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By Gerry Ayers
Name that Tune
At one time on
television, there was a game show called "Name That Tune." It
revolved around music. Ultimately, contestants, with clues and
tunes played, had to (you guessed it), name that tune. At a
certain point, two players would face off, and try to name a
song with the least amount of chords (hints) played.
quite good, as they could name the tune with only one or two
actual notes being played!
Being a "good"
listener requires you to also name that tune, and I'm not just
referring to music. For after residing on this planet for
decades you start to realize there are many "fork tongues." You
must decipher the steak from the sizzle. Or should I say baloney
– looks tasty, smells tasty, but full of fat, sodium and not
times, when a conversation begins, can you see (hear) where it's
actually going before it really ends? Or, better yet, can you
NAME THAT TUNE in only a few notes (words)? A few of my
have you seen the price of gasoline or groceries the past few
weeks? Just insane."
Always up, rarely do they ever go down."
"Things are really tight and I just had the septic system
replaced, the car's brakes were shot, and my kid needed new
baseball equipment. Oh, and......"
Me: "Stop! I
can name this tune in five notes!"
Answer – Can I
borrow some money?
Me: "Did you
and your spouse take that long awaited vacation you talked
Them: "I wish.
Things aren't the same anymore."
know, growing apart. Sparks aren't there anymore."
Me: "Did you
try to work things out?"
tried counseling and it's going nowhere. Plus, keeping in touch
with that old flame via facebook, those odd hour phone calls,
those hidden texts and e – mails aren't helping the situation.
Should have seen it coming."
Me: "Wait! I
can name this tune in three notes!
You're splitting up!
are you going to order?"
Me: "Soup and
salad. And an ice water with a lemon wedge."
need to live a little. I'm having the shrimp cocktail, a steak
medium rare, baked potato, a lager to wash it all down, and to
top it all off – chocolate cheesecake for dessert!"
Me: "How was
your workout at the gym today?"
go. Wasn't feeling it. Haven't gone in a few weeks."
Me: "Hold the
phones! I can name this tune in eight notes!
Answer – The
diet is over and gym membership done.
shingles need to be redone, concrete at the foundation is
cracking, and the gutter spouts need to be replaced. Can you
give me a reasonable quote to have the work done?"
"Will do my best, but since we last spoke things have changed.
My costs have gone up, and their costs have gone up."
should we do first? What can be held off longer than anything
"Stop the presses! I can name your tune in four notes!
Answer – You
can't afford it!
"And if you vote for me, I'll put more people to work, lower
your taxes, and make sure your neighborhood is safer."
about two cars in every garage, and a chicken in every pot?"
"Yea, sure, that too."
your stance on national health care? On the defense budget? On
same sex marriage? On the minimum wage?"
(Silence, puzzled look on their face).
Me: "Stop! I
can name this tune in only three, count them, three notes!
You’re whistling Dixie!
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Just for the Fun of It
Lately, We’ve Been
In A Musical Mood
Aaahh... Yes, lately we around here
seem to have been in a "musical mood". And the fact that
"Calendar Spring" is upon us – well, that just adds melody to
So, with that "overture", Ole’ Al
presents some random thoughts juxtaposing a selection of music
with a "life situation". Here goes...
As noted, ‘tis time for "the first
day of Spring". Perhaps the day that is noted on our calendar we
should have playing in the background... what else?! Of course,
"The Rite of Spring" by Stravinsky. Actually, that piece is
somewhat somber for something as glorious as the start of the
lovely season. So, how about something like: "Singin’ In The
Rain"? Need Ole’ Al explain again? You know... April showers,
Now then, to be "topical"... ‘Tis
the deadline time for taxes to be paid. Could we rig our
envelope (in which is our payment) to play, when opened, that
terrific song from "Fiddler on the Roof"? You know: "If I Were A
Okay, there can be "argument" for
this one. The boss arrives at work and – yes! There shall be
playing "The Triumphal March" from Aida! Wow! What an
entrance that would make!
And all of us "underlings" would
have a chance to be part of this! You know what Ole’ Al is
talking about if you have ever seen the snippet on YouTube
showing this "event" in the opera as performed at The
Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Egads! There were as
many people on stage as there were in the orchestra seating!!
But, ah yes, such a grand performance for a grand piece of
Turning from the grandeur of the
opera, let us think about our visit(s) to a doctor. Now, now,
this is not meant to be ulterior comment, just for fun: When you
are escorted and "placed" in the exam room... there should be
the strains "The Minute Waltz". Frederic (no k) Chopin whipped
out this waltz for piano back in 18hundred something. One of the
stories that Ole’ Al loves is that Chopin was inspired to do by
seeing a dog chasing its tail. True or not, Ole’ Al doesn’t care
‘cause it makes for a good tale!
Oops! Can’t forget that Easter is
the holy day/holiday of the month. Naturally, as parents are
assembling the "usual assortment" of offspring in their "usual
states of almost preparation".
Perhaps Mom would be able to relax
by belting forth a rendition of "Get Me to the Church on Time"!
Okay, okay – the song from the musical, "My Fair Lady", refers
to an about-to-be wedding. So what? If the tune fits, hum it...
After Easter church service,
‘twould be "nice" to go out to eat, right? The music Ole’ Al has
selected for this adventure is "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy". Yes! Per
l’amor del cielo! There IS music so titled. Goes back a few
years to the days of a group named "Ohio Express". Anybody
remember the group? Young, longish hair... lookin’ at the old
pictures, Ole’ Al is reminded again of The Beatles.
Okay, what with spring practically
here, ‘tis time to think summer and perhaps taking a trip. What
would be some "good" background music? Of course! "Route 66"!
Oh, yes, the theme song of that terrific TV series... wherein
the two young men who were the "leads" traveled here and there
and found adventure. Ironically, none of the segments of that
show were done on or along the "real" Route 66. But that’s the
world of entertainment, right on?
"Route 66", the song, was written
by Robert W. "Bobby" Troup Jr. who was born in Harrisburg in
1918. He career included song writing and acting. For a time he
portrayed Dr. Joe Early on the TV show, "Emergency!" Anybody
remember that? He died in 1999. By the way, there are area
residents named Troup; Ole’ Al doesn’t know if there is a
Oh! Almost failed to take note
that, after a miserable and almost never-ending winter,
temperatures here in the Valley started to rise. Remember the
day when the temp was 61 degrees? Humpf! The bank sign should
have been rigged to play – wait for it – yes, "We’re Having a
Heat Wave"! By the way, that song was one of the hits in the
show, "There’s No Business Like Show Business".
Time to tune out, so to speak. But
not before we mention a good song to be played on elevators. Of
course, it’s "We’re Going Up", a Tim MacMorris creation. Ole’ Al
had thought that perhaps the theme song from "The Poseidon
Adventure" would have worked. But after more thought, Ole’ Al
decided that would have been a real downer.
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The Bookworm Sez
Heartthrobs" by Kelly Murphy with Hallie Fryd
c.2013, Zest Books
$17.99 / $22.99 Canada
He loves me.
She loves me not.
think it’s a children’s pastime but when you’re shaky on love,
that old pick-the-petals-off-the-flower game sure makes you feel
better. If you get uneven petals and a "loves me," you at least
Would it help
to know that you’re not alone, that romance has been iffy
practically since the beginning of time? Find out how by reading
"Historical Heartthrobs" by Kelly Murphy with Hallie Fryd.
If you’re like
a lot of people sitting in school these days, you’re wishing
that history class was over. But history is not at all boring
when you remember that historical figures were people who did
stupid things, made dumb decisions, and fell in love just like
Cleo was a
hottie, that’s for sure. Her beauty is legendary, as is her love
life – but you might not know the half of it. In order to
maintain power, she first married her younger brother, then she
married her older brother. She never let that ruin her fun,
though: Cleo was famous for her sizzling romance with Julius
Caesar and her love affair with Mark Antony, both powerful men
in their own rights.
of Benjamin Franklin in your wallet don’t make him seem like a
sex symbol, but Ben was something in his day. Some say he was a
womanizer and "flirtatious." It’s known for sure that, at age
17, he proposed to 15-year-old Deborah Read, who spurned him and
married another. A few years later, she returned to Ben and they
raised his illegitimate son, William, together.
had "two wives, three baby mamas… and countless lovers." Wild
Bill Hickok was married but might’ve been more-than-friends with
Calamity Jane. Mata Hari had an affair with her college
headmaster. John Wilkes Booth was "rumored" to have been
secretly engaged to the daughter of a U.S. Senator and T.E.
Lawrence may have had a secret marriage. Cosmo editor
Helen Gurley Brown was wedded to the same man for over fifty
years. Benazir Bhutto’s marriage was an arranged one. The
romance between Czar Nicholas and his wife began when they were
Tesla was celibate.
history has to be boring? Not authors Kelly Murphy or Hallie
Did you know
that Bugsy Siegel’s sister-in-law was a for-hire killer? Or that
Amelia Earhart had a rather progressive (for her time) marriage?
Who knew that Josephine Baker was also a cosmetics mogul? You
will, once you’ve got this book in your hands and are devouring
each of fifty brief chapters.
I was pleased
to see that some of the people in here are little known, as are
the surprises and the OMG scandals. What’s nice, too, is that
it’s all told in a way that’s easy-to-read and very, very
interesting for readers ages 15 and up – or for grown-ups who
want something lite and fun. If that’s you and you want to find
the real story inside history, then "Historical Heartthrobs" is
a book you’ll love.
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Music Reaches New Heights with
Higher Ground Elevates Local Music
When it comes to music the local
band, Higher Ground, elevates songs and sounds to a new level
and a higher note.
Since August of last year, this
groove-infused band of regional music makers have brought old
school style rock and a lot of roll into the present day with
their own spin and groove.
"Although we have only been
together about six months so far, we sound like a band that has
been together for many years," said Keith Schreppel. "Our sound
showcases each band member’s strong points. We have a great
group of musicians that work well and sound right. Each member’s
part in the band compliments the other members.
Higher Ground has a style that goes
back to music that had a strong beat, cool lyrics and a sound
that relies on talent instead of computers to sound good.
Those members of Higher Ground are
James Hotchkiss on lead guitar, Mark Hampton providing lead
vocals, Paula Moore on drums, Michael Irvine on rhythmic guitar
and back up vocals and Keith Schreppel on bass…the instrument
and not the fish
Since each band member has a
different background and style of performing, those traits are
woven into every gig and song they perform around the
Susquehanna Valley and new venues out of the area they are
"There are a lot of great places we
perform at around Williamsport and we have a strong following of
fans, now we are trying to venture into new places to perform."
Recently Schreppel and a State
College resident were talking about music when the question
arose on where individuals can find excellent, live music. The
Happy Valley resident said there are not many places in Happy
Valley since the venues around there are always booked with DJs
or extremely loud rock bands that customize their play list to
music geared to the college.
To enjoy excellent, many folks from
State College either to Harrisburg or good old Billtown, which
shows the quality of music and musicians we have right in our
back yard crowd.
"When we play, we don’t you a play
list. We want each of are shows to und amazing and to sound
different and not the same order of songs at each show," said
"If you want to hear some great
music, hear a few stories and a few jokes, you have to come out
and see us."
For more information on Higher
Ground, visit them on Facebook. To book the band, contact them
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Well it Was –Just my Imagination
"Why don’t you
kids go outside and play?" "What do you mean? What do you want
us to do?" reply the children. "Can’t we just stay inside and
watch TV?" I guarantee this conversation is said in numerous
households every day in this country. These days kids don’t
"create fun" anymore. The TV, the Internet and video games have
robbed them of the ability to be creative.
When I was a
kid, mom didn’t have to tell us to go outside to play, if
it was a nice day, I was out at about 8:30 a.m. and stayed out
until dark! If it was summer, all the better, you could be out
until 9Pm easily! My friends and I played, kickball, whiffle
ball, football, tag, hide and seek, cowboys and Indians (you
hide if you’re an Indian, you chase if you’re a cowboy), shoot
each other with squirt guns, build "roads" and play with Tonka
trucks and matchbox cars, build ramps and pretend we were "Evil
Kneival" on our bikes (remember him?) We found wood and built
tree houses (against our parents’ wishes) in the yard.
My friends and
I even got refrigerator boxes, which we dragged from GE and
built forts out of those. In the winter, it was snowball battles
(epic ones) all day long, in the summer we played flashlight
tag, until mom yelled out the window "GET IN THE HOUSE!" I
remember sucking down my dinner as quickly as humanly possible,
(my required family time) to get back outside again. We flew
kites, we climbed trees, and we collected rocks and jumped in
piles of leaves.
My one buddy
was very creative; he used to make homemade movies. He had an
old 8mm camera, and would come up with a brief outline of a plot
and then all of his buddies would "act" and come up with stuff
to complete the idea. We were still doing this when we were 16
and 17. He created a movie about aliens, did a spoof on the
Twilight Zone, and did "remakes" of Psycho and Saturday Night
It was great
times. Now my friend is 48 years old and his kids are creating
movies. As far as I am concerned he has taught them well!
When we could
NOT go outside, we were drawing pictures, playing board games,
singing to records and pretending we were rock stars, building
with Legos and Lincoln logs, or messing with an erector set.
My friends and
I were allowed about 2 hours of TV a day, and often we didn’t
even take advantage of it! I did like the Monkees, the Three
Stooges, Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley; I took the time for
When I was
bored, there was scouting. There were about 100 merit badges for
me to be working on. I did woodcrafts, leather carving, art,
bird watching, painting, physical fitness, and reading about
citizenship, first aid, and emergency preparedness. I got to
watch a movie when I had $5.00 to go out to a movie.
Why do I bring
all this history up?
will play video games, or be on the Internet all day.
They don’t desire to go outside. The gadgets today stunt ones
creativity and growth. It’s like technological smoking! Kids
also are not interacting with each other. They may be in the
same room, but they are not communicating and growing. Kids can
live right next to each other and text each other, rather than
go over to each other’s houses to hang out! The Internet is a
great source of information, but it also is a vast wasteland of
nonsensical and harmful stuff for children if not monitored
I spoke with a
gentleman in my church that told me 2 days a week in his house
are no TV or Internet days. They do family events, they go
roller-skating, or bowling, read, do crafts. I think this is an
outstanding idea. His kids are happy and well adjusted, and they
are not so wrapped up in "being entertained" all the time.
creativity, where are our future writers, actors, and
playwrights? Let’s encourage our kids to use the muscles in
their brains and bodies. Get out of the virtual world and create
and socialize in the real world. It’s healthy and its fun – kids
look at my list of what my friends and I did.
Try it Out!
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