ideologies, and hateful, vile rhetoric, to name just a smattering.

But I’d rather focus on what unites us–good food, fun, pride as a nation, and good old rock ‘n roll.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous this weekend, rather than getting baited into some pointless social media debate, we put down our electronics, went outside, shared a hot dog and a cold beer with a neighbor, and enjoyed fireworks set to a soundtrack of great music?

Mr. R and I will be in lawn chairs on the driveway, watching all the neighborhood fireworks.  I hit the bargain bins, so we’ll be the dorks wearing the blinky jewelry.  Actually, I’ll be the dork wearing the blinky jewelry.  He’ll be sitting next to me, rolling his eyes.

But maybe that’s what it’s about.  Agreeing to disagree, embracing our differences, and appreciating that variety is, in fact, the spice of life.

I’m bringing you a two-fer for week #4 of Summer Songs.  I couldn’t pass up John (he’ll always be Cougar to me) Mellencamp, despite the fact that they’ve commercialized the crap out of this song lately.  And Phil Vassar’s American Child is a sentimental favorite.

Be careful out there.  No drinking and driving.  No holding a firework and blowing off your hand.  Haven’t you seen them do that on all the morning talk shows?

Enjoy your holiday, and hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #2

Happy Father’s Day to you!  How’s your weekend going?  Mr. R and I just survived a visit from my folks.  They mean well, but it’s nice to have our house back to ourselves.

For this second week of Summer Songs, I’m pulling out REM with Stand.  I’ve always loved this song, and for some reason, it feels like summer.  Maybe it’s the travel vibe.  Given the proper amount of liquid encouragement, I could even join in on the line dance they do in the video.

I’m not sure we’ll be going out for Father’s Day–we did a great deal of running around with the parentals all week.  But Mr. R has a pop-up beach cabana coming his way.  Shhhhh…

This weekend, be sure to celebrate the dads in your life.  In addition to gifting your dad with the tacky ties, weed whackers, and golf tchotchkes, let him know how much he’s loved and appreciated.  A big hug ought to do it.

And dance along with me if you’re so inclined.  Happy Saturday night!