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–Of Dreams and Dreamers

It’s Mr. R’s birthday today.  A big one–he’s fifty!  You might recall a few years ago when I freaked out over turning the big 5-0.  That’s right, I’m a proper cougar, LOL!

Back then, we didn’t have money for a big gift or anything, but he made me this promise–one day we’ll take a trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England.  Now, having nearly finished our extreme renovation, and being smack in the middle of a life re-set, we are in the same position.  My promise to him–one day we’ll take a trip to Spain.  He longs for Madrid and Barcelona.

Those trips will happen.  We’re just the kind of dreamers to believe.  For now, I’m content to add to my bucket list.  And one of those must-do items is: Pay a musician in a pub in Galway to play Galway Girl.  Did I ever mention the time Mr. R paid a guy at my favorite bar in the world, the James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City, to play Dirty Old Town?  Another story for another day.

Tonight, I have two different Galway Girls, and I’m obsessed with both of them.  They were each posted by my favorite bar in the world (and yes, I have about five of those) Paddy Reilly’s in Manhattan.  Once on a business trip (and for teachers, those are RARE) I dragged my whole group from the upper west side where we were staying, to Paddy’s on the lower east side, just to hear The Prodigals play their home bar (Bucket List item #27, check!).  Follow Paddy Reilly’s on Facebook for great music, including the moments they go live.  Trust me, you’ll love it!

Anyway, from the pair of us dreamers, to you and yours, Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Love Shack

Can you believe February’s almost gone?  I must admit, I’m pretty happy about it.  I’m counting down the days until June 5, which, if everything works out, should be my last day as a ‘highly qualified professional educator.’  I’m planning on walking right out of there, the better to write full-time.

This week, Mr. R is taking his newly minted real estate license and joining a firm with a household name.  He’s thrilled to be out of the television news business and moving on to being his own boss.

Our massive home reno project is very nearly finished.  All that remains is my bathroom sink and vanity top, which should be in place by Tuesday.  And do I have photos for you!  But that’s another  post.

Yep.  Right here in the middle of our f-word years, Mr. R and I are reinventing ourselves.  Mid-life crisis, you say?  Maybe.  But the truth is, life is too short to continue to settle.  There’s no time like the present to actively pursue our dreams.  Will we succeed?  Who knows.  But we won’t succeed if we don’t try.  There will always be news stations that need video editors, photographers, and assignments editors.  And there will always be schools that need teachers.  So like they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Tonight I’m feeling all retro and funky.  Kind of like the B-52s.  I hope the end of February finds you well.  Kick back and enjoy a little Love Shack, baby.  Hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Love Shack

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
“15 miles to the
Love Shack”
Love Shack, yeah, yeah
I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway
Lookin’ for the love getaway
Headed for the love getaway
I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale
And we’re headin’ on down to the Love Shack
I got me a Chrysler, it seats about 20
So hurry up and bring your jukebox money

The love shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (a-Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)

Sign says (woo) “Stay away, fools”
‘Cause love rules at the Love Shack
Well, it’s set way back in the middle of a field
Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the highway

The Love Shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at
Love Shack, that’s where it’s at

Huggin’ and a-kissin’
Dancin’ and a-lovin’
Wearin’ next to nothin’
‘Cause it’s hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies
Yeah, the whole shack shimmies
The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s
Movin’ around and around and around and around
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’, baby
Folks linin’ up outside just to get down
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’, baby
Funky little shack
Funky little shack

Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale and it’s about to set sail
I got me a car, like, it seats about 20
So come on and bring your jukebox money

The Love Shack is a little old place where we can get together
Love Shack, baby (a-Love Shack, baby)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at, yeah)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)

Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Knock a little louder, baby
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
I can’t hear you
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Knock a little louder, sugar
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
I can’t hear you
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby (Knock a little louder)
Bang, bang, bang, on the door, baby
Bang, bang (On the door, baby)
Bang, bang (On the door)
Bang, bang (On the door, baby)
Bang, bang
Your what?
Tin roof, rusted

Love Shack, baby, Love Shack
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at, yeah)
Love Shack, baby, Love Shack (Love, baby, that’s where it’s at)
Love, baby, Love Shack
Huggin’ and a-kissin’,
Dancin’ and a-lovin’
At the Love Shack

Saturday Night Serenade–Feeling Alright

Last week, I was feeling a little down, remembering a lot of those we lost over the last year.  I was determined to be more upbeat this week.

And then yesterday, a young man struggling with mental illness boarded a plane in Anchorage and flew to Ft. Lauderdale.  Upon arrival, he retrieved his belongings from Baggage Claim, removed a gun, and proceeded to shoot up the place.  Why?  Because the voices told him to.

And don’t even get me started about the four thugs in Chicago who held another mentally challenged young man against his will and tortured him, streaming it LIVE ON FACEBOOK.

It just leaves you shaking your head.  What the hell is going on with the world?  I have no idea, and I don’t have the solution to the problem.  I’m pretty sure our next Commander in Chief doesn’t either.

Here’s what I think.  If we want a kinder, gentler world, we need to be kinder and gentler in our circles of influence.  So, new rule for 2017: BE KIND.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  Yeah, I’m going to give that a whirl.  See what happens.

I hope this evening finds you feeling alright.  A little Joe Cocker can’t hurt, anyway.  Be sure to hug the ones you love, I know I’ll be doing that.

In this new year, I wish you peace, love, and kindness.  Happy Saturday night!

This Should Be Interesting

We have an issue at work these days.  For anyone who doesn’t know, for the time being, I’m a teacher at a high-poverty, low-performing public school.  According to last year’s high-stakes testing, we are actually the lowest-performing elementary school in the entire district.  That’s not good.

Because of the poor test results, the Principal of the past six years was removed in the middle of the summer.  He was replaced by a woman who has quite the reputation in the district.  When people out in the community find out who our Principal is, they generally make the sign of the cross.  And, no, that’s not an exaggeration.

This woman is vile.  She makes Kevin Spacey look like Mr. Rogers.  Staff members have been dropping like flies.  The Assistant Principal, the confidential secretary, the data processor, the attendance clerk, two different IT guys, and about twenty custodians have been replaced.  People have been escorted out by police, only to have this woman tell us in a staff meeting how she clung to their ankles and begged them not to leave.

Teachers have been singled out and bullied, called on their mobile phones after hours and told that they’re not being “team players.”  While I’ve had one documented observation, some of my colleagues have them nearly every week, and they’re told that they’re not working hard enough, that their skills are inferior.

Paranoia reigns, and it’s not uncommon for folks to look over their shoulder before they talk to their friends and co-workers.  Stories abound of Admin listening in to conversations, of loyalists who report back on things that people say.

That’s not all, either.  There is evidence that the Administration has tampered with the recent standardized diagnostic testing, the tests that predict how students will do on the formal tests in the spring.  There is also evidence that Administration is playing fast and loose with finances, failing to comply with district-mandated procedures regarding money students pay for special events.

All of which is why, very quietly, a small group of us is working with the union to see that these things are investigated.  It’s not unheard of for a Principal to be removed from a school if it is deemed that that Administrator is creating a hostile work environment.

Morale is in the sewer, to say the least.  Unlike every year since I started working at this school, there is no formal holiday party planned.  Which is why a few trusted friends and I thought it would be nice to get a group together for an informal holiday happy hour at a local watering hole.   Just a little spirit-booster to say, ‘Hey, we’re in this together.’

But then…

A little spazz we like to refer to as Hurricane (who wasn’t included on the invite list, by the way) got wind of our plan and decided EVERYONE needed to be invited.  I’ve seen her running around the school, babbling like a slot machine that hasn’t stopped spinning, telling everyone about where and when.  She even marched herself into the office and invited Administration.

So.  A handful of people, including some of those who have been removed, are meeting in a very different location from the original plan.  It’s not what I’d intended it to be.  I wanted to give some folks a bit of hope right here before Christmas.

What about me?  Like I said, knock wood, by and large they seem to be leaving me alone.  But when you hear about groups of teachers being called in and berated about ridiculous things, you know it’s only a matter of time.

I’m quietly planning on this being my last year in education.  The industry sucks anyway, and this situation only exacerbates that fact.  Luckily, because of ignorant choices I made early on, I can actually retire any time I like, taking with me a nice nest egg of a retirement, plus they’ll buy out my banked sick hours at 100%.

Next fall, when every is dragging themselves back to the grind, I’ll be writing full-time.  But I might as well raise a little hell before I go.   😉

The Best Indie Book You’re Not Reading

Looking for your next great read?  And no, I’m not talking about erotic romance.  This time.

Image result for larry louderback

I want to share a great new memoir I just read called Martial Arts Soul: One Man’s Journey by Larry Louderback.  Larry is a martial arts expert (and a personal friend) and in the book he shares an intimate look at his life-path through martial arts.  By the way, that’s Larry on the front cover.

Here’s the review I left on Amazon.

I loved this book! Martial Arts Soul: One Man’s Journey by martial arts expert Larry Louderback is a deeply personal and heartfelt portrait of his life experience through martial arts. Through story after story, some poignant and others humorous (the time he inadvertently karate-kicked his wife was hilarious), Louderback invites us to take the journey along with him, learning not only about martial arts, but about life.
Great book, 5 well-deserved stars!

I have even better news.  While the book is priced at $2.99 on Amazon, it’s available FREE on Smashwords.  Use THIS LINK to get your free copy today.  And please remember to leave a review.

Saturday Night Serenade–The Joker

Holy cats, last week was rough!  We’re all trying to get accustomed to the new normal and it seems pretty rocky.  It made me long for simpler times.

The Joker by the Steve Miller Band was released in 1973, a year no one could call simpler, not by a long shot.  But I was a kid, and the social and political climates of the day were kind of lost on me.  Music was a place of refuge as much then as it is now.

This song is about a guy who just wants to live and let live.  I love this live version, CeeLo Green aside, and the fact that they’ve held up remarkably well.

And there’s something encouraging about the fact that we all survived the turmoil of the 70s.  We’ll probably survive this, too.  If we all remember to speak of the pompitous of love.

Hug those you love and tell’em it’s all going to be okay.  Happy Saturday night!

The Joker

Some people call me the space cowboy yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
Cause’ I speak of the pompitous of love

People talk about me baby
Say I’m doin’ you wrong, doin’ you wrong
But don’t you worry baby don’t worry
Cause’ I’m right here at home

Cause’ I’m a picker
I’m a grinner
I’m a lover
And I’m a sinner
Playin’ my music in the sun
I’m a joker
I’m a smoker
I’m a mid-night toker
I get my lovin’ on the run
Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

You’re the cutest thing that I ever did see
I really love your peaches
Want to shake your tree
Lovey dovey, lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time
Ooh wee baby, I sure show you a good time

Cause’ I’m a picker
I’m a grinner
I’m a lover
And I’m a sinner
Playin’ my music in the sun
I’m a joker
I’m a smoker
I’m a mid-night toker
I sure don’t want to hurt no one

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

People keep talkin’ about me baby
Say I’m doin’ you wrong
Well don’t you worry, don’t worry, no don’t worry mama
Cause’ I’m right here at home
You’re the cutest thing I ever did see
Really love your peaches want to shake your tree
Lovey dovey, lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time
Come on baby now, I’ll show you a good time