Tag Archives: Christmas music

Self review of my latest performance at Addison Court

Greetings, readers. On Friday, December 1st, on my late father’s birthday, I performed my latest show for all my friends at Addison Court Apartments. The Mimic (the persona I use for performances) and friend Mike Weaver rocked out to the Beatles and to some Christmas tunes. I performed the live album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl. Here’s my official review.

I started my show rather oddly with the song I was going to do in the middle of the show. My friend Tasha from work, who had every intention of coming but wasn’t able to, wanted me to sing Luke Bryan’s “Move”. For weeks I struggled with it and wasn’t sure rather or not I was going to be able to learn it in time. But once I put that cowboy hat on and the tape was running, I nailed it to the wall. Tasha watched the video I made of it and was deeply moved.

Then I grabbed my sport jacket and began the first segment of the Beatles show, with “Twist and Shout” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. I know these songs like the back of my hand, so not much practice was needed for those. Then came the bugaboo called “She’s a Woman”, sung by Paul McCartney. Though I’ve heard it many times, I really had to study the lyrics; if you’re not careful it can be a tongue twister. Continuing on with songs such as “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” and “Can’t Buy Me Love”, the show sped along. Before I knew it, it was time for “Roll Over Beethoven”, the last song before my break. Then Mike Weaver took over.

His segment was Christmas carols. My two favorite songs he did were “Jingle Bells” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. He used a small Christmas tree prop and literally walked around it as he performed the song. He also acted out and sang along to “Frosty the Snowman”. (It reminded me of the old 1953 “Frosty the Snowman” short cartoon video from my childhood, which was shown during commercial breaks on my local channel 6 during the Christmas season.) Well done, Mike.

My second Beatles set began with one of my favorite Ringo Starr songs, “Boys”. Not only did I nailed it, I crushed it. I think people could sense that I was really having fun. I followed that with “You Can’t Do That” and later in the set, was a Paul McCartney early classic “All My Loving”. I must admit, I did have a little difficulty with his higher pitch on this song, but I trudged through willingly. Running out of steam, I ended the show with some air drumming and back-up vocals for “Long Tall Sally”. I didn’t quite know all the words because it is a quick song, so I just did the best I could. The response from everyone was quite positive and a couple of people gave me heartfelt compliments on the job I did.

I would have to give myself a solid 8.5 out of 10 for this performance. It was way better than the last one was.

Before I close, within the last week the world lost a dear friend in actor and singer Jim Nabors. I don’t care how many times I watch the Indianapolis 500 from now on, no one will ever be able to duplicate Jim Nabors’ rendition of “(Back Home Again in) Indiana”, which he sang at the beginning of the event for many years. R.I.P to Jim (Gomer Pyle) Nabors.

Rebecca will be blogging tomorrow because I am taking a much needed day off. We’ll be back together next week on our usual Wednesday. So until next time, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

Things in my world today, November 30, 2017

Greetings, readers. A bizarre thing happened last afternoon and evening that I wish to share with you in case any of you know what it might be and can give me advice in the comment section. I woke up from a nap to find both my hips and lower back stiff as a board. Occasionally I would have a sharp pain on one or both sides. It did not keep me from walking down to my appointment, though I was uncomfortable. Later, when I was watching television, I got a knife jab in my right side that made me consider going to the E.R.

I woke up in the middle of the night to find that the pain was almost gone, much to my relief. I don’t remember making a false move or lifting anything heavy, but obviously I strained something. Thank goodness this morning the pain is gone. I still wish I knew what it was and will it come back. Now on to other news.

Rebecca, Darren, and I are proofreading our copies of Four’s a Crowd. I’ve already found one scene that there is going to be head-butting about. It involves the female lead character saying a word I’m not comfortable with. The question is, with Darren the author of the novel, and me the author of the play it is based on, who should get the final say? Hopefully we can compromise.

More news. My Beatles sing along show is tomorrow, but at 3:30pm, not 1:00. There was a slight mix-up in the entertainment schedule and my show will start after the country line dancers are finished. It should make for a wonderful day’s entertainment. I will be singing along to the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl CD, and my friend Mike Weaver will be singing a few Christmas carols while I take a break between my two sets. I’m a tad worried that Mike and I have not had a practice session yet, but we’re not professions and if a clunker is made, it is okay. I’m sure folks will love the show.

It will be very odd not to go to my other job tomorrow and I do thank my manager Savannah for giving me the day off to do the show. I will work at my fast food job on Saturday, probably have off Sunday, and return to my regular schedule next week.

After Rebecca and I are finished with this blog entry, I am going to go on the Zipcar website and reserve a vehicle for the my Christmas Eve Light Ride. This year I want to book early to make sure I get a vehicle. I believe my other job will be closed that evening, so a work shift should not get in the way.

On a sadder note, I was in a bit of a funk yesterday when I learned about NBC’s Matt Lauer being fired for sexual misconduct. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has lost its shine for me now. He was the co-host of it for many years and that team was part of my special day. I watched part of it at David’s this year and have it set in my YouTube queue to watch anytime, but will probably not watch it after this. Next year it will be Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie and ?. If the allegations are true, Matt Lauer deserves to be locked up. I guess you never know about people. It is getting harder and harder to trust anyone in this world, but with my jolly personality, I shall try.

Lastly, I’ll be doing my show tomorrow and most likely be doing my own write-up about it for a blog post. Rebecca is unable to attend and if memory serves this will be the first show she has missed since we began working together. I just know that I am going to criticize my every mistake as most artists do. I promise I won’t be too hard on myself and cut myself some slack.

Until next week, which should be a two-day work week for us, have a wonderful weekend, take care, wish me luck on my show, and, as always, happy reading.

Merry Christmas eve and Christmas

Greetings, readers. This will be a short blog entry today, because I have a gazillion things to do before tonight’s Christmas Eve light ride and tomorrow’s Christmas festivities. As has happened in the past, things that I need to find disappear into the black hole that I call my apartment. The latest lost item is my electric shaver charger cord. There are two places that it may be hiding in. If it’s not in those two places, I’ve got a problem.

I was listening to lots of Christmas music yesterday and I’ll be sad when the season is over. Somehow it just seemed to go quicker this year. I feel like Traci and I just got back from Thanksgiving a few days ago. In actuality, it was really three and a half weeks.

Some time next month, I hope to begin my new budget as planned, though the beginning of a new insurance policy year may blow up my expenses for medication and co-pays until my deductible has been reached.

Finally, I will let everyone know that the first blog of the new year will be my annual New Year’s resolutions. I’m going to choose resolutions that are realistic and that I can attain. Spoiler alert: One of my resolutions will be to keep up with old friends better than I have been. So to my Facebook reader friends, you might just get that invite for coffee sometime.

Again, happy holidays to everybody, and here’s to a great 2016. Until Wednesday, take care, enjoy, and happy reading.

My Christmas decorating is almost finished :-D

Greetings, readers. The manger set, which was my mom’s, is now up on the credenza. With it is a picture of mom on one side, and a battery operated candle on the other. That small area of my apartment…, done!

Today, after morning coffee and Christmas music, I’m going to dig out one or two strands of lights. They’ll go around my framed snow scene painting, which is behind my recliner. I hope all the lights work. I have bad luck with lights sometimes.

Located in my hall closet are my three snow globes; two of which light up! By the end of the day, I think this place with be filled with the look of Christmas. I know it’s only December 8th, but I’m late already. Most years my decorations are up the day after Thanksgiving.

Well, this is the end of this unexpected, typed and edited on my own, blog entry. Rebecca and I will be back tomorrow with another one.

Until then, take care, have a good day and happy reading.

Top ten list of things I wish I had kept from my parents’ house

Greetings, readers. It pains me to have to say this, but when I moved into my new apartment, I simply didn’t have enough room to take everything I wanted from my parents’ house. I chose paintings, small knickknacks, and small family pictures. The two most important items I did take were the credenza which sat in the front hallway and my mom’s desk which was in her home office. I knew right away that I wasn’t going to part with those. When loved ones pass away, or are forced to sell a house, sometimes your judgement is clouded by emotions. This is what happened to me. Here’s a top ten list of items I wish I had taken before the house was cleared out. These are in no particular order except #1, and whose to say if I would have had room for them or not.

#10. My double bed. [I took Pop’s single bed instead and though it is comfortable, I quickly learned that I toss and turn way too much, and enjoyed the extra room the double bed gave me.]

#9. The marble coffee table. [My mom and dad’s house had two living rooms. The actual living room, a fancier room used for Dad’s parties for colleagues. And the family room where we sat and enjoyed life everyday. The marble coffee table was in the living room. It was my favorite room in the house.]

#8. My organ. [Although it was 8/10ths dead already, the organ my parents purchased for me held special memories; the nicest of which was me learning to play Christmas carols to perform at the holiday time. My favorite was “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.]

#7. The big screen TV. [This model was not one that hung on a wall and it would have taken up all of this apartment’s living room. Ha ha. For sports watching it was gorgeous.]

#6. The fancy clock in the living room which worked under its own power. [It was stylish, gorgeous and would have looked great on the credenza.]

#5. My grandmother’s teacup and saucer set. [I took the tea service but was dumb enough to forget the dainty cups and saucers that went along with it. Having fancy 4:00 tea with guests just doesn’t seem right when the tea has to be served in coffee mugs.]

#4. My grandmother’s chest of drawers. [Yes, it was fancy and maybe a little girlie, but I loved it and certainly could have put it to good use. The small bureau I took turned out to not have enough room for everything I needed it to hold.]

#3. My thick black winter coat. [I had a fancy thick black coat from New York, very stylish and warm in the winter, and in my sorrow and confusion, left it behind. It was something I could have easily had room for.]

#2. My Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins knit winter caps. [I had them from a very early age and they probably wouldn’t have fit anymore, but again, they would have been mementos I could easily store in my walk-in closet.]

#1. The house itself. [It goes without saying that I would have loved to keep the family home. I doubt very seriously whether I would have had the monetary means to pull it off for many years, but I didn’t even get a chance to try. On a side note, my eye doctor and her family now own our house. It’s not very often that you know the owners of your former home. Since Pop’s passing, I have been inside the old homestead once. It was very nicely remodeled but there was not much left that I could say I remembered as being from my house. It’s their place and I have no qualms with them making it theirs. I’m just going to remember it the way it was.]

There’s the list. Hope you enjoy. If you have questions or comments you can contact me either here or on my Facebook page.

I’m going out of town for Thanksgiving, so there will be no blog entries Wednesday or Friday. We do have one set up on a schedule to automatically post on Thursday. This is the first time we have tried this feature on WordPress, let’s hope it works. We will be back to our normal schedule the week after Thanksgiving.

Have a great holiday, take care, and happy reading. Gobble-gobble.

Christmas Eve 2014

Greetings, readers. I am very excited that tonight I get to do my Christmas Eve Light Ride. I have a Zipcar on reserve that I will pick up, and then use to drive through the neighboring communities to see what beautiful decorations people have put up for Christmas. I will use most of the same route that I have enjoyed since childhood when my parents started this tradition.

There were some years when, due to circumstances, I wasn’t able to do my light ride, and I missed it a lot. A couple of years I had to do it by bus, which was not the same at all. It wasn’t the same route, and one time a bus driver actually asked me if I had missed my stop because he thought I had been on the bus too long. That was embarrassing. The next year I told the bus driver when I got on what I was doing, and that worked better. But I still prefer to have my own wheels.

The weather has been cloudy for almost two straight weeks, and mist and precipitation are in the forecast for this evening. However, the temperature is supposed to be above freezing. As long as it isn’t icy, I don’t care what the weather is doing tonight – I am taking part in my tradition.

I am all ready to go for Christmas. Decorations are up, I have purchased for everyone, and I have been filled with Christmas music. Yesterday, I heard Eartha Kitt’s version of “Santa Baby” for the first time this season. I can’t believe it took this long. Thank you, Music Unlimited.

Keekee has extra special treats bought for her as her gift. Everyone knows I spoil her rotten. She and I will spend a nice day together tomorrow and at 6:00 I shall be off to a local church dinner. I, of course, will be thinking of the family, especially Godmother. It is the first Christmas without her.

I’m off to Pittsburgh on Monday for an overnight trip to see the Penn State men’s basketball team play a couple of games. Poor Keekee will have to keep herself company until I get back late on Tuesday. Then, I am looking forward to the parades and big bowl games on New Year’s Day. My favorite is the Rose Bowl.

Rebecca and I will have work next week Wednesday and Friday. So readers, have a wonderful holiday season, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, and we’ll see you next week. Take care and happy reading.

Whoo-hoot we got a book sale

Greetings, readers. I stopped over at Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe and talked to the owner about any recent sales of my books. I was happily surprised to learn that we did indeed have one sale of Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, my first blog book. I say first blog book, because a second one is in the planning stages. This news has my weekend off to a great start.

After ten straight days of cloudy weather, we are finally seeing slits of blue sky and the reflection of sunshine off some buildings. I was beginning to forget what that big, orange, glowing ball looked like. And yes, my depression was taking a hit. On the way up to work from Webster’s, I chatted with a lady in the building, and at the end of the conversation she told me what a wonderful attitude I had. So, I suppose, even if I’m a bit depressed on the outside, I must be projecting being happy on the outside.

As far as today and the weekend plans go, after our blog entry is posted, I’m going to try to dictate to Rebecca a short story for the final camp book. Either from scratch, or we will work from one that is already in a folder. Tomorrow is our usual Dungeons and Dragons day, and on Sunday I have been invited to a pre-holiday dinner. How wonderful it will be to get a complete and delicious meal. Being a depressed bachelor, my diet is not what it should be.

The holidays are coming up, as we all know, and my place is as decorated as it is going to be. I will be taking my Christmas Eve light ride, watching parades, ball games, and the Christmas Mass from Rome, and doing other traditional holiday things that I have done since childhood. For the past year or so, I’ve felt an overwhelming urge to get back to my roots and be who I was, not who I am now. I almost feel like I want to start over again – now there’s something to talk to my psychologist about.

Here’s wishing everybody a good last week of holiday preparations and shopping. I don’t bake cookies but I’m sure that there will be some delicious dessert at the holiday meal. I am getting my fill of eggnog; I love it but sometimes the spices in it don’t like me too much. Thank goodness for Prilosec.

Until Wednesday, have a great weekend, stay warm, and happy reading.

Money money money … money!

Greetings, readers. Have you ever had one of those weeks where money just seems to fly out of your wallet? I’m experiencing one of those weeks right now. Christmas is right around the corner and I have some people to shop for. I’m also going to treat myself to one Christmas gift this year. That’s not the big issue. Some unexpectedly high bills have come in, putting a slight damper on my holiday mood.

Yesterday I went to the dentist. Although it was a painless and relatively pleasant experience, as dentist visits go, the bill was much higher than I was expecting it to be. It is enough to make me never eat sweets ever again.

Speaking of that one Christmas gift I’m going to treat myself to, it’s either going to be a trade in and upgrade of my gaming system, or a Keurig coffee maker so I don’t have to spend as much money at Panera. For the gaming system trade, I would imagine I would have to shell out $200 to $300. For the coffee maker, probably $125 for the version with the water reservoir. Right now the Keurig is in the lead.

I’m definitely getting into the Christmas season mood. This morning I listened to Christmas music on Pandora while waiting for Rebecca to come to work. I know that it seems that money is leaking out of my wallet, but it is that time of year, and I’ve already told my accountant and Rebecca that in the next month or so I will rein in my expenditures if I can. Well, how about that, another goal set. I will be pleased to keep you up to date on my progress.

Lastly, I passed my latest inspection yesterday with flying colors.

That is the news from here. Rebecca and I will have a new blog entry for you on Friday. Take care, stay warm, enjoy life, and happy reading.

Now that the holidays are done …

Greetings, readers. First off, before I forget, four more pics of my musical KISS performance have been added to our new page, which is now called Performance pictures. The name I chose yesterday, Pictures of Joe’s Musical Performances, was too long for the top of the blog, especially compared to the one-word names of the other pages.

I hope everybody had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a wonderful New Year’s Day. I certainly did. As I told Rebecca, I was planning on watching one of the New Year’s Day’s parades, but after a mild case of insomnia after staying up to watch Ryan Seacrest and his co-host of several years Jenny McCarthy drop the ball in Times Square, I just couldn’t get up early enough. So, this is what I did instead. I awakened about 10:00 and immediately put on the Netflix streaming version of Crackling Fireplace. I chose the track with the traditional Christmas music and watched and listened to it for an hour. After that I went to Panera – yes they were open New Year’s Day – and got myself a yummy blueberry muffin and a cup of their wonderful coffee. At 1:30, Rebecca came in to work for a half-day session. After that, I turned on Netflix again and watched a whole slew of my new favorite show in re-runs, Futurama. Never having liked the Simpsons, I didn’t think I would like Futurama either. Oops, who knew? I’m addicted.

New Year’s Day evening was spent losing … I mean playing … John Madden football at the highest difficulty level. Yes, I love a challenge. I decided to get to bed a little bit earlier than usual.

Overall, I would have to give this holiday season from Thanksgiving through yesterday a B+. Last year I was depressed and did not really make my apartment festive. This holiday season was much better. Lights went up, I watched A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott a couple of times, drank lots of egg nog and listened to Christmas tunes. The only thing that would have made this holiday season better would have been if my mom and dad were still here to share it with me. I do miss them everyday of course, but much more on holidays.

The banner image for this blog is currently a shot of Christmas lights around a framed painting that used to hang in my mom and dad’s house, but now hangs in my apartment. This banner will remain up until next Wednesday. That is when Rebecca and I will choose another picture and switch it out.

For all of you who are in the major snow storm this week, take extra care, stay warm, and as always, happy reading.

The importance of music in my life

Greetings, readers. Yesterday, on three hours sleep, I tried to get as much editing done on the project as I could. As it turned out, I had to turn it over to Rebecca and basically pass out. That actually worked well, she said, for Rebecca was quickly scanning through the draft from top to bottom to find numbers, such as times of day, in digits or spelled out, so we could make everything consistent in the book. All times in digits, numbers under a hundred spelled out. Mostly a one person job.

Now on to today’s topic. There is an on-line service which I subscribe to through my PS3, called Music Unlimited. Here, you can search for songs or artists, and boy, have I found some “blasts from my past.” Music has always been a humongous part of my life. As a child, with my parents, traveling in Europe, I remember my old black cassette recorder and playing a tape of German folk songs, one of which was called, “Mein Gott, Walther.” It was recorded live in what sounded like a coffee house or small bar. Just a handful of people. Though I know little German, to me it was still funny because everyone else was laughing hysterically.

Around the age of ten or so, which would make it 1975, I did like the Jackson 5. I owned at least six or seven of their albums. Now I was, and still am, the kind of person who will select an album or a tape and play it for a week or two and then switch. Jackson 5 songs such as “Goin’ Back to Indiana,” “Dancing Machine,” and “Skywriter” were big favorites of mine. I was ten, my voice hadn’t cracked yet, and I could hit the notes.

Also that year my friend and next door neighbor hooked me on a group called KISS. Alive! and Hotter Than Hell were two of my early favorite albums from the band.

Although most songs that I have equated to different times in my life have been pleasant, some songs such as “Forever,” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” were girlfriend songs. Usually when one breaks up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, not only does the song lose its special meaning, but also may be emotionally difficult to listen to. As the years pass, however, wounds heal and there really are only a handful of songs which I cannot listen to. I would say perhaps five total.

Thanks to Music Unlimited, I have found such American classics as the Kiki Dee Band’s “I’ve Got the Music in Me,” “Yell Help” from Elton John, and some classical favorites such as Mozart’s “Symphony No. 29,” and “Symphony No. 33.”

Christmas music is especially important to me. When I would go to Christmas Eve service with Mom and Dad as a child, I would always delight in singing “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Hark! The Harold Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night.” When the Christmas service was almost over the very last hymn was “Silent Night, Holy Night.” One of my most cherished childhood memories was of the lights dimming in the church, everyone taking their candles and lighting them and singing that beautiful song. I was always afraid that I was going to drip wax on myself, scream, drop the candle, and set the church on fire. Luckily that never happened. When the song was over and the lights would come up again, it would be midnight and Christmas morning.

Yes, music has played a big part in my life. From associating Bach and Mozart to my father, early KISS to my early childhood, or music on the jukebox list on my favorite PlayStation game, I’m always eager to make a connection to tunes.