Tag Archives: music

Violins and Sex Education

th0ZM9CEASStrike A Chord

Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice.

I ran home from school quite excited. My elementary school just had a special assembly to close out the day. It featured a violin player. He was incredible. His music was sad, exhilarating, joyful, rousing, thoughtful, and above it all it reached my 10 year old heart. If only I could learn to bring the joy to others that the violinists brought to me. That was it; that’s what I wanted to do.

I burst into the house full of enthusiasm. Dad had just come home from work. He was tired, reading the paper, and likely needed a drink.

“Dad!” I said. “There was this guy at school, he could play the violin like nothing I’ve ever heard. I want to learn how to play the violin.”

Dad’s newspaper, held in his hands, began to tremble, sort of like the ground before an earthquake. “What!” he shouted, “Only queers play violins.”

It was the 50s. I wasn’t really sure what a queer was, but from Dad’s reaction I sure didn’t want to be one.

That was pretty much the end of my desire to play the violin and also my introduction to sexual preference education.

If I may note, such education of young people is confusing. Some in the education community feel it needs to be done early so children can live comfortably with their sexuality. Introducing sexuality at an early age is like tampering with a ticking time bomb. Educators cannot not control classrooms, have a lower graduation rate than fifty years ago, and are a product of a permissive society and education system that is morally and intellectually slack – it is most unlikely they can offer nothing more than what they have experienced or been taught. Their efforts prove to be no better than my father’s or street corner talk.


Filed under Daily Prompt

The Genie Lied And The Daily Prompt


Daily Prompt: Nothin’ But A Good Time

Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?

My wife and I would get on a plane and go visit my daughter, son, and their families. I can’t think of a better time. Since one daughter lives near with her family, I’d ask them to go with my wife and me. That would be a perfect day.

Here’s a short story I conjured about two old guys who saw the light, sort of. The may have had a drink or so.

 The Genie Lied

“I have a theory,” Rick said. “And it goes against everything I believed up to the last few years.”

“I’d like to hear what you’ve come up with,” Wilt said.

“You know what the problem with this world is?” Rick said.

“We ain’t go the time,” Wilt said.

“Well,” Rick said. “It was me and you and the rest like us. We thought we had the answers. We was gonna change the world. Well, we did. Now look at it. If I’d knowed it was gonna look like this I’d never bought my bellbottoms, tented glasses, or let my hair grow. We was all wrong. We thought all we had to do was join hands and sing a song and the world would come together.”

“I tend to agree. We let the Genie out of the bottle,” Wilt said. “They say the frontal lobe doesn’t fully develop until around the age of 25. I think we shouldn’t listen to anybody until they’re at least 40. Nobody’s really mature or responsible till then. That’s the problem the world listens to too many people who are under 40.”

“Once the Genie is out of the bottle it’s impossible to put it back,” Rick said.

“Rock ‘n’ roll was the Genie,” Wilt said. “It was fun and exciting. It was too sappy to be taken seriously; first kiss, first dance, holding hands, that was about it. Then it started into psychedelic, disco, heavy metal, then before you knowed it, songs were about raping, killing, shooting up, getting down, getting high, getting it on, everything but getting an education and getting a job.”

“Yep,” Rick said. “Rock was the Genie in the bottle.”

“Sure is,” Wilt said. “You can’t go from Nat King Cole, Perry Como, and Frank Sinatra to Jay Z, Ice Cube, and Tupac without going through Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.”

“Did you ever think we’d live long enough to say that?” Rick said.

“We’re sounding like our parents,” Wilt said.

“And I remember my mom telling me the fits her dad had when he caught her teaching The Charleston to her younger brother and sister. The devil’s dance he called it. What would he call what they’re doing now?” Rick said.

“Can you imagine a world without rock and rap?” Wilt said.

“In all candor,” Rick said, “I don’t think the world would miss it.”

“Logic tells us,” Wilt said, “It us it is useless, mundane, and we could very easily live without it, be just as happy, just as productive, and just as creative.”

“Strange,” Rick said.

“How’s that,” Wilt said.

“The Genie has everyone convinced we can’t live without her,” Rick said.

“The Genie lies,” Wilt said.

“We lied to ourselves,” Rick said.



Filed under Daily Prompt, My Music, Short Stories

Hey Dude! What’s Wrong With Modern Culture?

Nobody captures modern culture better than Gary Larson.
Nobody captures modern culture better than Gary Larson.

Daily Prompt: Simply the Best

NASA is building a new Voyager spacecraft that will carry the best of modern human culture. What belongs onboard?

If I had to explain what’s wrong with modern culture you wouldn’t understand it anyway.

This is not a prompt that cynic such as my self does well with. There is simply nothing about modern culture to place on board.

What would you put aboard: an episode of Two and Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, or The Walking Dead?

What kind of music performances: Miley Cyrus (Wrecking Ball) or Eminem (Rap God)?

What book would you place in the Voyager, Fifty Shades of Gray?

Perhaps a video game, Grand Theft Auto?

These are written, produced, and performed by the best we got. These are the people who are called the creative geniuses of our time.

Likely I would put something on board that modern culture has chosen to preserve from previous cultures.

Here’s my list in corresponding categories:

TV: The Andy Griffith Show, The Walton’s, Gunsmoke, Ed Sullivan, Seinfeld, All in the Family.

Art; Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Norman Rockwell, Gary Larson (Far Side).

Music: The works of Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Gershwin.

Books: Bible, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Old Man and the Sea.

Movies: The Third Man, Casablanca, Shawshank Redemption, The Princess Bride, Citizen Cane, A Face in the Crowd.

Games: Chess and crossword puzzles.

If it were possible that a Voyager spacecraft could speed into far away galaxies and bits of present day modern culture were on display likely the ones for whom it was meant would say, “Is that the best they could do?”

No, there’s little from modern culture I would choose to send. I’m certain there are exceptions.

There is nothing out there, really. We are it in the universe. Figure it out for yourself. So put what ever you want on your stupid spacecraft, because nobody is going to see it anyway.

Call me nostalgic, call be a critic, call me cynical, call me a fuddy-duddy, but don’t call dude. (Never thought of seeing the day I’d sound like an old crank.)


Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays

Best Mix of Music You Will Ever Find

Daily Prompt: Mix Tape Masterpiece

You make a new friend. Make them a mix tape (or playlist, for the younger folks) that tells them who you are through song.

During my forties and fifties my music of choice was classical. No other song touches my heart like Pavorati singing Nessen Dorma. Not the lyrics so much as the music itself.


Yester day I posted Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue that would figure prominently in my mix also.


For a complete change of pace I would add The Beatles to my mix; Rocky Raccoon.


When I hear Penny Lane by the Beatles there are so many images of my childhood that rush through my mind it is hard to capture just one.


Neil Diamond’s Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show is a song that draws a such a complete picture. I like if for no other reason than I’ve never been to t tent revival meeting and will never, but this song takes me there. Nevertheless there is something about the song that moves me.


I always liked boats and the sea. There would have to be two songs in the mix; Bobby Darin’s Somewhere Beyond the Sea and The Beach Boys Sloop John B.



And finally a mix of songs that I meditate upon. They are filled with joy, hope, love,and promise.



Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays, My Music

How Good Music and Art Makes You Feel

Daily Prompt: Eye of the Beholder

Describe what it feels like to hear a beautiful piece of music or see a stunning piece of art.

No other piece of music moves me more than George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I know of no other piece of music like it.

Sections of it cause me to think deeply and serenely while others lift me and make me feel joy and hope.

Sometimes I wonder what thought process was Gershwin pursuing when he came across the haunting melody and theme that repeats itself throughout. To me it defies all conventional melodies. It stands alone. There is nothing else by which to compare it.

Good music must lift one higher. It must take you to meadows, mountain tops, and allow you to soar among the clouds and swoop into verdant valleys. Good music makes you see and feel the delicacy of a flower’s petal and the power of an ocean wave. It is a warm smile, a gentle touch, a soothing word.

Music and art should always take you to a good place.

Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue



Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays, My Music

Oh, For The Joy To Play Anything

Nah, I don't think the world needs a lousy harmonica player.

Nah, I don’t think the world needs a lousy harmonica player.

Daily Prompt: Practice Makes Perfect?

Tell us about a talent you’d love to have… but don’t.

To be able to pick up and instrument or sit at one and play from your heart, that is what I would like to be able to do. I stand in amazement of those who do. It nearly brings tears.

Many years ago I bought a guitar and songbook that illustrated the finger positions for chords. I strummed a little, in time able to pick out the chords used in songs played on a stereo. Eventually other things seemed to crowd out my desire to play the guitar.

There is sort of a lesson in this; talents are not god-given. There is no such thing. It takes dedication, hard work, appreciation, and time. Few are willing to expend what it takes to be proficient or raise their skills to art. That applies to endeavors far beyond being accomplished with a musical instrument. It touches nearly every aspect of human existence.

When I see a person sit and enjoy their time at a piano or strum for a while I see serenity and joy, yet aware of the hours of practice dedicated to achieve those moments.

I hope to write well: a good sentence, a well-arranged paragraph, a story that touches an emotion or causes one to ponder. It is how my spare time is spent.

There’s this little harmonica in my desk drawer. I bought it years ago and tried to learn how to play something simple. After trying for a time, what came out was unrecognizable to the ear. It still beckons me from time to time to pick it up and try again.

The world doesn’t need another lousy harmonica player, but it can always use another hack writer and story-teller.

There is satisfaction in knowing that words are my notes, short stories are my songs, and novels are my symphonies.


Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays

Nothing You Could Do

1325966424_mary-wells[1]Daily Prompt: Can’t Drive 55

Take the third line of the last song you heard, make it your post title, and write for a maximum of 15 minutes

Start time: 7:12

That is sometimes the only option at our disposal. It is sometimes the only sound advice that makes sense.

We are sometimes left with nothing to do, but watch things dramatic or unheralded events unfold before our eyes. Sometimes being the hero is saving yourself because that is the only alternative one has control over.

We spend much of our life thinking ‘I should have done this’ or ‘I should have said that.’ The truth is that we would have little effect on the outcome of events anyway.

After hearing some one comment “If only I would have…” my father-in-law used to say, “And if the dog hadn’t have stopped to take a crap he’d have caught the rabbit.”

Life is full of such predicaments.

There is little we can do with the world around us, but we can only effectively change ourselves.

We often hear the expression, ‘one person can make a difference.’ It puts the weight of the world on one person’s shoulders. That’s not fair. Certainly one can come forward and remind everyone what they already know, but that’s as far as it goes. We can’t move anyone to do anything unless they already know it’s the right thing to do.

End time: 7:27

Five minutes to reread and edit (believe ti or not).

The post was taken from the third line of the 1964 Mary Wells hit, My Guy. While driving home last night I listened to an oldies station.


Filed under Daily Prompt, Essays