Kenny Chesney – Up Close and Connected

28 Mar

Kenny Chesney opened his latest tour in Nashville, and we were lucky enough to get tickets. When I say tickets, I am not talking about just any tickets. My wife could reach out and touch the stage. Of course, that is a great thing because she is a huge fan of Kenny.

Looking at the circumstances, I can understand why she thinks that way.

He was born in 1968, and I was born in 1968.

He is a native of Tennessee, and I am a native of Tennessee.

He is a huge fan of the University of Tennessee, and I am a huge fan of the University of Tennessee.

He suffers from a lack of hair, and I suffer from a lack of hair.

Heck, we are basically the same person. The only differences are his talent, money, fame and the feeling of having thousands of people scream when he walks in the room.

The concert opened with a cool video based on a Voodoo theme. Then, Kenny and his band came out and played for over three hours. Those hours were filled with constant music and little talk. There is nothing worse than going to a concert and have them talk through half of it.

Anyway, it was an awesome show that was made more awesome by where we sat. My wife was able to get some great pictures.

Here is one of Kenny singing from his knees. I supposed that is tougher than singing while standing up.image-25

There is also one with Kenny and one of his guitarists. It was cool to see this guy play up close.image-26

Those are great, but my favorite part of the show was when Kenny brought out a special guest.image-27

Joe Walsh is one of the all-time great guitarists and played some classics. In fact, the entire show ended with a miniature Joe Walsh concert. Once Joe was finished doing his thing, Kenny made a final walk around the stage, and it all came to an end.

I have seen Kenny Chesney in concert before and was not impressed. However, this was one of the better concerts I have seen.

My only complaint? For the band introductions, they covered “Whole Lotta Rosie” by AC/DC, and the crowd did not seem to know what it was. Who does not know an AC/DC song when they hear it?

I guess that is more of a complaint about the ignorance of the crowd. The concert was great. Of course, other factors could have been kicking in. It may have been the seats. It may have been the appearance of Joe Walsh. Heck, it may have been my karmic connection to Kenny. After all, we are practically the same person.

Through the 1970s and Beyond

27 Mar

The other day, I saw something on Twitter that required further research. After a little Googling, I discovered that this information has made the Internet rounds and has been written about a bunch. However, that is not going to stop me from putting my spin on it.

Anyway, it goes like this.

In February 1970, Circus magazine pictured a bunch of people on its covered and asked if they would survive the following decade.Ty0ZdBT47

It was a morbid idea for a cover, but it has led to an interesting question. How many of them made it?

The following list is in the order of their appearance.

Johnny Cash survived the 1970s and lived until 2003. Luckily, I was able to meet him when we ran into each other in a bookstore.

Pete Townshend is still living and is about to go on another tour. I saw The Who on their last tour but left the arena disappointed.

Jim Morrison passed away in 1971 and is buried in a Parisian cemetery.

Paul McCartney is alive and recording. In fact, he just did a thing with Kanye West and Rihanna.

Grace Slick is very much alive but probably not as slick.

Bob Dylan is still around and will soon be performing in Nashville. I just read that the Country Music Hall of Fame is opening a new exhibit about him and Johnny Cash.

Janis Joplin passed away a few months after the issue hit the stands.

John Lennon made it through the 1970s but was gunned down in 1980.

Jimi Hendrix also died a few months after this issue first came out.

Johnny Winter survived the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2014.

Alvin Lee died one year earlier in 2013.

Ray Davies is still alive and doing his thing.

John Mayall is also still with us.

Mick Jagger just announced a stadium tour for The Rolling Stones. They will be returning to Nashville.

Elvis Presley died at Graceland in 1977. Luckily, my parents took me to one of his concerts a few years before that.

George Harrison was the second Beatle to leave us. He passed away in 2001.

Ringo Starr is still playing drums and getting help from his friends.

Charlie Watts is also still around. I wonder if he will be doing that stadium tour.

Jimmy Page is definitely alive. I read that his girlfriend is the same age he was when he appeared on that cover.

David Crosby is also in the news. A few days ago, he ran over a jogger.

What does all that mean?

It means that Circus put out a dumb cover and a dumb article.

It also means that most of these rockers, despite their crazy lifestyles, made it out of the 1970s. Of the 20 that were listed, 11 of them are still alive 45 years later. Out of the 9 who have passed away, 4 lived into the 21st Century.

Four of them passed away in the 1970s. Three of those due to drug use, and the fourth, Jim Morrison, remains a mystery.

However, I have a few questions. Who thought up this article? Did any of those featured read it? Did they get made or laugh at it?

I guess someone could ask those who are still on this earth.

A Historical Reunion

26 Mar

On Sunday, the memorial service was held for Monty Pope. You have read about him a couple of times on this blog and, hopefully, got a glimpse of what he meant to the people he encountered. In fact, hundreds of those people attended.

Looking around the room, I noticed that many of them were graduates of our history program who had traveled from great distances. Then, it hit me. Not all of the history graduates knew each other. The crowd consisted of people who took the same classes from the same teachers but never crossed paths.

Obviously, I realized that there are different generations of students, but it had never hit me like it did that day. Heck, the other two history teachers did not even know who many of the former students because those students predated them.

I am not sure where I am going with this, but it brought a few things to mind. First, it was great that they thought enough of Monty to be there. Second, I have been teaching for a long time. Third, we should have a history graduate reunion to let these people meet each other.Reunion

I have no idea if anyone would show up, but it would be interesting to hear them exchange stories. It would also be cool to know where they are and what they are doing.

Movie Wisdom – Kurt Russell Edition

24 Mar

I was just flipping through the channels and came upon Escape From New York, one of the all time great dystopian movies. New York is a maximum security prison. The president is being held hostage within it. Lee Van Cleef sends Kurt Russell in to get the president. On top of that, this dystopian world is set in 1997. By now, Snake Plissken is getting on up there.Snake

I have seen Escape From New York a ton of times, which means I am not going to watch it. Instead, I am going to explore the wisdom that can be found in the movies of Kurt Russell.

By the way, here is some kind of interesting trivia. Kurt was in a movie with Elvis Presley. Later, he portrayed Elvis in a couple of movies. He also pretended to be an Elvis impersonator in another movie.

From It Happened at the World’s Fair

Adults, they’re all nuts!

From The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

Modernization isn’t everything!

Everyone’s just out for himself.

From Used Cars

Fifty bucks never killed anybody.

You know, it used to be when you bought a politician, that son of a bitch stayed bought.

From The Fox and the Hound

Forever is a long, long time, and time has a way of changing things.

From Tequila Sunrise

Friendship is the only choice in life you can make that’s yours!

Don’t get caught.

From Tango & Cash

Too much television can hurt your eyes.

From Tombstone

There’s no normal life.

Wearing that badge don’t make you right.

From Forrest Gump

Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

You’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.

You have to do the best with what God gave you.

There’s only so much fortune a man really needs and the rest is just for showing off.

From Escape from L.A.

The future is right now.

From Miracle

Great moments are born from great opportunity.

 

My iPod Has Issues – All About the Birthday Girl

23 Mar

On Saturday night, we celebrated my stepdaughter’s 13th birthday with a gathering of her friends. We filled them with soft drinks, spaghetti, pizza and one of the coolest birthday cakes I have ever seen.image-24

A few of the girls spent the night, and, according to rumor, they stayed up for most of it. I also hear that they ate more of that cake.

Big fun was had by all, and my wife and I are worn out. In celebration of the big One Three, I am going to dig into my iPod and play a bunch of songs that my stepdaughter has never heard. After all, nothing compares to Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

“I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” by Gladys Knight and the Pips

“Dancing Barefoot” by Patti Smith

“Sweet And Slow” by Carol Sloane

“For All We Know” by Susannah McCorkle

“What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner

“He Thinks I Still Care” by Dorothy Moore

“Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell

“He’s A Rebel” by The Crystals

“Moanin'” by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross

“What A Difference A Day Makes” by Dinah Washington

“Sinnerman” by Nina Simone

“What The World Needs Now Is Love” by Jackie DeShannon

“Black Enough” by Melba Moore

“Your Love Is Where It Ought To Be” by Big Mama Thornton

“Everything Must Change” by Oleta Adams

“Ready For Love” by India.Arie

“Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliott

“I’m A Woman” by Christine Kittrell

“She’s Got You” by Loretta Lynn

“Texas (When I Die)” by Tanya Tucker

Happy Birthday to a fantastic 13-year-old girl!

 

The Final Hand

21 Mar

He had never been there before, but he had been to a thousand places just like it. Trash in the street. Dingy building. Some guy standing in the shadows by the door.

They nodded to each other as he walked through the door and made his way into a dimly lit room. However, it was the only light that the men in the room had probably seen in a while. They were creatures of the darkness. All they needed was a light shining down on the felt table covered with cards and chips.

He was a poker player, and these were his people.

He took the empty seat and looked around the table. A couple of them he had played against many times. The others were new. That did not matter. He would learn about them.

Through the night, he studied the players. He studied their playing style. He studied their mannerisms. He studied who they really were.

To his left sat someone who he knew well. A great athlete whose life peaked as a high school hero. His body was broken, and his competitive need could only be filled on the felt. The rest of the time he maintained the same field where he once dominated.

The next player was the typical guy who learned how to play by watching television. He had the hoodie. He had the cap low over his eyes. He should have been playing a fifty cent game at some backwoods casino.

Then, there was the man who looked like he had been sitting in the same chair for a hundred years. His eyes looked tired, and his face looked like it would crack if he smiled. At some point, he mentioned that he had won a tournament several years ago. It was said in passing but was meant as a declaration of the greatest moment of his life.

Across the table sat a man who was hard to read. He had dabbled in different jobs with varied levels of success. He liked to talk, which meant that his time as a car salesman and a real estate agent may have been the high points. Funny, his rate of conversation paralleled the size of his chip stack.

A hulking guy sat next to him. He was the type who lorded over the table and hoped to win with intimidation rather than skill. He did not talk much, the stereotypical strong silent type, but it did not take much time to discover that he was a short-haul truck driver who was thousands of dollars in debt.

The strangest one sat to the left of the Hulk. Not strange in the sense that he could be a serial killer. Strange in the sense that he did not belong in the room. He wore a sweater vest and glasses. He was educated. Why was he in the room? Did he worked in a skyscraper and get his thrills by playing in the gutters? It was difficult to figure out.

The last player was the one he knew best. The one who put this game together. He played wild and lived wilder. He played this game, but the game possessed him. He had won money at the game, but, in return, he had lost his family to the game.

As the hands flew by, he studied the other eight men at the table. He lost track of the cards and of his chip stack. The game became a blur.

As he studied his opponents, he began to realize that he did not want to play anymore. There was a time when he, like the others in the room, lived for poker. However, he did not care about winning or losing. He wanted to be out of that game. He wanted to be away from that table. He wanted to be out of that room.

He wanted to be where life meant more than a handful of cards. He wanted to care about more than the flop, the turn and the river.

A line from a long forgotten movie came to him.

This game had lost its allure.

On the next hand, he went all in without looking at his cards.All In

It was time to go home and leave this game behind.

His chips went into the stack to his right.

He got up from the table and walked out into the night. He had lost the hand, but he knew that, in the final hand, he had won.

 

My iPod Has Issues – Spring Break Has Come and Gone

16 Mar

Spring Break is over. School starts back, and I have to get my mind right to talk about history. That means getting into my office and spending some quiet time looking over notes. Of course, I have to arrive extra early to ask a couple of my cohorts about their Spring Break trip to Haiti.Spring Break

Getting my mind right also means listening to some tunes. With that in mind, I am going to turn on the iPod and see what kind of “Get My Mind Ready” music it can conjure up.

I think I will cheat and pick the first one.

“School’s Out” by Alice Cooper

“Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds

“Up On The Roof” by The Drifters

“Good Golly Miss Molly” by Little Richard

“99 Problems” by Jay-Z

“Blue Skies” by The Allman Brothers Band

“You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” by Dean Martin

“Angel Eyes” by Scott Hamilton

“Immune” by Godsmack

“Spirit In The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum

“Sonny Got Caught In The Moonlight” by Robbie Robertson

“The Beat” by Lou Johnson

“Gimme Back My Bullets” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

“A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams, Jr.

“Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones

“Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver

“Bring It On Home To Me” by Sam Cooke

“Big Iron” by Marty Robbins

“Buck’s Boogie” by Matt “Guitar” Murphy

“The Pilgrim: Chapter 33″ by Kris Kristofferson

Tomorrow, I will get up bright and early and teach class to a bunch of students who have gotten up just as early. I should enter the room to Elvis’s intro music. I bet that would get their attention.

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