I coulda been one of those people whose vinyl record collection was still an everyday part of their lives. I coulda kept my turntable and my stereo components. I shoulda. Now I have an iPod that cuts off the end of songs and a batch of cassettes that need to go wherever all that old vinyl went. I can’t even insert a CD into my computer anymore to put new songs into iTunes. I woulda loved having all that old vinyl around.
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Have you got rhythm? Can you keep the beat? Sometimes I think I needed my own private drummer (or perhaps a bass player) to follow me around and keep my tempo up to a steady “get ‘er done” speed. Make everything a dance step and think of what you could accomplish.
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Sometimes you hate those ear worms. Like when you come out of It’s a Small World at Disneyland and can’t sing anything else for 2 weeks. But sometimes you get a song in your head that’s so pleasing you enjoy the ear worm. “Christmas Island” is mine today, and I’m really digging it. Can you hear me humming?
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It was an ordinary day in the park. I was sitting on a bench in the sunshine, reading “The Museum of Extraordinary Things.” A group of about 20 young people walked down the path, humming “Dance Me to the End of Love.” They set up in an open space, formed a semi-circle and began to sing in earnest. I put my book down and listened for almost an hour. They sang nothing but Leonard Cohen songs. When I got home I learned he died. I felt like I’d been in the park of extraordinary things.
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This is how old I am. When I was growing up and obsessed with the top 40 tunes on the radio, the songs were by Sarah Vaughan and Frank Sinatra. The rhythms of rock and roll were a few years away. Sarah Vaughan sang songs that rocked my soul. One was “Autumn Leaves.” Each year when the leaves turn yellow and orange around me, I think of this song and her magnificent voice. It’s a good memory to have.
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It was one of those dreams you really enjoy. I was scampering (yes, scampering) down the street with Teri Polo. We splashed in puddles and sang songs. She made up one. I sang June Christy’s version of “Midnight Sun.” Damn, I was so good – I sounded just like June Christy. Did I really have to wake up?
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I’m an old person. I like music from the old days. Yesterday I threw a Joni Mitchell CD on the player in my car and turned it up really loud. Young people don’t know who Joni Mitchell is. They think Billie Holliday is a man and never heard of The Beatles. I think I have an advantage when I know all those old voices, yet can appreciate Beyonce and Mumford and Sons.
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“What’s on?” People want to know what’s on your iPod, your TV, your stereo, your X Box, your bedside table, your car radio. They think it says something about you. It probably does. So you should know that I watched “Marcella” all weekend, I listened to Natalie Merchant and Al Jarreau in my car, keep my radio tuned to NPR and I finished reading “The Marriage of Opposites” this weekend. Now you know all my secrets.
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They were tangled, those neurons, those synapses. I tried every day to teach them to rearrange and retangle into some semblance of ukulele player. The eyes, the nerves, the muscles, the practice – finally it began to click, to happen automatically, habitually. Whew. Neurons are tough customers.
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Oh, mate, now I hear The Beatles in my head. Paul McCartney crooning “Yesterday.” Why do you give me earworms with such staying power? I’ll never think of anything else today except yesterday. What I really want to think about is any other day. Not yesterday.
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