Sunday, July 25, 2010

Old music is the best music

I grew up in the 50s & 60s.  I think most people always appreciate the music that first touched their lives, no matter how much music changes over time.  Each generation has their own type of music and mine are those of the 50s & 60s. 

Today on NPR's The Changing World the story is The Greatest Songs of The World.  The first they covered was Stand By Me, by Ben E. King.  The story itself is incredible.  You can listen to the show here:
The Greatest Songs of the World

I was surprised to learn that John Lennon covered Stand by Me.  Here's the official video from You Tube: John Lennon's version   And here is Ben E. King singing Stand by Me:  Ben E. King

And this version, which I saw on Bill Moyers' Journal is also on You Tube:

The next song covered is The Lion Sleeps Tonight.  Here is a video of The Tokens singing this song:

Of course now whenever I hear this song I think of Brian Orser, the incredible Canadian ice skater, doing a routine to this song.  I must say it's my favorite of all of his performances.  The one time I preferred him over Brian Boitano. 

Hope these songs make you feel as good as they make me feel. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I’ve been experiencing an increased difficulty in focusing lately. I don’t know if it’s an age thing, the time of year or the excess of sensory input. My professional life requires me to handle a bit of everything – I often feel like Mikey from the old Life commercials. For those of you over 30 you may remember: the older brothers say “give it to Mikey, he’ll eat anything.” I often feel like, “give it to Connie, she’ll handle anything.” I wish that was true. I feel like I am fumbling “the ball” more often than running for the goal line and making that touchdown.

So this year has seen the death of two of my cats, the illness of another two, with a third pending. Add to that my getting involved with street cats/kittens again. I had “retired” from that part of my life because I had exceeded my limit……….too many critters to care for and an inability to say no. While dropping off a darling girl kitten for spay, I stuck my nose into a situation where 3 kittens were going back to the street after their surgeries. I am adamantly opposed to releasing kittens back on the street when there is the slightest chance they can be socialized and then get adopted. A side note here, expect a multi-part blog on why Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is not only a good thing, but critically important. The little girl kitten was adopted by a nice young man who lives in the mobile home park. Her brother is being fostered by a wonderful young woman who works with me. And those 3 wild boy kittens are in my miniscule, single bathroom awaiting taming. And Sweets (the sweetest of the 3, hence the name) PURRED for me tonight. In my world, pretty much everything can be made alright by purrs. So, one of three is on his way to lap catdom. Two to go. It’s simply CATASTIC.

See what I mean about focus? I was listing the overload of incoming distractions/concerns I’ve been exposed to and went off track and expanded upon the kitten issue. Along with cat stuff, there has been the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion and spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention the use of the toxin Corexit to disperse the oil. That has consumed me since April, much the same as the aftermath of Katrina did in 2005.

I want to green up my life and eliminate, as much as is humanly possible, plastics from my life. Rather difficult in what has become a plastic world. I’ve wanted to start growing some of my own organic produce, although I have TWO black thumbs. Botany was never my forte; plants seem to like me even less than I like them, although I seem to have a really green thumb when it comes to weeds. I’m sure I could make weeds grow just about anywhere. Tomorrow (this morning actually) I’m attending an Organic Gardening class. Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t cause root rot in all the plants in the nursery where the class will be held.

And, primarily due to our wonderful summer rains, I’ve been in an extraordinary amount of pain lately. Arthritis from car accidents and my own clumsiness flairs up when low pressure systems are approaching. The pain clouds my brain and makes everyday tasks nearly impossible to accomplish. And there was the hospital stay at the beginning of the year. I stepped on one of my cats, in the dark, and she – naturally – bit me. That resulted in an infection, causing an elevated concern because of my diabetes, which led to several days in the hospital.

Add to all of this, financial concerns. I am struggling to not use my credit cards. There was a time, a few years ago when I thought nothing of pulling out that plastic and purchasing whatever stuff I wanted. Digging out from under credit card debt is difficult at best and worse during these horrible economic times. And, I’m so tired of all of the stuff - most of it seemingly useless and unnecessary – surrounding me wherever I turn. I want, desperately, to simplify my life and unburden myself of things I don’t use, don’t need and no longer want. However, I don’t want to add to the overburdened landfills. Finding the energy, time, motivation and room to pull the stuff together for a yard sale has been impossible for me to accomplish.

So, with so much on my mind and in my life, I’ve opted for inertia. Where to start, how to start become the questions instead of just getting started, no matter where or what I choose. Just make a choice and do it. Instead, I sit here, at my computer and write about it at 3 in the morning. Sleep? What’s that? Maybe I should just start the laundry (and figure out how to get a clothesline put up in the backyard) and clean some litterboxes, load the dishwasher, rinse out the cat & dog food cans for recycling or even try going back to sleep for a few hours. I need to organize my brain and my life! FOCUS, I ain’t got it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class

In January, 2008 Elizabeth Warren lectured on the coming collapse of the middle class.  Unfortunately those in power either weren't listening or simply didn't care about the people whose continued financial stability was critical for the health of our economy.  Ms. Warren was well aware of the warning signs of the pending collapse, while so many others were only focused on personal profits.  She is a brilliant champion of regular working people.  Support her appointment to the Consumer Protection Agency.  Tell President Obama that she is the person for this critical position.  And you can sign a petition for her appointment at this link: