Tag Archives: music

Listening Again

Note: The following post was inspired by a writing prompt by Scott, whose website is Mental Defecation. I don’t mean that as an insult. That’s actually the name of his blog!

This month, Scott provided 30 song-related writing prompts for November. His prompt for November 18th was to write about (a) a song you love but rarely listen to, or (b) a song from the year you were born.

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I’ve decided to write about a song I love but rarely listen to. It’s one I first heard about 12 years ago, when it was performed by Oscar Fuentes, a singer-songwriter from Guadalajara who now lives in Tucson, Arizona. The piece, written by León Chávez Teixeiro, a Mexican composer of social justice songs, has a very unusual name: 15 metros, 3 pulgadas, 8 octavos, 16.

Why I Love this Song

I love its melody, its chords, the spoken part that comes in about halfway through it, the rising intensity that really takes off in the last minute, and the way my friend Oscar sings it with so much feeling. Most of all, I love the emotions it brings out in me. The song just inexplicably touches my soul. And all of that without my knowing what the song is about.

The words are sung in Spanish, and only in Spanish. As far as I know, they’ve never been translated. And even though I have a pretty good working knowledge of Spanish, I know I’m missing a whole lot here. I think the lyrics are probably like poetry … the kind of poetry whose meaning isn’t all that obvious.

By reading a few YouTube comments (in Spanish) I’ve been able to gather that it’s a letter to someone from a worker who’s been injured on a job. But I think it’s also about love, loss, pain, and maybe even corruption. And at the end, there’s an invitation to “visit me, if you remember your friend, and I’ll give you a cup of hot coffee.” I hope I have that right. I’m guessing that, since the songwriter, Teixeiro, was known for his social activism, it’s probably a political song.

But I still don’t understand the significance of the numbers (15 meters, 3 inches, 8/8, 16) that are sung only twice during the song, and that make up the song’s title. If anyone can explain the song’s meaning to me, please leave a comment below.

Why I Rarely Listen to It

The best way to hear this song, in my opinion, is to go to one of Oscar’s gigs and hear him perform it live. But since I no longer live in Tucson, that option is out.

I do have his CD, “Esto Que Ves,” which includes this song, but I just haven’t been listening to my CDs lately. Life has gotten in the way. Isn’t that sad? I’m going to have to change my ways. I’ve been missing out on so many good musical moments.

And now that I’ve found a brand new video of Oscar performing it live in his studio (yay!) I’ll be listening to it a lot more often.

What I’m Doing Right Now

Listening to Oscar singing 15 metros, 3 pulgadas, 8 octavos, 16, of course. He’s accompanied by his music partner Mark Anthony Febbo, another talented Tucson musician.

I highly recommend that you click the link below and do the same. If you do, be sure to TURN IT UP LOUD, especially toward the end.

Oscar Fuentes and Mark Anthony Febbo – Quince Metros

Yep. It still gets to me.

You can also hear a wonderful recording of the song’s composer, León Chávez Teixeiro, performing it at age 83, here (with a beautiful piano accompaniment):

León Chávez Teixeiro y Guillermo Briseño – 15 Metros

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This is post #18 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Featured image (girl with guitar) by Saydung89 @ pixabay.com

Venturing Out

In my previous three posts (Souvenirs, Parts 1, 2, and 3), I reminisced about the past. I also told you about my NOT terrible, NOT horrible, GOOD, in fact VERY GOOD day spent with my grandson. But I still haven’t gotten to what I did that night … and I’d love to tell you about that now.

My Dilemma

My old friend Alex and new friend Hanna, both excellent blues musicians, were playing a gig downtown with local blues legend Joe Beard. I really, really wanted to go, but I hadn’t found anyone to go with – and for me, walking into a bar alone is just awkward. In fact, I hate it.

In the midst of my angst, I decided to check Facebook. That’s when I noticed that fellow blogger Ra Avis (“Cheer Pepper” Captain and blogger extraordinaire at rarasaur.com) had reached out to the NanoPoblano blogging group and asked how we all were doing. After all, it was Day 10 of our monthly blog-a-thon, and she knew we were probably needing a virtual hug.

After whining to her about being tired, I opened up about my dilemma. To go or not to go, that was the question. I definitely was leaning toward not going. I told myself I was tired, I’d had a long day, it was dark out, where would I park, etc., etc.. But the real problem was walking into a bar alone.

I vacillated. Somehow, in the course of writing down my thoughts in response to Ra’s thoughtful query, I found the answer. It didn’t hit me all at once, but I could almost see it congealing before my eyes as I typed, like a courage ball that kept growing bigger and bigger. I almost dropped it, but at the very last minute, I held it in my hands just long enough to tell myself, “maybe,” and then “why not,” and finally, “just do it.” “Okay, I’m going,” I told Ra.

I don’t remember her exact reply, but I know she said “go” and “be safe” and “let us know how it was.” It felt like she had my back, and it really made a difference.

As it turned out, I found a parking spot right by the door and entered the very crowded Abilene Bar and Lounge just as the band started to play their first song. I felt good, I smiled, I walked in with my head up and eyes straight ahead. And it was all good. Nothing bad happened! I’ll do it again, especially to hear my friends play. But next time, I’ll try and find someone to go with sooner, rather than later!

The Band

Inside, I was surprised to see rows of chairs set up near the stage. Sitting there seemed much less stressful than hanging around at the bar, plus there was an empty chair in row 2. I took it, and I stayed put for the next 2 hours (except for once, when I did visit the bar. I mean, it was a bar, after all!)

The music was really, really good. I was so glad I went.

Many thanks to Ra and the Cheer Peppers for supporting me, and to all of you who read my posts. I’m really grateful to have an outlet for my thoughts. Writing can sort things out, and sometimes it even helps solve dilemmas, too.

Here are some photos from last night.

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This is post #12 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Souvenirs, Part 3

Another day, another ticket stub, or maybe two or three, to talk about. But which ones? I’ll go with opera, rock, and comedy, in that order.

And no, I’m not talking about a funny rock opera, although that would be awesome. Has it been done? I don’t think so. Somebody, please write one.

Metropolitan Opera, New York City, 2002

Last time, I told you about seeing “Rent” in May, 2001. Well, a few months later, my daughter Erica and I found ourselves back in the Big Apple, and this time we were staying with my cousin Gina, an actress and dancer who lives about a block from where the story of “Rent” took place.

Gina was appearing on stage at the Metropolitan Opera, one of about a dozen dancers in Strauss’ “Die Frau Ohne Schatten,” and we had tickets. Walking into the classy Met was an unforgettable experience. Everything seemed so polished. We climbed several steps to get to our seats in one of the balconies. It was probably the top tier (the cheap seats). By the time we’d gotten there, my daughter had twisted her ankle.

Photo by WikiImages @ pixabay.com

The opera itself was unforgettable. It isn’t the music that I remember, but the sets, which were dazzlingly detailed. There was one scene that required an underworld and a celestial world, and this effect was achieved by means of a huge mirror that split the set horizontally.

I recall the dancers, too. From my seat in the upper atmosphere, though, I couldn’t really tell which one was my cousin. And I didn’t understand the plot, either. The words were in German, and even though they were translated into English in real time, on individual screens that sat directly in front of each person’s seat, it was like watching a movie with subtitles – a movie written in the early 1900s, no less.

We had to leave during intermission. My daughter’s ankle had begun to swell. Oddly enough, the next time I went to New York, I twisted my ankle, too. I’ll save that story for another day!

Jeff Beck, New York State Fair, Syracuse, 1999

I remember little about this concert, probably because I’m not a Jeff Beck fan. I know he’s thought of as one of the world’s finest guitarists, a “guitarist’s guitarist,” even. Maybe someday my taste will change, but for now I have to say he’s not my cup of tea. I wish we’d gone to see Lucinda Williams, who also performed there that year, instead. Britney Spears was at the fair that year, too … at the age of 17.

Late Night with Conan O’Brien, NBC Television Studios, 2001

My kids and I were big Conan fans (boy, is he ever funny!), so for our 2001 trip to New York, I got us tickets to his TV show. It was exciting for all of us. Conan came out and introduced himself to individual members of the audience before the show began. He stood right in front of me (boy, is he ever tall!), and shook hands with one of my daughters. Then, during his monologue, they cheered extra loud, and his response (“Thanks, ladies!”) was directed at them. Unfortunately, he put little air quotes around the word “ladies,” which was both funny and not funny. (We have it on tape.)

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This is post #11 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Souvenirs, Part 1

My photography critique group’s assignment last month was to submit three photos inspired by song or book titles. I’ve already shared one of those photos in my post, “Secrets Revealed” — the one called “Chelsea Morning,” which was inspired by a song by Joni Mitchell. Today I’ll show you my photo titled “Souvenirs,” inspired by the song and cd by John Prine.

If you’ve never heard of John Prine, I highly suggest you listen to him singing “Hello in There,” and then listen to Brandi Carlile sing it, too (with an amazing introduction by Stephen Colbert). Don’t be put off by Prine’s voice, which I’ll admit isn’t the best. It’s his honest, down-to-earth persona and absolutely devastating lyrics that get me.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about him:

 John Edward Prine … was an American singer-songwriter of country-folk music. He was active as a composer, recording artist, live performer, and occasional actor from the early 1970s until his death. He was known for an often humorous style of original music that has elements of protest and social commentary.

… Widely cited as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, Prine was known for humorous lyrics about love, life, and current events, as well as serious songs with social commentary and songs that recollect sometimes melancholy tales from his life.”

Wikipedia, Nov. 9, 2022

Sadly, I never got to see him perform live. He passed away from COVID-19 on April 7, 2020. But before he died, I’d listened to his “Souvenirs” cd many times. I’d sung along to it in the car so often that I’d memorized all of the lyrics and most of the little inflections in his voice.

I decided to use the song, “Souvenirs,” for my photo assignment. I knew I had a stash of memorabilia in my guest room closet (I’d recently been in there looking for something), so I went back in and retrieved a handful of ticket stubs. Here are just a few of them:

These ticket stubs really brought back some good memories. For example:

The Kinks at Melody Fair, 1995

I remember Ray Davies entering the stage wrapped in a British flag, and the excitement of hearing him and, I believe, his brother Dave, performing all their greatest hits from the 60s. I particularly remember his energy. And now, every time I listen to “The Kinks Choral Collection,” an album of Kinks songs Ray sings with a symphonic orchestra and full chorus of backup singers, I feel that energy.

No, not that kind of chorus.

It’s this kind of chorus:

And, believe it or not, they blow the roof off of “All Day and All of the Night” and “You Really Got Me.”

Rent, Nederlander Theatre, NYC Theater District, May 27, 2001

In 2001, my daughters (ages 17 and 21 at the time) and I took an all-girls vacation to New York City. I’m not from the BIG city, so it’s always a thrill for me to go there. We had fun and saw lots of Big Yellow Taxis, the kind Joni Mitchell wrote about.

It was my 17-year-old who suggested we see the musical “Rent,” and we managed to nab cheap tickets that very day. The production was great. My favorite song was “Seasons of Love” (“525,600 Minutes”). Seeing “Rent” had a major impact on my daughter’s decision to become a social worker, which she still is to this day.

In the next installment of “Souvenirs,” I’ll share more memories jarred loose by seeing these ticket stubs. Which ones do you want to hear about next?

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This is post #9 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

The Magic of Light

In 1666, while young Isaac Newton was quarantined in a dark bedroom to avoid catching the plague, he noticed a tiny beam of light pouring through a hole in his window. Using a glass prism, he bent the light to make a rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo. (Not violet, but that’s coming. For now, it’s just ROYGBI.)

Next, he reunited the ribbons of light using a second prism, turning them a solid white again. This was how he proved that light, which we perceive as white, is actually made up of several colors.

Newton then drew a chart of the six rainbow colors, adding a seventh one (you guessed, it, violet) by combining the first (red) with the sixth (indigo) in order to connect the arc together in a continuous circle.

And finally, he labeled his seven-color wheel with the letters A through G. Why did he choose these letters? He wanted them to match the seven notes in the western musical scale. I think he felt a connection between colors and music … as many people do. The connection is kind of magical (one could even say it’s a Rainbow Connection, especially if one were Kermit the Frog).

Here’s Newton’s illustration of the Color Wheel. Note that the sections are unevenly spaced, corresponding to the way notes on the musical scale are arranged (full steps after A, C, D, F, and G, but only half-steps after B and E).

Speaking of colors, here are some colorful autumn scenes, taken just last month. Click each one for a bigger burst of color.

Since Newton’s birthday is December 25, I’m going to go out on a limb (an apple tree limb, of course), and guess that his favorite colors were red and green. Mine are yellow and indigo. What are your favorite colors?

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This is post #7 of the month-long challenge known as #NaBloPoMo or #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, please click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

And, to read more of the NanoPoblano posts written by the supportive blogging group “Cheer Peppers,” click the image below.

Songwriting Club

My sister Lisa recently suggested I join her songwriting club. The group is given a prompt and then meets once a month to perform their new songs for each other (followed by polite applause and short critiques). Even though I get nervous performing in public, I decided to give it a whirl.

What’s the worst that can happen, I asked myself. I’ll be on Zoom, and if I can tell by their faces that my song really sucks, I’ll just mute myself and blame it on my computer!

This month’s prompt is Home. That’s a pretty broad topic. Maybe a little too broad, I thought. And for an entire day or two, I wracked my brain trying to come up with a clever idea. I even made this list of phrases using the word “home,” hoping it would lead me somewhere:

But that list just led me in circles. In desperation, I sat down at my piano keyboard. Now, mind you, my piano skills are somewhere between beginner and advanced beginner. But sometimes my fingers accidentally land on notes that lead me to a song idea. This time, it worked.

I played a couple of simple chords, and – lo and behold – some words popped into my head. I hate to admit it, though: they were pretty dumb words. The words were:

“Since my baby left me.”

Yeah, I know, that’s been done before (in the song “Heartbreak Hotel”). But what good is a good song lyric if you can’t steal it, I asked myself.

Just so I wouldn’t be sued by the estate of Thomas Durden, who wrote Heartbreak Hotel, I decided to give my song a more positive twist. Somehow, I’d turn heartbreak into happiness.

Writing a song about heartbreak turned on its head was difficult. The struggle was real, as these pictures will demonstrate:

In the end, I DID manage to come up with something positive, and, I think, positively funny. Here’s what I’ve got so far for my new song, “Home Alone”:

So now you know a few of my songwriting secrets, and also what happened “since my baby left me.”

P.S. The song above is a work of FICTION. My baby didn’t leave me, and I don’t like being home alone!

This is post #3 in this year’s #NaBloPoMo challenge, a.k.a. #NanoPoblano. To follow my blog, just click below where it says “Follow loristory.”

Thanks!

Secrets Revealed!

Welcome to Day 2 of NaBloPoMo and NanoPoblano (November’s 30-day blog post challenge).

I have a new camera!

Yes, about two weeks ago, I bought a Nikon Z5. It’s a step up from my Nikon D3200, and it comes with some awesome features like full frame sensor, mirrorless, better sensor, image stabilization, tilting touch screen, and more focus points. Plus, it even has the ability to stack several photos on top of each other.

Secret #1: I don’t really understand any of that, but I’m hoping for some interesting results, eventually!

I also bought a new lens to go with my camera, a 28-75mm zoom.

Secret #2: My old 18-300mm zoom lens was fairly crappy. The more I used it, the more I came to realize that. In low-light situations, or when zooming all the way out (for example, when trying to capture birds in flight), everything was either grainy or out of focus. It was frustrating. My new lens seems to be doing better. It only zooms out to 75mm, but that’s okay, because I think it’s a better quality lens. Eventually, I’ll buy the 28-200mm I have my eye on, but for now I’m just going to focus (pardon the pun) on learning to use what I’ve got.

Here’s one of the first shots I took with the Z5 – a zinnia in my garden. For this shot, zoomed out to 75mm, I got close to the flower and set the f-stop at 2.8, which gives the photo that soft, blurry background known as “bokeh.”

And here’s another one of my first “new camera” photos. I think it’s the first still life I’ve ever attempted.

I set the camera on a tripod and experimented with different lighting, including filtered window light plus a floor lamp. For the background, I went to a fabric store in search of black velvet. The closest they could come to that was brown velveteen, which I settled for, and I’m glad I did … I like how the soft brownish tones go with the toast.

But … Secret #3: I wish I’d gotten more of this photo in focus. I could have done that if I’d taken my time and adjusted the f-stop from 5.6 to a higher number.

By the way, that plate in the picture? I spent $10 on it at an antique store, specifically for this picture, and … Secret #4: I promptly smashed a chunk of it off when I accidentally banged it against the bowl of oranges while arranging the shot. I cobbled the plate back together with clear packing tape, and then … Secret #5: I airbrushed the crack line in the photo using my Lightroom photo editing software. (Okay, now you know all my secrets.)

This still life is based on a song, “Chelsea Morning,” by Joni Mitchell. Do you know it? Click the link and you can watch her singing it live in 1969. I actually just met someone online who had never heard of or listened to Joni’s song, “Blue,” and that made me sad. If you’ve never heard “Blue,” I urge you to listen to it!

But now, back to Chelsea Morning. The song, one of Joni’s earliest recordings, includes the following lyrics, which you’ll hear at 1:38 in the video:

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
and the first thing that I knew
there was milk and toast and honey
and a bowl of oranges, too.

After all this talk about songs, I think my next post will be about my own attempts to write a new song, which I’ve titled “Home Alone.” And it isn’t the least bit sad!

Lucky to Live in the ROC (Part 1)

A friend is staying with me this summer, and the weather has been cooperating. In fact, since his arrival, we’ve had almost constant sunshine (and that’s really rare for Rochester). As a result, we’ve been going out on little adventures every day.

Now, through my friend’s eyes, I’m starting to appreciate my hometown more than ever, and I’ve decided to write about this in my new series, “Lucky to Live in the ROC.” In each segment, I’ll discuss something really special about Rochester, New York – something that makes me glad I moved back home.

PART 1: THE LITTLE

The Little Theatre, a.k.a. “The Little,” is located at 240 East Avenue in downtown Rochester. It was built in 1929 as part of the Little Cinema Movement (an alternative to commercial movie houses), was constructed in the Art Deco style by Edgar Phillips and Frederick Pike, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In my opinion, it’s the best place in Rochester for movies, especially if you like independent and foreign films. In addition, it has a great little café with live music and food (including a light, delicious limoncello layer cake).

The Little Theatre, Rochester, NY

We recently visited the café at The Little to hear Hanna & the Blue Hearts. Hanna PK grew up in South Korea; her parents were in a rock band. She learned to play piano at a young age, but it wasn’t until she was an adult that she discovered American blues, and it knocked her out. (My friend Aleks, guitarist for the Blue Hearts, tells me she was “gobsmacked.”)

You can read more about Hanna’s evolution as a blues musician in the WXXI news story, “Music Heals Hanna PK and the Blue Hearts.

Tony Hiler (drums), Hanna PK (vocals),
Aleks Disljenkovic (guitar)
Gian Carlo Cervone (organ),
Hanna PK (piano, vocals), Tony Hiler (drums),
Aleks Disljenkovic (guitar)

I love Hanna not only for her musicality (she plays piano and guitar, covers the blues and American classics, writes her own songs, and sings), but also for her huge heart, which comes across in her original lyrics as well as her stage presence. And the music she and the band play is world class. To my mind, hearing Hanna & the Blue Hearts play the blues is one of the most uplifting things I’ve experienced, here or anywhere else.

And I’m getting an education about the blues, too. After hearing the Blue Hearts’ version of Memphis Slim’s “I’m Lost Without You,” I asked my friend Aleks about it, and he sent me a link to a video – Memphis Slim performing the song along with famed guitarist Matt “Guitar” Murphy. I’d never heard the song before, never heard of Slim or Murphy, and now I’ve heard both of them play another great version of the song.

Then I did three things: I looked up Memphis Slim (and learned his real name), I looked up Matt “Guitar” Murphy (and learned that he played in the Blues Brothers band and even played a role in the Blues Brothers movie), and I listened to Hanna’s version of the song, which is track 4 on her new CD, “Blues All Over My Shoes.” I learned a lot that day.

As I said, I’m lucky. Lucky to live where I can hear Hanna & the Blue Hearts playing LIVE at the Little Theatre (and all over New York State).

Do you feel lucky living where YOU live?


(I’ve Got a) New Latitude

… or at least I’ll have one come spring, if all goes well with my move from Tucson, Arizona to Rochester, New York.

And, à la Patti LaBelle, I’ve got a new attitude as well. (Be sure to click the link and hear Patti belt it out on New Attitude, written in 1984 for the film Beverly Hills Cop.)

What’s more, just like The Jeffersons (an American tv series from 1975-85), I’m movin’ on up … from the 32nd to the 43rd parallel, to be precise. (The link will take you to Ja’net DuBois and a 35-member gospel choir singing the show’s theme song.)

Yes, I’m moving 2,000 miles in the midst of a global pandemic. Hopefully, I’ll have my vaccine by the time I leave, and so will most of the rest of the world. Fingers crossed.

To keep you informed about my journey’s progress, I’ll be blogging about it, just as I did a year and a half ago when I took a three-day train trip in the opposite direction (and lived to tell the tale) in my blog series, “TRAIN TRACKER.” I’m calling this new series, “NEW LATITUDE.”

And now, for Episode 1, which I envision being narrated by Meryl Streep:

When the pandemic hit, I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to work from home, and then I retired, which I’d been planning on doing anyway. I started Zooming with friends. My classes and clubs continued on the web. I ordered groceries online and I did curbside pickup. I made masks, baked, practiced guitar, and polished my book manuscript. Hell, the grocery store even delivered wine. What more could I ask for? Well, I’ll tell you what more I could ask for: the opportunity to see my family, in person.

You see, as Paul Simon sings in The Boxer, I’d “left my home and my family” 17 years earlier for a better job and a warmer climate. And by family, I mean two grown daughters, my mother, four siblings, and my entire extended family. And then, 5 years ago, a grandson came along, and then another. Can you blame me for wanting to move back?

Porter
Elliot

For every year I’ve lived in Tucson, I’ve wondered if I made the right decision in moving out here. Don’t misunderstand: I love Tucson. It’s dry, sunny, friendly, has great food, hiking, and bicycling, beautiful desert scenery, great sunsets – I could go on and on. But living 2,000 miles from family meant flying back and forth at least once a year to keep in touch. I’d done that without too much concern for 17 years, but for the last 3 of those years, I’d been seriously considering moving back. I have lovely friends here in Arizona, but I was beginning to feel my family slipping away. (If you follow me, you may recall reading about this dilemma in my post, “Was I Loco to Relocate?“)

Luckily, I’ve had my dog, Maya, to comfort me during the pandemic while I thought this through. You remember Maya, don’t you, from “Pandemic Paws” and “Battle of Wits“? If you do, you can rest assured that she’s doing much better these days — no longer the stressed-out anxiety-ridden dog I’d adopted in June. But if anyone needed therapy, it was me.

Months of living through the pandemic forced me to face facts. It was now or never. I wasn’t getting any younger, and if I didn’t make a move soon, I might never get the chance again. So, one day, I logged onto the real estate site, Zillow, and started surfing. I later learned that I wasn’t the only one doing that. The New York Times recently reported that Zillow-surfing has become something of a national pastime.

Surfing in the morning, surfing in the evening, surfing at suppertime. Would my search for a new home on Zillow end in success?

Would I ever find happiness?

Find out the answer to that and other burning questions in the next exciting episode of NEW LATITUDE!

I’m November Dreamin’

To borrow a phrase from the late great Congressman John R. Lewis, I hope to get into “good trouble” for this post.

In 1963, John Phillips woke his wife Michelle in the middle of the night to tell her about a song idea. Michelle wanted to go back to sleep, but John encouraged her to get up and help him write the song. She wrote the second verse, and two years later they’d record it with Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty. John, Michelle, Cass, and Denny were The Mamas and the Papas, and the song was California Dreamin’. It was a huge hit.

I’m old enough to remember when that song was new. And now, 55 years later, I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting John and Michelle’s iconic lyrics with a new message for 2020. I’ve even recorded it in Garage Band, added video with iMovie, and posted the song, I’m November Dreamin’, on YouTube.

You can experience the entire project (including three-part harmony, artwork that I found on Pixabay.com, and video of me rapping) here. Or just search YouTube for “I’m November Dreamin’. The title is unique, so far.

I’m no Mama Cass – I can’t sing as well as any of the Mamas OR the Papas – but I suppose I might qualify as The Grandma. I might, in fact, be the oldest rapper on YouTube.

I’m not here to toot my own horn. The whole purpose of the video (and this post) is to get Americans riled up enough to vote in November (for the alternative to “you know who”). So, if you like the video, I’d really appreciate it if you’d share it far and wide. And of course, I’d love to get your likes and comments here, and on YouTube.

Just in case you’d like to sing along with me, here are the lyrics to I’m November Dreamin’:

All the leaves are green
and the sky is blue                               
I’m hopin’ for a change,
somethin’ we can do.
I’ll be feelin’ better
when this administration’s through.                                    
I’m November dreamin’
‘bout electin’ someone new …    
 
I’m gonna vote by mail,
maybe you are too,
or you can go and stand in line
where they will welcome you.
Ya know it’s time to make a difference,
Defeat old you-know-who.
I’m November dreamin’
‘bout electin’ someone new!
 
Rap:
 
This isn’t a game, and what’s even stranger is
he’s deranged. Oh yeah, he’s dangerous.
He won’t take blame, he lies and he’s lazy.
Get him outta D.C. ... the guy is crazy!
Puts kids in cages, but then he’s liable
to brag about his brain while holdin’ a Bible!
He insulted McCain, but he’s always rootin’
for his pals like Stone and Vladimir Putin!
Don’t want more of the same? Then ya gotta be a chooser.
You all know his name, let’s make him a loser.
He appeals to his base … aww … they must be trippin’,
It was a tight race, and now he’s slippin'. But
NO! This is NOT the time to relax.
Let’s give it what we’ve got up to the max.
It’s our only shot! Don’t sit around and gloat.
We’ve gotta vote!
 
All the leaves are green
and the sky is blue.
We’ve got a racist in the White House,
doesn’t have a clue.
It’s really time for an eviction
at Pennsylvania Avenue.
I’m November dreamin’ 
‘bout electin’ someone new,
‘bout electin’ someone blue,
and I hope that you are too!
 

Again, thanks for comments and sharing!