447. The Playlist

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With my daughter’s wedding approaching this fall, I find myself operating an open musical file where I store wedding songs that fit a certain theme or mood. I love music and I love my daughter, so naturally the two go together in my unjustified, marginless mind. I realize that as the father of the bride I have a very limited say in what goes on the play list. However, be that as it may, regrettably, furthermore and here to… I’d like to make some suggestions. Perhaps my future son-in-law will lobby for my classic choices. He does have exquisite taste in music and women.  Maybe my choices will fit your next wedding if not mine.

Image result for van morrison imagesAt my middle daughter’s wedding years back I chose “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” for the traditional father/daughter dance.  Of course it was the Van Morrison version. Van and I go way back, all the way to high school, meaning that I listened to his songs when I was in high school not that we attended together. It was memorable obviously since I just shared that memory with you. “There’s a love that’s divine, and it’s yours and it’s mine, like the sun. At the end of the day we should give thanks and pray to the One.” Nice, tender, spiritual, Irish.Image result for Irish coastline sunset pictures

Now keep in mind that there will be ballroom dancing at this wedding, so we need dance music. Cha-cha’s, foxtrots, swings, tangos, rumbas, large group dances, etc. The challenge is immense. However, I am going on blog record with song recommendations for each dance style. My service is free to you, though you might pay thousands to a wedding planner for the same advice.

Image result for carlos santana imagesSo let’s get this party started, okay?  Cha-cha requires a 1-2 cha-cha-cha, 3-4 cha-cha-cha rhythm. Immediately my mind goes to Santana‘s collected works. You can rest assured that if Santana plays it, you can cha-cha to it.  Smooth is a good choice, and a nice opening statement/invitation to the smoothies who want to show off their skills.

“And if you said this life ain’t good enough

I would give my world to lift you up

I could change my life to better suit your mood

Because you’re so smooth”

That’s a nice opener that could even be inserted for a second go round later in the evening, when folks are fully lubricated and stretched.

Related imageWhich brings me to the penultimate foxtrot. Hmmm. “Come and Go With Me” by the Dell Vikings suits the purpose well.

“Well, I love, love you, darlin’

Come and go with me

Come go with me

Way beyond the sea

I need you, darlin’

So come go with me“.    Check this link and bop, bop, foxtrot around your living room with your loved one.  https://youtu.be/P1eU_lDQaVM

It’s a nice boom boom shuga shuga beat that bops one back into the soft souled fifties. Simple, sweet, naive, and wholesome.  It was a 45 rpm in 1956. The B side, according to Wikipedia, was titled, “Don’t Go Near The Water”. So now you know. Like a split personality that record:  A. Come To the Sea with Me, B. Go Away. A great primer for the

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Let’s see, swing. So many choices. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tie between “In The Mood” and “String Of Pearls”, both by Glenn Miller’s Orchestra. Say no more. Just run them back to back and hand out frozen linen napkins to catch the jubilant sweat.Image result for glenn miller orchestra picturesCertainly, we can keep on a swing kick with Kansas City and most any upbeat Elvis song, but I’m crafting the openers here. The big boom of the big band. Fabulous. Fabulous, ladies and gentlemen, don’t you dare sit down cuz we’re just getting started.

Now somewhere in this delightful celebration I want to have a dance that recognizes marriage veterans. The ideal song, I think, is another swing, “Still the One”, by Orleans. The lyrics are simple but sweet.

“We’ve been together since way back when

Sometimes I never want to see you again

But I want you to know, after all these years

You’re still the one I want whisperin’ in my ear

You’re still the one — I want to talk to in bed

Still the one — that turns my head

We’re still having fun, and you’re still the one”

When the music stops, we’ll see which couple has been married the longest. I’m betting that my bride and I will be the last ones standing, huffing and puffing, true, but still hugging at 38 years of matrimony.

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Now listen carefully, my little Mango. I have an unusual suggestion for a tango. Leonard Cohen‘s “Dance Me To The End Of Love”. Great song. Starts like some Greek Jewish festival song. It was featured in the Al Pacino movie “Scent of a Woman”.  Okay, so even a blind guy can tango. Now that’s what I’m talking about… 4 minutes 38 seconds of lurid passion.

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Whew, I was getting carried away with my imagination there.  Are you ready to RUMBA? Oh yeah.  Let’s go with “Stand By Me”, by Ben E. King.  So appropriate for a wedding.

“If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall

Or the mountains should crumble to the sea

I won’t cry, I won’t cry

No, I won’t shed a tear

Just as long as you stand

Stand by me”.

Oh, cue it up, Mista Dee Jay. Image result for ben e king images

Group numbers?  I know the ones I won’t approve… The Electric Slide. The Cupid Shuffle. Cha Cha Slide. Cotton Eye Joe. YMCA. Boot Scootin’ Boogie. The Loco Motion. So, how about a mash up of The Stroll, Shout, and The Hustle? It would be familiar yet challenging to mix the three styles later in the evening. But by then, who cares?

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Roll out the barrel. Have a barrel of fun. Do a vertical Irish jig, but God help us, no polkas.

Just before the cops show up, we’d have to hear the Stones blast “Brown Sugar“. We can all hum that on the way to the holding cell. The newlyweds will exit one direction in a limo as their parents are escorted to central booking. Oh, the humanity!

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445. Con Text Clues

Related imageThe texts were disjointed like our conversations tend to be also. Two or three subjects woven together in such a way that it’s impossible to quickly sort out which is what. If our conversations were electric wires, we would have burned our house down long ago.Image result for pictures of household wiring

“This is the white for positive, right?”

“And the black means negative, I think.”

“So what’s with the green one?”

“Uh, a ground wire. Yeah, green/ ground. They sort of sound alike.”

“Okay, so why do we have this red one? Does that rhyme with dead one? I don’t think electricians wire houses by rules of poetry.”

“Uhhhmmm, you got me, Cher.”

“I know. That’s the problem, Sonny. I got you, babe.”

Image result for pictures of memes facesDespite years of dysfunctional parries and repostes, I replied to my bride’s texted questions about my back’s current condition and perhaps dancing later, depending on the metastatic status of my sciatica. I replied honestly and affectionately, and then added a note about our daughter going home early to care for our sickly grandson. I thought she’d want to know about Max’s condition since she loves that little boy more than her next breath.

Well, it just goes to show you not to think for others or try to read another’s mind. It’s comparable to trying to fly your neighbor’s helicopter, which will only ensure that yours and his helicopter will both crash and burn most horribly.Image result for pictures of helicopter crashes

She flipped the script from one expected outcome—dance practice, to another—her ladies group. (I like how those dashes work visually. Yes? Can I get a million cyber Amen likes?)

“Should I go to the ladies group?” she texted me. Well, I’m thinking she’s asking if she should stay home with Max. Then a separate text came under that one. “It’s up to you. I don’t see any point in aggravating your back more. If you think the exercise will help, we should go.”

Okay, which part of the text should I reply to?  It was not clear to me what she wanted to know. I tried to insert my reply between the two parts so it was clear I was replying to the ladies group part. “No, Grace did not want to disrupt” I replied.Image result for pictures of memes confusion

A minute later she called me. “I’m confused. What are you telling me? Should I go to the ladies group or dance practice? I need to tell them which.”

“So, once again I answered a question you did not ask.”

“Yep. You do this all the time”, she added. “You should blog about this.”

“Wait a minute, you are endorsing me to blog? Authorizing me?”

“Yes, as long as you make me look good.”Image result for pictures of woman made up highfashion

“My bride, you always look good…. and that’s a good line.”

“Don’t use it. Don’t put that in.”

“So, you just want me to put in the parts that make you look good?”


“Alright. You got it, baby.” (I had parts of my anatomy crossed when I said this. Don’t you bust me out either. Okay? Double pinky swear, my blog blood brothers and sisters.)

“So what are we doing tonight?”

“Not dancing.”Image result for swing dancers pictures

“That’s probably best. You can stay home and help Grace if she needs any help.”

“Yep.  That’s what I was thinking.” (Which is completely not what I was thinking. I pictured myself on the recliner drinking a cold beer as my legs short circuited and finally submitted to the lightning storms that erupt across my nether nervous system as my glazed eyes tracked CNN’s latest disturbing trends in the news… “Wolf Blitzer here. Today President Trump ordered troops to New York and Hollywood to arrest comedian Stephen Colbert and actor Alec Baldwin for irritating his humorless heart and hurting his infantile presidential feelings. His recently fired Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, reported a major, major diaper change is in order. Apparently Mr. Trump was not vaccinated for hyper lying/ verbal diarrhea B.S. as a child.”)Image result for pictures of man staring at television

When I did get home grandgirl Leah was in bed “reading” a chapter book to her stuffed black dog. By this time, however, 9 month old Max had crawled up and fallen out of his crib, in a face plant. He was sleeping but on crisis coma watch. This was not the outcome I’d anticipated, which goes to show that expectations often boomerang on the expecter.

“You know, Grace, Child Protective Services is gonna love you. Max chokes; Leah falls into the brick hearth; now Max face plants on the hardwood floor. Yep, foster care.” Actually she and Stu are very good, attentive parents. Just young kids get into stuff that hurts. I walked into an airborne golf ball as a six year old kid. Six stitches above my right eye.Image result for pictures of golf ball in flight

I settled next to Leah on her bed. She opened her chapter book and put her finger on page 32 very officiously. With great verve and panache she invented a story of a girl whose little brother fell out of his crib. He had to go in the ambulance to the hospital after his head splattered on the floor. I gasped at all the appropriate points, which reassured her of her oratory. “And then what happened?” I gasped like someone on the news.Related image

“Hannah grew up into a real person. The end.”

“That’s it? All that drama and then she just ages out of an exciting childhood? Man, that’s so disappointing!”

“Granpa, kids grow up one day. That’s how we get adults.”

“Oh, who knew?”

“Everyone knows that, Granpa”, she replied with the same officiousness.Image result for cartoons of spunky little girl reading a book

“I remember when your mommy was a kid. She was doing gymnastics on her bunk bed and fell onto the floor. I took her to the Emergency Room while Auntie Erin went to dance practice.”

“Just  like Max!”

“Yep, it’s hereditary.”

“What does her red it tarry mean, Granpa?”Image result for red balloons pictures

“It means you do what your parents did when they were kids.”

“Oh, why is it red?”

“Uh, because her blue it tarry means you don’t do what your parents did.”

“That’s you, Granpa. You are Blue it tarry.”Image result for blue balloons pictures

“I think you are right, Leah Bird.”

“Granpa, I am not a bird. I’m a person.”

“Oh, my. I can’t wait to text you.”

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444. Superheroes for one hundred, please

Spider-man — Stock Photo #8814805Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Pity the hollow man or woman who has no hero; that’s a helpless state of being. We can all point to the craven men and women who were once something special. They are easy to find on the nightly news. The mighty, the popular, the beautiful, the rich and famous… and shallow.  When adversity sands their veneer off, you have only swollen pressed board sawdust and glue staring back at you. It’s smarter to select your hero from a large body of solid work not just one rocket flare hit song. A bright star and a dimmer galaxy.

So I am getting to my point. I have a new hero in my life. Two years ago I did not know he existed. My lovely bride and I danced with his parents in our ballroom dance class and club. We got on well and spent time together after class and in between the club dances. We did not know they had a single son, a very single son. Somehow the two moms conspired to each show her child to the other. Ours was 26 year old Jessica, my iris apple youngest daughter whom I have written about in earlier posts. Theirs was 30 year old Zach, the tender hearted techie punflower.

Image result for halloween masked ball imagesThey met at Zach’s parents’ Halloween party. As fate or parental contrivance would have it, Jess needed a little help with her microphone and amp. Lo and behold, Zach stopped cooking the tenderloin and stepped up to the technology gauntlet, reeking of competence. “Boom, boom, boom”, as Van Morrison sang, “and when you walk across the room, you make my heart go boom, boom, boom.” I love that line.  She sounded so lovely and fun on that special night, and I believe Zach was smitten like a little kitten.

Image result for matchstick ingiting picturesThe amore match was struck slowly along the gritty striker plate of mundanity. PSSSsshhhhh. All that was needed was a bit of dry kindling, some paper opportunities, a twig of conversation, wood chips on fluttering eyelashes, and some sappy squaw wood dates. And that’s what came along slowly but methodically. Focused attention like sunlight through a magnifying glass… and a fire was born. One night at the Army Barracks dinner/auction/dance in Carlisle, Zach’s folks could not make it but did not want their tickets to go to waste. Shazzam, Zach rolled in dramatically at the last moment and sat with Jess. And danced with Jess. And drove Jess home below the winter star field. The deal was sealed with epoxy.Starry Night SkyWell, from that point on inseparable is not too strong a word to describe their bond. I dubbed them the cuddlefish as they cuddled nightly on our sectional couch. Zach showed up for dinner, and soon we did not remember a time that he was not eating with us. Which proves the validity of the signs at Sea World when they tell you not to feed the cuddlefish.Image result for cuttlefish pictures

This alone is enough for hero status in my book of heroes. He was/is the man God sent to care for my precious daughter, who had been tryingly lonely for three long years.  Zach gets her. Enjoys her. Adores her. But wait! There’s more. It was Zach who saved me from computer death last week. He saved and transferred my files from the old demolished computer onto a sleek new one he purchased on my behalf. He cued up Microsoft Office as well, and hand delivered the laptop to me in my dining room.

Image result for llama picturesNow I did offer incentives via texts. I offered him my daughter’s hand in marriage again plus a llama if he could save my old files. If he could not, no llama. He did salvage 97% of the files, but since you cannot exactly give someone 97% of a llama, lamentably, I had to renege on the llama offer. I’m not gonna give a good man a three legged llama or a llama that needs dental work. Nope, not even a surrealist Dali Llama painting without a frame. That is not who I am.Image result for dalai lama pictures C’mon, I know you heard that coming. Unspeakable puns are fair game in Burritoland.

So Zach is an avid Burritospecial reader. I cannot in good conscience hold that against him. Recently he did a megasearch for all my blogs that mentioned Jess like a devoted basset hound.  He read them all. See what I mean? You have to love him even if you don’t want to. In a similar way that I assess how others react to Jess, I feel if someone does not like Zach, I’m immediately suspicious of their hollowness. When sterling beauty and profound integrity are right in front of you, why would you go for rhinestones and spray painted silver bling? Uh, because you, sir, are hollow.So there we have it. Patient, nearly geriatric love that is joining in holy matrimony this fall.  Somewhere in my associative neural pathways I am reminded of the story of a landed English gentleman who lost his only child in World War I. He grieved deeply and then began collecting Old Masters oil paintings from all over the world. He had quite a renowned collection by the time of his death. He left instructions in his will that all the collection should be auctioned off. Quite a lot of buzz surrounded the auction. Collectors from Japan and Australia, Canada and Russia, Belgium and France all came to bid on the precious pieces.

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There was one strange command at the start of the auction. A portrait of the dead man’s dead son was to be auctioned first. The portrait was done un-remarkably by an unremarkable local English artist, far below the greatness of the remaining masters. Yet that was the old man’s will. No one bid at first. At the point of awkward embarrassment the old man’s personal assistant bid a few pounds without competition and gathered in the painting. He had known and loved the son and the old man in his years of faithful service. He had a place in his heart for both of them. The rest of the crowd were glad to be done with the unremarkable portrait and anxious to get on with the high value items. That’s when the auctioneer read a second statement to the crowd. “Whoever bought the portrait of my beloved son gets the rest of the collection. Period. The auction is over.”

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Yeah, it’s like that. Zach wants my beloved daughter for all the right reasons. Whatever treasure I possess goes along with her, except for the llama, as detailed in paragraph seven.