Happy Earth Day…2017!!!

Today marks Earth Day, the one day per year in which many people pretend to care about the home that we all share: our beautiful planet Earth. There is apparently a “March for Science” going on in Washington, D. C. – throngs of people littering the streets with themselves and their Unicorn Frappuccinos as they make certain to take endless selfies to show everyone how “aware” they are.

If you treat every day as if it were Earth Day, then you would be moved to action, even if only in the smallest means, and that action doesn’t include posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Doing something for our planet doesn’t involve self-absorbed narcissism!

I always maintain that being part of the solution is much better than being part of the problem. Little things like “reduce, reuse, recycle” are important to incorporate in daily life. Instead of always deciding between “paper or plastic” at the grocery store, why not bring your own, reusable shopping bags?

Bees are rapidly becoming endangered, and that means our food supply is threatened. Why not plant bee-friendly herbs, shrubs, and trees wherever possible? Spend a day at an apiary, if possible – learn what you can about those marvelous little critters upon whom so much depends.

When’s the last time you volunteered at a local outdoor cleanup activity which wasn’t driven by politics or making yourself look good amongst your office or personal circle? When did you do something good for our planet, simply because it needs to be done?

This planet is our home. It’s the only one we have, for the far foreseeable future, so we are responsible for its health and well-being as surely as we are our own. We cannot be parasites – we need symbiosis!

That’s my small, soapbox oration for today. I did a little bit of beach cleanup yesterday, since the weather was perfect for it! It always feels good to DO good. My “deer” friend, Spot, just hopped over the fence and headed to the backyard, so Mother Nature is already paying me a visit and saying “thank you!” With that, please enjoy the five songs which, to me, always symbolize Earth Day.

Friday Fun: Miscellaneous Memes & Music!

I think that it’s time for a few Friday memes, followed by a bit of music! The sun is out today, so it’s time to ride over to the beach and take a walk on the sand. Later, ‘gators!

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Midweek Musings…20 April 2016 * Re-Posted *

This was deserving of a re-post; multiple factors contributed to the decision! I also put the links of a couple of my past posts here, since re-blogging is only allowed once. I think that bloggers should be able to reblog our own posts as many times as we want, but that would probably contribute to laziness – and there are plenty of people who use that excuse far too often, LOL!

BOOP!!!

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Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

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Tuesday Tuneage: Happy Dance Time!

Ah, life is sweet! My Seattle Mariners have been playing better and pulled themselves out of last place in the AL West. Their sweep against the Texas Rangers was delightful to watch, and seeing Ichiro Suzuki back at Safeco Field, even wearing a Miami Marlins uniform, was awesome. That’s true loyalty right there: when a player has been long gone from a team, yet are still given the red-carpet treatment when they return to a baseball or football field, even as an opponent. Ichiro was a monumental part of the Mariners team for quite a while, and his outstanding performance is still being honoured and celebrated – and that kicks ass, in my opinion!

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I also received a fantastic bit of news yesterday, which was added to earlier this morning – so, I’m in a celebrating sort of mood! Things like this should be savoured…much like a perfectly ripe peach, a fine wine, a good book, or a nice piece of chocolate. Sit in the moment and just enjoy it – I know that I am! Here are five celebratory songs to get the party started. It’s dancing time!

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Tribute: J. Geils

John Warren Geils Jr.: 20 February 1946 – 11 April 2017

Wow – I happened to hear this announced on one of the radio stations that I was listening to when I was out and about earlier today. From CNN:

John Warren Geils Jr., the guitarist and founder of the eponymous J. Geils Band, has died, police in Groton, Massachusetts, said.

Police came to Geils’ home for a well-being check, police Chief Donald Palma said. The 71-year-old was found unresponsive and was declared dead at the scene…The J. Geils Band was one of the most popular American touring bands of the 1970s. It did not achieve commercial fame until the 1980s, when they released radio mainstays such as “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks” and “Freeze-Frame.”

Born in New York in 1946 and raised in New Jersey, Geils’ first love was cars — a passion he inherited from his father along with his ear for jazz, he told Autoweek in 2012. He met band mates Danny Klein and “Magic Dick” Salwitz at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he was studying mechanical engineering. They formed the J. Geils Band in 1967 with lead singer Peter Wolf and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd.

“That was the end of engineering school for all three of us,” he told the magazine.

The group released a string of albums in the 1970s but would not achieve commercial success until the 1980s, starting with the release of “Love Stinks,” its first platinum-selling record, according to Rolling Stone. Their 12th album, “Freeze-Frame,” featured its popular title track as well as chart-topper “Centerfold,” which spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982.”

The J. Geils band was one of my favourites to listen to in high school and afterwards, and I had a number of their albums. You could hear the songs “Centerfold” or “Freeze-Frame” played nearly every day on the radio, and MTV was more than generous with playing those hits, as well as the awesome song “Love Stinks.” From Rolling Stone:

Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967, the J. Geils Band became fast local favorites and released their self-titled debut in 1970. They broke through on the Billboard 200 in 1973 with their record Bloodshot, and over the course of the next decade honed a sound that blended blues rock, R&B, soul and pop. During the Seventies, the J. Geils Band would release eight studio albums and two live records while touring relentlessly – but they wouldn’t hit their commercial peak until the beginning of the next decade.

In 1980, the J. Geils Band released Love Stinks, their first platinum-selling record, while the following year they notched a Number One with their 12th album Freeze-Frame. That album featured the group’s only chart-topping hit, “Centerfold,” while its title track also reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the band began to fall apart in the aftermath of its success. Wolf did not appear on the J. Geils Band’s final album, 1984’s You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd. The J. Geils Band officially split in 1985, but began to play the occasional reunion show in 1999. In 2012, however, Geils officially quit the group and sued his bandmates for conspiring to go on tour without him and unlawfully using the band’s trademarked name.

Outside of the J. Geils Band, Geils remained busy as a musician. In the mid-Nineties, he released two albums with his band Bluestime and during the 2000s, he returned to his jazz roots with three solo records.”

I often played their lesser-known songs on the radio when I was a DJ, and would get compliments on the song and band trivia that I’d toss in here and there. “No Anchovies, Please” was one that I memorized and would recite to friends at slumber parties – only on request, of course! Many fond memories always come to mind whenever I hear a song from the J. Geils Band, and always listen to them with a smile. I chose five rarely-heard ones to close out this tribute to a musical genius. Rest easy, Mr. Geils – you won’t be forgotten.

Monday Musings: Seattle Mariners Home Opener!

It’s pouring down rain right now, with bursts of hail here and there. The weather perfectly matches my feelings over the dismal start that my Seattle Mariners have had so far this season! They trail the American League West with a 1 – 6 record, a .143 percentage rating, and four games out of first place.

I’m certain that the roof at Safeco Field will be firmly shut for the first home game, where the Mariners will face the Houston Astros for the second time in a week. The home-field advantage will be nice, but the bats definitely need to continue the momentum that exploded for a brief, shining moment in yesterday’s exciting, but depressing game against the LA Angels. Pitching went into the dirt after Hisashi Iwakuma left the game after seven innings, and the solid 9 – 3 lead vanished in puff of smoke in the ninth inning.

The promise shown during Spring Training has gone back into hibernation, at least for the time being. Hopefully the guys shake off last week’s losses and start turning things around – starting today!

The weather has me thinking about my favourite rain-related songs, so here are three to set Monday’s mood…enjoy!

Sunday Songs & Silliness: Mercury Retrograde Memes!

Mercury turns retrograde at 1614 PDT. Time to reflect on things, revise plans and goals, and see what is revealed when you reassess certain events. Sometimes things can be repaired; other times, retreat is a necessity. Enjoy these thoughtful and silly memes, along with a bit of music. I decided to play “connect-the-songs” this time around; let’s see if those of you who are REALLY reading this can spot how it was done! I hope that your respective weekends are going well – later, ‘gators!

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Friday Fun Facts: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Edition!

Well, here it is – the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place tonight! It will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, for the third time. Presented by Klipsch Audio, the ceremony will be broadcast on cable channel HBO, and will also be aired on SiriusXM. From the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website:

Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first recording. The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Performer Inductees were chosen by more than 900 voters, as well as the aggregate results of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s online fan vote. The top five artists from the fan vote comprised the Fans’ Ballot that was tallied alongside the other ballots to determine the 2017 Inductees. Four of the winners of the Fans’ Ballot (ELO, Journey, Pearl Jam, and Yes) will be inducted as performers in 2017…Klipsch Audio, a leading global speaker and headphone manufacturer, is a strategic partner and presenting sponsor of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, its Induction Ceremony events and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Main Stage. Klipsch’s renowned products deliver the power, detail and emotion of the live music experience throughout the iconic museum.”

Six bands / artists are in the Performer Category, and one musician / producer won the Award for Musical Excellence. For this “Five on Friday” post, I will list the ones who have made the biggest impression on me in my life with their music. I’ll do it “Top 40” style, listing them from fifth to first – so, here we go!

The band Journey is at number five for me. They were big in the 80s, with many great hits such as “Lights,” “Send Her My Love,” “Oh Sherrie,” and, of course, the well-known smash “Don’t Stop Believin’.” From Wikipedia:

Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. The band has gone through several phases; its strongest commercial success occurred between 1978 and 1987. During that period, the band released a series of hit songs, including “Don’t Stop Believin'” (1981), which in 2009 became the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century.[2][3] Its parent studio album, Escape, the band’s eighth and most successful, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and yielded another of their most popular singles, “Open Arms”. Its 1983 follow-up album, Frontiers, was almost as successful in the United States, reaching No. 2 and spawning several successful singles; it broadened the band’s appeal in the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart. Journey enjoyed a successful reunion in the mid-1990s and later regrouped with a series of lead singers.”

The Journey song that I selected for today is “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” – I love the guitar work in it!

Nile Rodgers, fourth on my list, is the genius behind the band Chic, described as a “sonic innovator” on his official website. Rock, funk, disco, and EDM – his notable riffs have been fundamental in all of those musical genres. I think that nearly everyone is familiar with the Chic smash hit “Freak Out / Le Freak,” but the song that I selected by them features Carly Simon on lead vocals. The song, called “Why,” had an instrumental-only version on the B-side of the single. I always enjoyed listening to the song and singing along, then flipping the record over and singing with the B-side – it was excellent practice for choir!

I was elated to see the band known as Yes finally get inducted! Their induction was long-overdue, and I know that I’m not the only one who thinks so. The progressive-rock band from London was originally formed in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire, and has undergone many formations over the years. Chris passed away on 28 June 2015 – you can find my tribute post to him here. I have enjoyed their music for as long as I can remember, and some of their music videos aired on MTV were ones that I looked forward to! “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was their biggest hit of the 80s, but I’d have to say that a good majority of their musical offerings are well-worth listening to. Transcendental, multi-layered, and semi-operatic are words that I would use to describe this fantastic band. The song that I selected is one of my personal favourites: “Love Will Find a Way.”

Number two on my top five list is the Seattle grunge-rock super-group, Pearl Jam. I first saw them at a downtown Seattle club called The Vogue, and was instantly hooked on their style of music! They, along with groups such as Nirvana and Soundgarden, placed Seattle back on the musical map. The city is now known for more than rain and the Pike Place Market, I’d say! The song that I selected is “Even Flow” – I love the lyrics and the musical arrangement, and Eddie Vedder’s voice is sublime.

Finally – number one on my list of the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees! That honour goes to the supergroup known as the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). This band formed in Birmingham in 1970. I think that I’ve heard more songs by ELO than almost any other artist or band, and that’s saying a lot! I’ve listened to hours of The Moody Blues, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Fleetwood Mac, to name just of few of the many artist that I enjoy. I think that the first song of theirs that I heard was down at a little, local burger joint called The Snack Shack. I was walking past on a fairly nice summer day and heard an awesome beat and crazy sounds drifting out of the open door. I wandered in and looked at the jukebox to see what song was playing; it was “Don’t Bring Me Down.” I had a couple of quarters on me, so I played the other two ELO selections offered on the machine: “Telephone Line” and “Twilight,” respectively, and I was hooked on them from then on. My dad had started working at the local radio station at that time, and he liked playing “Rockaria” and their rendition of “Roll Over Beethoven” quite often! I never saw the movie “Xanadu,” but absolutely loved the ELO-backed soundtrack. The ELO song that I chose is “Evil Woman,” of course – it’s one that I always crank up and rip the knob off when I hear that familiar opening of the stringed orchestra. Such a versatile band, more than deserving of their induction!

Last, but certainly not least, I’m very happy that Tupac Shakur was also finally inducted. Many will disagree with him being honoured in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but I think that he deserves it as much as Joan Baez – if not more so! From Rolling Stone:

Two decades after his death on September 13, 1996, Tupac Shakur endures as one of hip-hop’s most iconic figures and its most powerful enigma. His life was a tapestry of often contradictory images: the concerned young father cradling his son in the video for “Keep Ya Head Up”; the angry rapper spitting at cameras as they swirled around his 1994 trial for sexual assault; the artist who animatedly, yet eloquently, pushed back at Ed Gordon’s questions during a memorable BET interview; and the man who seemed to predict his own demise when the “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” video, released weeks after his death, depicted him as an angel in heaven. Although he is no longer with us, the myth of 2Pac the thug angel remains. No other artist better illuminates hip-hop’s fault lines between regional pride and mainstream success, and the struggle to transcend and elevate beyond humble origins while honoring the streets that raised you. His wayward, conflicting expressions of pride, militancy and gangster-ism resonates in a world when black men and women celebrate their heritage and collectively organize against a racist America, yet are also cautious to protect themselves from each other.

Fans – particularly East Coast rap listeners who, after all these years, still harbor a grudge against him – will continue to debate whether 2Pac’s albums can measure up to Nas’ Illmatic, the Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die, or Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt. But no one can deny the way he transformed hip-hop into his singularly muscular, tattooed, bald-headed, bandana-clad image.”

Love him, hate him, or even if you’re completely indifferent – there is no denying Tupac’s influence and sheer genius. I wonder what music he would be putting out if he had lived to see the current social and political quagmire here in the USA? I’m betting that it would pull no punches, and would make more than a few people uncomfortable and angry. That is how it should be, in my not-so-humble opinion!

MLB Monday: Opening Day 2017!

Finally…Spring Training is over and baseball season has officially begun! Today marks Opening Day of Major League Baseball (MLB), with the first games of the season for teams across the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The official ‘Home Opener’ for my Seattle Mariners is next Monday, 10 April, but they do play today down in Texas against the Houston Astros. I sure wish that the home opener was being held today! The weather is picture-perfect, so the retractable roof would be wide open to let in the warm sun and gentle breeze. Safeco Field is one of the nicest MLB stadiums that I’ve seen, and I acknowledge that I might be slightly biased, LOL!

Watching the game on television is all right, but nothing compares to seeing a game live, in-person, at your local ball-park and cheering along with other fans! I was hoping to do so at least twice this year, but unexpected roofing issues have cropped up, so house repairs will eat into our savings this year. At least taxes are out of the way…

The Seattle Mariners website has five Opening Day facts listed, so I figured that I’d do a bonus ‘Five Fun Facts’ and post them! I learned a few things about my team, hopefully there is something of interest to other baseball fans as well:.

HOUSTON — With Seattle set to begin its season Monday night against the Astros, here are five interesting facts related to Mariners’ Opening Day.

1. The churn continues

Only seven of the 25 players who’ll be in uniform Monday were on the Opening Day roster last year when general manager Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais started their new tenures. The select seven: Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Leonys Martin, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Nick Vincent. Seven others joined the team midway through last season: Mike Zunino, Guillermo Heredia, James Paxton, Ariel Miranda, Edwin Diaz, Evan Scribner and Dan Altavilla. The other 11 players were added in the offseason.

2. Opening Day newbies

While the Mariners have a solid veteran core, eight players made their first Opening Day roster, including starting right fielder Mitch Haniger. The other first-timers are Taylor Motter, James Pazos, Dillon Overton, Miranda, Heredia, Diaz and Altavilla.

3. The King’s reign continues

When Hernandez takes the mound, he’ll be making his ninth consecutive Opening Day start, the longest active streak in the Majors. Next closest is Clayton Kershaw, who will pitch his seventh straight opener for the Dodgers. No one else has more than four in a row, and both of those are having their streaks snapped, as Adam Wainwright will pitch the second game of the season for the Cardinals this year and David Price is opening the year on the disabled list with a strained elbow in Boston. King Felix has not only pitched a lot of openers, he has been extremely good. In nine Opening Day starts — he also started Opening Day in 2007 before beginning his current streak in ’09 — Hernandez is 6-1 with a 1.49 ERA. The lone loss came last year at Texas despite allowing just one hit.

4. Don’t feel left out

When Jarrod Dyson starts Monday’s game, he’ll become the eighth different Opening Day left fielder in the past 10 years for Seattle. The revolving door has seen Raul Ibanez (2008), Endy Chavez (’09), Milton Bradley (’10-11), Mike Carp (’12), Michael Morse (’13), Dustin Ackley (’14-15) and Norichika Aoki (’16) precede Dyson.

5. They open well

Thanks in large part to Hernandez’s mound mastery, the Mariners have the fourth-best Opening Day record of any franchise in the Majors since their inception in 1977. Seattle is 24-16 in season openers, trailing only the Mets (29-11), Orioles (26-14) and White Sox (25-15) in that span. Seattle had won nine straight until last year’s 3-2 loss to Texas, which left the Mariners one shy of the MLB record of 10 straight by the Boston Beaneaters from 1887-96. Of course, Hernandez started eight of those previous nine openers, with Erik Bedard starting the only other game in 2008 in a 5-2 win over the Rangers. Seattle has not allowed more than three runs in any of its past 10 openers. This will be the first time they’ve opened against the Astros, but the eighth time in the past nine years they’ve debuted on the road.”

My Opening Day post wouldn’t be complete with the song “Centerfield” by John Fogerty. I also added some of the best Mariners-related commercials, just for the hell of it! Whomever you’re rooting for, I hope that your first day of regular-season Major-league baseball is awesome – unless, of course, you’re rooting for the Astros…then, no hard feelings, either way. It’s just a game, after all! Game-time is at 1700 PDT; you’ll have to check your own local listings for your respective team(s). With that…PLAY BALL!!!

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Sunday Screen-Shots: 2 April 2017

I just wanted to share a few more silly screen-shots during the last few days of the Jester’s Festival! With the double XP bonus being offered, I’ve been grinding some lowbies to veteran / champion level, and getting titles for toons that have been “moth-balled” and are glorified mules at the momet. The repetition is quite boring, I have to admit – but, it must be done! Only other, REAL gamers will understand that semi-obsessive need for titles and achievement points, LOL

I figured that I’d post my NaNoWriMo excerpt tomorrow, as well as do a special sports edition – so, enjoy the scenery and a bit of music!

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