Scenes From a Nightmare

In case any of you have forgotten, my friend Jill submitted this post today to remind us of the horrific scene that played out in Washington, DC two years ago today. Look at the pictures, whether you want to or not, and be grateful that what very nearly happened that day, didn’t. President Biden will be awarding the Presidential Citizens Medal today to twelve courageous people who stood in resolute opposition to donald trump and his mob. They did so at great personal sacrifice, up to and including their lives. This absolutely cannot, MUST NOT ever happen again. It’s on all of us to make sure it doesn’t. Larry

A Great Time to Rock

Like many people, I got introduced to the rock band Pink Floyd through their album, The Dark Side of the Moon.

Produced by the brilliant Alan Parsons, this is their masterpiece; every track, a standout. Insightful and incisive lyrics by Roger Waters (who since became one of my favorite songwriters), guitarist David Gilmour’s superb vocals, and flawless playing by the whole band from beginning to end. It remains a classic.

And, needless to say, it sold. It spent an astonishing fifteen years on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.

And (brace yourselves, Boomers) this year will mark the 50-year anniversary of its release.

I know, right? O…M…G!

But wait, there’s more.

In 1973, I was just becoming a serious rock and roll aficionado. I mean, I’d heard some before then, but wasn’t really a devoted follower yet. But all that changed in ’73.

And I think a big reason for that is all the great music that came out that year. Here are just a few albums, besides Dark Side, turning 50 in 2023:

Billion Dollar Babies, Alice Cooper; The Captain and Me, The Doobie Brothers; Brothers and Sisters, The Allman Brothers Band; The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, Joe Walsh; Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player and Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road, Elton John; Innervisions, Stevie Wonder; Desperado, Eagles; Piano Man, Billy Joel; Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin; Tres Hombres, ZZ Top; Band On the Run, Paul McCartney and Wings; Full Sail, Loggins and Messina.

I mean, holy crap! And that’s just some of them!

I turned 14 in 1973, and I’m convinced I grew up in the greatest era in rock history. So much creativity, poetic expression and first-class musicianship in that time. And so much legendary showmanship in the live performances. I mostly missed those, though; the only two concerts I attended as a teen were Cat Stevens and a triple billing of the Allman Brothers, Joe Walsh and the Marshall Tucker Band. But the music was memorable; even now, it’s my go-to music. Takes me back, I guess.

So, maybe I’m a bit biased. Who cares? You like your music, I like mine. The main thing is, keep listening.

To paraphrase Neil Young, “Keep on rockin’ in the new year…” 🎵🎵

Monday Night Tragedy

This was something many football fans have never witnessed before.

On Monday Night Football, in a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field in the first quarter, after tackling Cincinnati wide receiver Tee Higgins. An ambulance was summoned onto the field, and CPR was administered to Hamlin for several minutes. He was then transported to nearby University of Cincinnati Medical Center where, at the time of this writing, he remains in critical condition. Hamlin, as learned later, suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of the tackle.

The crowd at Paycor Stadium sat in stunned silence as the horrific scene played out. Hamlin’s Bills teammates were embracing and crying, some seen praying. The Bengals team came over and joined them, commiserating with their football brothers. As Hamlin was taken off the field in the ambulance, the entire Bills team knelt together on the field in prayer.

Hamlin’s mother, who was at the game to watch her son play, went with him in the ambulance, and remains by his side at the hospital. His family is optimistic about his recovery.

As for the game itself, one with serious playoff implications for both teams was suddenly rendered moot. The National Football League took the unprecedented step of postponing the remainder of it, to a time to be determined later.

It was the right decision. Nobody wanted to continue this game. All anyone cared about, and rightly so, was Damar Hamlin’s life.

We all understand that American football is a violent game. Men collide with each other, over and over again, game after game. Injuries happen, from sprains and strains to torn muscles, to broken bones and concussions.

Everyone involved knows the risks, and accepts them as part of the game, because of their love for it. To play professional football is a dream come true for them. Getting hurt just goes with the territory.

But this was literally a matter of life and death.

Usually, I don’t watch Monday Night Football, but I expected to enjoy this high-stakes contest between two excellent teams. It was gonna be unforgettable.

And it certainly was, for all the wrong reasons.

Keep a good thought, maybe even say a prayer, for Damar Hamlin and his family, today. He is fighting for his life.

This Life Thing

So, friends, here we are. Another new year.

And with it comes a sense of renewal. Of starting over. The slate is clean; we have yet another chance to do this life thing right or, at least, better.

It’s now January 2nd, though. How many resolutions have you already broken?

It’s okay, we’re human. We all need to be more patient with ourselves. And each other.

We are all on our own very individual journeys, at different points along the way. And, as such, we should be more understanding, if not respectful, of where others are.

I know that’s something I need to work to improve. Among other things.

I feel strongly that I want to be more loving this year. To send more love out into the world with my words and actions. Love is such a precious commodity, one that must be freely traded, and more often.

I want to show more kindness to others, as well. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a steady decline of it in our society for a long time, now. We’re all so hung up on ourselves, we forget how interdependent we really are. We forget what a kind word or deed can mean to someone. Or an unkind one, for that matter. What we say and do matters, however trivial we think it to be.

Oh, I know we all have people in our lives who stretch our love and kindness, as well as our patience, to their limits. And many folks have me doing the same thing in their lives. I know I’m grateful to them for loving me through it all, and I bet those people in your life, whether they tell you or not, are just as grateful.

Because, even if you don’t want to be, you are their lifeline.

Also, as some of you are already aware, I need to focus on my health more this year. I’m a diabetic; it’s time I act like one. Sure, I must eat healthier food and get more exercise but most importantly, I’ve got to change my mindset, to acknowledge finally that I can’t continue treating my body as I do. It’ll kill me; that simple.

So, how about you? What do you want to do in 2023? What do you need to do?

What do you want to see happen? Not just to you; to your family, to your friends, to the world.

Do you have resolutions? Objectives? Hopes? Dreams?

Since it’s natural this time of year to evaluate who you are, and who you desire to be, give yourself a little time to do that. Take a moment in your journey to notice where you are on this road, and decide if you’re going to continue on it.

I wish you all a year full of joy, love, peace and good health. Take care. See ya later.

And rest in peace, Barbara Walters. You’ve certainly earned it.