SUMMER SONGS – RICHARD PASCHALL

It’s time to make your summer playlist. Here are some suggestions. Sing along.

SERENDIPITY

The Top 10 of a Musical Genius

From the time the Beach Boys hit the surf and the top of the charts in the 1960’s, Brian Wilson has been considered a musical genius. His prolific song-writing propelled the careers of the original “Boys.” Their music remains wildly popular to this day.

Wilson was not just trying to crank out rock and rolls songs for public consumption. He was trying to create a new sound, the “California” sound of blended harmonies and instruments. His obsessive work in the studio while seeking a certain type of perfection, was both his strength and ultimately his weakness.

Today Brian is again touring, writing and producing. His opinions on music are held in high esteem by song writers everywhere.  Many, including Paul McCartney, Bono, James Webb (American songwriter), and Rolling Stone Magazine, consider Wilson’s “God Only Knows” among the best songs of all time.

So when Brian offers…

View original post 497 more words

WITHOUT PEER

Brian Wilson has been a busy guy in recent years.  This year his band is touring for the 50th Anniversary of the highly praised Pet Sounds.  Concerts feature the entire album as well as other hits.  Last year he released a new album as recalled in this article from 2015.

Brian Wilson’s No Pier Pressure, Rich Paschall When the Beach Boys finally got back together in 2012 for a 50th Anniversary Tour, Brian Wilson, the musical genius behind the sound, agreed to …

Source: WITHOUT PEER

SONGS OF SUMMER – RICHARD PASCHALL

It’s time to look again at Brian Wilson’s top 10 summer songs as well as a few adjustments to his list. No, summer is not over yet.

SERENDIPITY

The Top 10 of a Musical Genius

From the time the Beach Boys hit the surf and the top of the charts in the 1960’s, Brian Wilson has been considered a musical genius. His prolific song-writing propelled the careers of the original “Boys.” Their music remains wildly popular to this day.

Wilson was not just trying to crank out rock and rolls songs for public consumption. He was trying to create a new sound, the “California” sound of blended harmonies and instruments. His obsessive work in the studio while seeking a certain type of perfection, was both his strength and ultimately his weakness.

Today Brian is again touring, writing and producing. His opinions on music are held in high esteem by song writers everywhere.  Many, including Paul McCartney, Bono, James Webb (American songwriter), and Rolling Stone Magazine, consider Wilson’s “God Only Knows” among the best songs of all time.

So when Brian offers…

View original post 497 more words

Looks More Like a Rut Than Tradition

The happy holiday season is now upon us.  Actually, it never left.  We are in perpetual holiday mode, which should say something about modern society.  What that says escapes me, but it would have to be profound to deal with the depths of the ruts we now find ourselves in.  When you see Christmas decorations in the stores before you see Halloween candy, then you know it is just one giant marketing season.  Christmas supplies now start making their way to the shelves alongside the back-to-school sales.  We heard Christmas music in one store while we shopped for Halloween items.

Chief among the offenders of what used to be a nice November holiday is the Black Friday sales that follow.  It is hard to keep calling it Black Friday when the event starts early in the week on websites and continues into the following week.  No retailer wants anyone else to get a jump on him so they all start opening the stores earlier and earlier for the “Friday” sales.  Thanksgiving used to be a day to spend with relatives and friends.  Everything was closed and we actually had a day to retreat to our homes to give thanks and eat a lot.  Now it will be “hurry up and eat, the stores open soon!”

English: DC USA, Target, Black Friday

English: DC USA, Target, Black Friday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last year Black Friday started at sometime on Turkey Thursday for the brick and mortar stores.  I fear that in just a few years the old tradition of spending time with family and friends, even if it was only because all the stores are closed, will give rise to another day to race to the shopping mall.  We want to stand in line to get the next “cabbage patch doll” (look it up) or whatever the hot item will be this year.  Is there a general lack of time between the fourth Thursday in November and Christmas Day that crass commercialism must encroach on one of the two days where just about every business was closed?  (The other, of course, is Christmas Day.)  I realize that for some it is the thrill of the hunt, but for others it is like lemmings to the sea.  Do you think that if you are not out in the post Thanksgiving dinner madness that you will have to admit to friends that you did not participate in the widespread seasonal opportunity to spend more than you would like.  It might be important to point out, that people generally find they do not save much.  If they get the items they want, they will probably spend more in the store on other things, which is exactly what merchants want.  If they have us conditioned to shop in the wee hours in the morning, why not let us shop all night long?  This may cost you dearly and certainly shortens the holiday of mall workers everywhere.

Another newly absurd practice is Christmas music on the radio.  The commercial station that plays all Christmas music in season has a warped idea of what the season is.  Having found that playing all Christmas music all day long in season was very popular, they decided to start earlier, and earlier and earlier.  You can listen to Christmas music from Halloween until the end of the year.  Like AM radios stations of yore, however, they seem to have a limited playlist.  How many times over two months can you listen to Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas,” Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song,” Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and of course Bing Crosby forever crooning “White Christmas?”  Every artist who has had more than two hit albums has recorded Christmas music, if not indeed a Christmas Album.  What about everyone else?  Can we get something new before we watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” one more time?

The thoughts of these limitations did not fall on deaf ears, XM radio has trotted out not one, but two all Christmas music channels, and they have FOUR more in the works.  One of the good traits is they are commercial free, unless you count the constant plugging of their other channels.  I hear songs from the 1940’s through the present.  Glenn Miller band played “Jingle Bells” and Frank Sinatra sang “Silent Night” for me while I made my happy way down crowded streets and “city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in…,” but I digress.  “Siriusly,” I am not advocating you Christmas rush your way to your computer to get a subscription to satellite radio.  I did hear the Beach Boys doing “We Three Kings” once too often this week on one of the channels.  Take your favorite CD’s to your car instead.

I have saved the worst of the holiday ruts for last.  It seems that going over the river and through the mall to grandma’s house is not always a good idea.  While your attendance at a family gathering may seem more like a command performance than an invitation, it does not mean you actually have to go.  Yes, I know grandma will be disappointed if you do not bring your fake smile and weary mate to the gathering, but she will get over it if you stop in at other times during the season.  Work on a good lie…I mean story, and stick with it.  Many family gatherings turn into ugly affairs because people who might not normally get together during the year are appeasing grandmas and showing up to an event, when they would rather be at a sports bar or in their own homes.  Pent up feelings are likely to leak out and after a flaming rum punch, or whatever alcohol your prefer, you might just tell Uncle Orville what you really think of him.  The injury that does will probably fester until the next holiday gathering.

There will be plenty of survival guides on Word Press and all the other blog sites.  You Tubers will be busy making videos to help you through the madness.  I will take a pass on that.  I have no good advice that is any better than your own common sense.  I did start watching a video of someone explaining Black Friday traditions.  At first I thought it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but then I decided the young vlogger was just dead wrong.  Beware advice from teenagers and twenty-somethings who play video games all season and anger their parents by not showing up at these dreadfully uncomfortable holiday soirées.  Oh wait, maybe they have something there!

Prejudice and Growing Old

As we age it is natural to think about our youth and  the treatment we are receiving based upon the  age we have reached.  Here are the thoughts I expressed last summer on this topic.  Nothing has changed since then, except for that part about being a year older and a tiny bit more sensitive to “Old” jokes.

Ageism

On You Tube I subscribe to a number of channels. Most of them are music channels. You can see that list down the left side of my channel by hitting the link in the header above. Some of my subscriptions are video bloggers. Their efforts are vlogs. I have an eclectic group of those. One young vlogger (does anyone say “vlogger”?) came up on my You Tube home page with a topic on ageism. The older I get the more I do not want to hear about that, even though I feel and think about it more than ever. This is because we basically live in a world where youth is the target audience. Everyone over 35 is…well, OLD.
If you think I jest, pick up any magazine, turn on your television, look at your computer and tell me what sort of ads you see. Unless the ad has Betty White in it, you are probably looking at the young and the beautiful. That is a perfectly understandable strategy. Young people want to see how good they can look, and old people want to see what they wished they could still be.
The young vlogger was mentioning the prejudice felt by an older man. This showed up in the comments to one of his videos. It’s true we do not think of this when we are “wild and young” and may even make remarks that hurt an older person. We sure know the difference when we are older, however. While we may learn to laugh along with the “old jokes,” we may find it hard to brush aside some of the cutting remarks tossed our way. It is hard to impart this information on others. I guess it is like any other experience in life. You do not really know what it is like, until you feel it for yourself.
In the comments on another video, the young vlogger was asked if he did not find it creepy that his audience was mostly in the 45 to 64 age range. He says he was surprised by that, because he thought he would have an audience about his own age. He did not draw any creepy assumptions. In the last 30 days my You Tube audience is 67 percent male and 78 percent in the 55-64 age range. Of course, I have uploaded Beach Boys concert videos and let’s face it, that group is an older demographic. I just wonder about the views I got in that age range from Japan. Ah, the internet!
A couple of my friends of the same age have taken to big events for our “milestone birthdays.” Last year it was a giant picnic event. I said to one of my young friends, “I suppose you think I am one of the old guys now.” “Well, yeah!” he laughed back in my direction. I should have known not to ask such a stupid question. There were plenty of old jokes to spread around, mostly good-natured I suppose. Outside of our family and friends, members of the older generation may no longer feel welcome in social circles and without immediate family, perhaps even more so. I think I now understand Ernest Hemingway’s later years.
Recently Dick Van Dyke, now 86, made an appearance on the television show “The Doctors.” He discussed exercise with them as he jumped up and down on a trampoline. When asked how he stays young, he said that he hangs out with young friends. I suppose we could dig up some classic George Burns jokes for response to that. If you do not know George Burns, search You Tube for Burns and Bob Hope on some old age comedy routines they did when they were older than Van Dyke is now.
I have always liked the Van Dyke strategy, hang out with younger people who are fun to be around. In recent years I have been off on adventures with young friends. From new concerts and sports bars to trips around this country and Europe. I have kept moving, and by association (at least in my mind), kept young. When I am 86, I plan to take up the trampoline.

This and That

Random Thoughts and Musings

There are over 330 traffic deaths in Illinois already this year.  This may be due to drinking and driving, speeding through work zones or distracted driving.  I sat at a traffic light this past week watching a police SUV speeding toward us with lights on, sirens and horns blowing when a driver from a cross street went through the intersection nearly missing a high-speed collision.  It looked to me like she was talking on the telephone.  I wonder if she had any idea of the close call she just had.

It is a puzzlement to me why some people continue to smoke when they are presented with certain proof that the practice can kill you.  Why would anyone risk his/her life like that?  On the other hand, I continue to eat foods with more than a little cholesterol even though my doctor told me my cholesterol is too high.  To top it off, my brother had quadruple bypass surgery probably due to the same cholesterol issues.  Of course, he ate far more junk than I do.  At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Does anyone think the AIDS epidemic is over?  It may have slowed but it is still here.  Three possible cures does not mean a thing in the short-term.

Who discovered that the best way to check your prostate health is to stick his figure up your bum?  The only other people who do that for money are in a completely different profession.

Gardening is the best way to take your mind off of every day stress.  You can so focus in on playing in the dirt, that you forget about everything else.  That reminds me of my childhood actually.

The city of Chicago has over 22,000 surveillance cameras.  Who says Big Brother is not watching?  Of course that does not stop the jackass that has to tag a garage door or the side of a preschool building in my neighborhood.

Does anyone wonder if the Chicago Park District knows anything about dandelion control outside of the downtown area?

Why do so many young people think it is a good idea to “come out” in a You Tube video?  Even more surprising, why do some think they should tell their parents over the phone on a You Tube video and post it later, no matter how it turns out?

Are we about to see a lot of athletes coming out of the closet?  Does it make a difference?  Really?  “Sir” Charles Barkly, an NBA Hall of Famer, says “of course” he had gay teammates.

Some say that 1 in 10 people are gay, but I do not think 10 per cent of the people I know are gay.  Or are they? mmmm?

Why do we salivate like dogs when we hear the ice cream truck coming?

Do all moms really know that when a younger brother tells on an older one that it is probably the younger one who was the trouble maker?

If I have an album on vinyl and cassette tape, should I still get it on CD?  If I do, will I still need to download a copy someday, or will my Google eyeglasses just play the song for me because I am thinking about it?

Why would anyone consider 8-tracks and 8 track players a collector’s item?

Why would anyone consider a Commodore 64 a collector’s item?  (Google it!)

If you have finally decided that something is junk, even though it still works, there is probably someone on eBay who will buy it.

It is an absolute sin that there are places in the world we can never visit because of fighting and hatred.

I am saddened over the desperate situation of people in Gaza, Syria, Somalia and a handful of other countries we hear little about.

Why are human rights abuses in some parts of the world of little concern to people in other parts of the world?

Does anyone think the Chinese government is not behind a lot of cyberspying and perhaps even web site crashes?  A show of hands please.

Casablanca is the best movie ever made.  Period.

Citizen Kane is an interesting movie, but does anyone (except a few critics) think it is the best movie ever made?  A show of hands please.

Laurence Olivier may have been the best actor of his time (look him up), but Johnny Depp is the best actor of his time.

I like Spencer Tracy in everything and doubt he ever gave a bad performance.

Iconic performers the Beach Boys, The Monkees (minus Davey Jones), Barry Manilow and Barbra Streisand all delivered the goods in concerts this past year.  Bob Dylan did not.

Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson are the best late night talk show hosts.  Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman are also worth watching most nights.

Will FOX News ever be anything more than biased and imbalanced?

Aren’t Justin Bieber’s 15 minutes of fame over with?  There are sooooo many You Tubers with more talent.

An original album by Sam Tsui and produced by his friend Kurt Schneider has just come out and was backed by their fans by way of Kickstarter.  If you do not know these guys, immediately go to You Tube and search their names.  They both do great work.

We are on the doorsteps of amazing break throughs in medical science in a number of important areas.  Your support is needed while the government tries to get its financial house in order, if that is even possible.

With friends in other countries, I appreciate the value of social media and of Skype.

I had no idea I could toss in so many random thoughts in a short amount of time.  These are a few items on my mind for which there are no complete columns, at least not yet anyway.

Looks more like a rut than tradition

The happy holiday season is now upon us.  Actually, it never left.  We are in perpetual holiday mode, which should say something about modern society.  What that says escapes me, but it must be profound to deal with the depths of the ruts we now find ourselves in.  When you see Christmas decorations in the stores before you see Halloween candy, then you know it is just one giant marketing season.  Christmas decorations now start making their way to the shelves alongside the back-to-school sales.  We heard Christmas music in one store while we shopped for Halloween items.

Chief among the offenders to what used to be a nice November holiday is the Black Friday sales that follow.  It is hard to keep calling it Black Friday when the event starts early in the week on websites and continues into the following week.  No retailer wants anyone else to get a jump on him so they all start opening the stores earlier and earlier for the “Friday” sales.  Thanksgiving used to be a day to spend with relatives and friends.  Everything was closed and we actually had a day to retreat to our homes to give thanks and eat a lot.  Now it will be “hurry up and eat, the stores open soon!”

English: DC USA, Target, Black Friday

English: DC USA, Target, Black Friday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year Black Friday started at sometime on Turkey Thursday for the brick and mortar stores.  I fear that in just a few years the old tradition of spending time with family and friends, even if because all the stores are closed, will give rise to another day to race to the shopping mall.  We want to stand in line to get the next “cabbage patch doll” (look it up) or whatever the hot item will be this year.  Is there a general lack of time between the fourth Thursday in November and Christmas Day that crass commercialism must encroach on one of the two days where everything is closed?  The other is Christmas Day.  I realize that for some it is the thrill of the hunt, but for others it is like lemmings to the sea.  Do you think that if you are not out in the post Thanksgiving dinner madness that you will have to admit to friends that you did not participate in the widespread seasonal opportunity to spend more than you would like.  It might be important to point out, that people generally find they do not save much.  If they get the items they want, they will probably spend more in the store on other things, which is exactly what merchants want.  If they have us conditioned to shop in the wee hours in the morning, why not let us shop all night long?  This may cost you dearly and certainly shortens the holiday of mall workers everywhere.

Another newly absurd practice is Christmas music on the radio.  The commercial station that plays all Christmas music in season has a warped idea of what the season is.  Having found that playing all Christmas music all day long in season was very popular, they decided to start earlier, and earlier and earlier.  You can listen to Christmas music from Halloween until the end of the year.  Like AM radios stations of yore, however, they seem to have a limited playlist.  How many times over two months can you listen to Burl Ives’ “Holly Jolly Christmas,” Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song,” Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and of course Bing Crosby forever crooning “White Christmas?”  Every artist who has had more than two hit albums has recorded Christmas music, if not indeed a Christmas Album.  What about everyone else?  Can we get something more before we watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” one more time?

The thoughts of these limitations did not fall on deaf ears, XM radio has trotted out not one, but two all Christmas music channels.  One of the good traits is they are commercial free, unless you count the constant plugging of their other channels.  I hear songs from the 1940’s through the present.  Glenn Miller band played “Jingle Bells” and Frank Sinatra sang “Silent Night” for me while I made my happy way down crowded streets and “city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in…,” but I digress.  “Siriusly,” I am not advocating you Christmas rush your way to your computer to get a subscription to satellite radio.  I did hear the Beach Boys doing “We Three Kings” once too often this week.  Take your favorite CD’s to your car instead.

I have saved the worst of the holiday ruts for last.  It seems that going over the river and through the mall to grandma’s house is not always a good idea.  While your attendance at a family gathering may seem more like a command performance than an invitation, it does not mean you actually have to go.  Yes, I know grandma will be disappointed if you do not bring your fake smile and weary mate to the gathering, but she will get over it if you stop in at other times during the season.  Work on a good lie…I mean story, and stick with it.  Many family gatherings turn to ugly affairs because people who might not normally get together during the year are appeasing grandmas and showing up to an event, when they would rather be at a sports bar or in their own homes.  Pent up feelings are likely to leak out and after a flaming rum punch, or whatever alcohol your prefer, you might just tell Uncle Orville what you really think of him.  The injury that does will probably fester until the next holiday gathering.

There will be plenty of survival guides on Word Press and all the other blog sites.  You Tubers will be busy making videos to help you through the madness.  I will take a pass on that.  I have no good advice that is any better than your own common sense.  I did start watching a video of someone explaining Black Friday traditions.  At first I thought it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but then I decided the young vlogger was just dead wrong.  Beware advice from teenagers and twenty-somethings who play video games all season and anger their parents by not showing up at these dreadfully uncomfortable holiday soirées.  Oh wait, maybe they have something there!

You Tube “hits” and other updates

In the past week my You Tube channel got over 1200 hits (views). This is somewhat surprising as I only have 1 subscriber (a friend), so no fan base to draw on. It is all on the strength of the Barry Manilow videos I posted. On July 12th I attended the first night of three concerts for Manilow at the Chicago Theater. It is a wonderful place to see a show, big enough for big names but small enough to be somewhat “intimate.” That might be a bit of overstatement for a theater that seats thousands, but everywhere is a good view and the sound is great. After the popularity of the first few videos, I put up all the usable recordings that I had. While the channel has been there over 7 months, the number of views more than double in the past week.
It was never my intention to have an “oldies” channel, but that is what it has turned into and I am OK with that. I thought it would be current groups I like. There are some Maroon 5 videos from a few venues sandwiched in between Chicago and the Beach Boys. I also have a song from a Led Zeppelin tribute band. People are now pointing out to me other old-time rockers coming to the Chicago Theater. I am not sure what is next.

It was hard to decide what is next for the Sunday Night Blog. The appearance of the “Fed” chairman, Ben Bernanke, at Congress and his stern warning on what will happen if they fail to take action on the end of tax cuts and the automatic budget cuts that take place if no agreement, seemed a good follow up to last’s week’s comments. Franklin Roosevelt once commented that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. It looks like we also have to fear Congress.

Both last week and this week I have thought about writing on the death of the middle class. Yes the patient is on life support and it looks like Congress will pull the plug. It seems the wealthy class in Congress fails to understand how the success of the middle class drives the economy and therefore helps to make many of them wealthy. Perhaps we will hit this topic soon.

Sunday night we’ll look at the unfortunate trend to wage campaigns in the social media and the resulting misinformation we receive. I fear too many people get their “news” from their friends’ errant postings.

The Beach Boys and other updates

If you have been reading here, you know that I was favorably impressed with the Beach Boys performances in Chicago. That’s why I was excited to hear the new album that came out this past week. The Beach Boys harmonies are still there, applied by the master, Brian Wilson. This album is the perfect bit if nostalgia, but with all new songs. Imagine what type of music these guys should be doing 50 years after their start. This is it. The Beach Boys sounds of the 60’s and 70’s are here, but with lyrics that appropriately pay tribute to their journey, the good times and the not so good. If you did not think they could do it after all this time, check out some of the songs on You Tube. For an idea of what their current tour looks like, check below.

You Tube is totally addicting. For me it is just like MySpace was only a few years ago. Then I would go to MySpace music to listen to new songs and see new artists. I think it is still the better way to go for that. On You Tube I get lost in the vlogs (that would be blog with a V) and news stories and even find myself looking a pieces of movies I somehow missed. Hours of time get tossed aside as I link from video to video. This Sunday I will give proper credit to an idea I got while watching a vlog by Danny J. My topic this week is Original Ideas and other Thievery.

Ageism

On You Tube I subscribe to a number of channels. Most of them are music channels. You can see that list down the left side of my channel by hitting the link in the header above. Some of my subscriptions are video bloggers. Their efforts are vlogs. I have an eclectic group of those. One young vlogger (does anyone say “vlogger”?) came up on my You Tube home page with a topic on ageism. The older I get the more I do not want to hear about that, even though I feel and think about it more than ever. This is because we basically live in a world where youth is the target audience. Everyone over 35 is…well, OLD.
If you think I jest, pick up any magazine, turn on your television, look at your computer and tell me what sort of ads you see. Unless the ad has Betty White in it, you are probably looking at the young and the beautiful. That is a perfectly understandable strategy. Young people want to see how good they can look, and old people want to see what they wished they could still be.
The young vlogger was mentioning the prejudice felt by an older man. This showed up in the comments to one of his videos. It’s true we do not think of this when we are “wild and young” and may even make remarks that hurt an older person. We sure know the difference when we are older, however. While we may learn to laugh along with the “old jokes,” we may find it hard to brush aside some of the cutting remarks tossed our way. It is hard to impart this information on others. I guess it is like any other experience in life. You do not really know what it is like, until you feel it for yourself.
In the comments on another video, the young vlogger was asked if he did not find it creepy that his audience was mostly in the 45 to 64 age range. He says he was surprised by that, because he thought he would have an audience about his own age. He did not draw any creepy assumptions. In the last 30 days my You Tube audience is 67 percent male and 78 percent in the 55-64 age range. Of course, I have uploaded Beach Boys concert videos and let’s face it, that group is an older demographic. I just wonder about the views I got in that age range from Japan. Ah, the internet!
A couple of my friends of the same age have taken to big events for our “milestone birthdays.” Last year it was a giant picnic event. I said to one of my young friends, “I suppose you think I am one of the old guys now.” “Well, yeah!” he laughed back in my direction. I should have known not to ask such a stupid question. There were plenty of old jokes to spread around, mostly good-natured I suppose. Outside of our family and friends, members of the older generation may no longer feel welcome in social circles and without immediate family, perhaps even more so. I think I now understand Ernest Hemingway’s later years.
Recently Dick Van Dyke, now 86, made an appearance on the television show “The Doctors.” He discussed exercise with them as he jumped up and down on a trampoline. When asked how he stays young, he said that he hangs out with young friends. I suppose we could dig up some classic George Burns jokes for response to that. If you do not know George Burns, search You Tube for Burns and Bob Hope on some old age comedy routines they did when they were older than Van Dyke is now.
I have always liked the Van Dyke strategy, hang out with younger people who are fun to be around. In recent years I have been off on adventures with young friends. From new concerts and sports bars to trips around this country and Europe. I have kept moving, and by association (at least in my mind), kept young. When I am 86, I plan to take up the trampoline.