Thursday, March 26, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I couldn't help but post this poem, what with the NPR reference, the quotable platitude, the blue sky, and the Zen Buddhist themes.
It's spring. Driving home on tree-lined Route 18 yesterday, the grey limbs of all the trees had their nails painted with red buds. If I was an amnesiac, I wouldn't believe green leaves would come of it. Thus the miracle of life reveals itself yet again. In a cosmic echo, I was on my way to get my own manicure, a rare play date for my hands. Because, why not? This life, despite what we sometimes make of it, it ain't too bad, is it?
Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton, 'We are All Writing God's Poem'
by Barbara Crooker
Today, the sky's the soft blue of a work shirt washed
a thousand times. The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step. On the interstate listening
to NPR, I heard a Hubble scientist
say, "The universe is not only stranger than we
think, it's stranger than we can think." I think
I've driven into spring, as the woods revive
with a loud shout, redbud trees, their gaudy
scarves flung over bark's bare limbs. Barely doing
sixty, I pass a tractor trailer called Glory Bound,
and aren't we just? Just yesterday,
I read Li Po: "There is no end of things
in the heart," but it seems like things
are always ending—vacation or childhood,
relationships, stores going out of business,
like the one that sold jeans that really fit—
And where do we fit in? How can we get up
in the morning, knowing what we do? But we do,
put one foot after the other, open the window,
make coffee, watch the steam curl up
and disappear. At night, the scent of phlox curls
in the open window, while the sky turns red violet,
lavender, thistle, a box of spilled crayons.
The moon spills its milk on the black tabletop
for the thousandth time.
- from Line Dance. By way of The Writers Almanac.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Today we are lucky enough have a first hand account of the March 7th So Watt show from my sister-in-law, who also happens to be the wife of the frontman (and the mom of the angelic blond with head turned). She was kind enough to chronicle the night for us, and give us a window into the human element of the band. As they turn into rock stars before our eyes, we are aware that they are still fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, and extremely talented professionals in other fields. As Walt Whitman would say, they contain multitudes, and I think that's what really blows the crowd away. These guys, who we know from other departments of our lives, are up there, sounding really great, entertaining us, making us smile, and leaving us wondering where on earth they find the time, courage, and commitment to take on such an endeavor.
Thanks, sis, for your report and commentary! You are 100% Grade A Top-Quality.
. . .
First Night in Asbury Park, the first Saturday of March. March 7th proved a great evening to toast a nice change in weather, friends, family, friendly faces and good music: an evening after a glorious spring-is-on-the-horizon type of day. It was good to be out and about.
“YES, He IS amazing and awesome.” “YES, I know.” “YES, I do feel lucky.” These are just a few of the in-the-moment responses I had for people in the crowd at Brickwall Saturday night. Mostly, they were answers to “Do you get how awesome he (Jason or Jim) is? I mean, (he) is so multi-talented.” “You are so lucky to hear them play whenever you want. Do you understand what great guy(s) you have?”
YES, I TOTALLY GET how extraordinary these two men are! I still get the goosebumps hearing them play out: together, as brothers, as bandmates, as receivers of some top-quality genes. I’m proud. Yes, that’s maybe how I should have responded, but something about the night and the authentic questions just made me smile, that’s the best I did in the moment. I think that about sums up my inner emotions and the adrenaline of the night: an energetic smile. Hope that answered people’s questions well enough.
Many are saying the third set was the best Saturday night. Hmmm… I would like to nominate the first set as the winner. The impact of starting off strong, holding a beat, getting the crowd singing along, tapping their legs and be-bopping in their seats at 9:30pm was a sure indicator that the crowd would still be there and wanting more even up until the last song ended at approximately 12:32! Apparently there are codes or rules that the restaurant/bar must obey. If there was ever a time to break the rules, it would’ve been Saturday night; however, the band, with its integrity intact, stopped and thanked the Brickwall, the patrons, and Asbury Park in general.
Well, readers who attended and those that did not, hope to see you Thursday, April 2… another performance at the Brickwall by the multi-talented, amazing, cool, awesome So Watt band, including Jim Goodman (on bass), John Hakem (on guitar), guest singers and the infamous Watt duo!
And YES, I will be proud once again to call my husband and brother-in-law rock stars. They have a creative outlet that could possibly be their careers, if they ever so chose. I’m just saying: that’s really how I get it, and how I understand how they are.
Feel free to ask me that night, though, how I feel! I like being part of the band, even if by default: the member that fields the questions in the crowd confirming the inner-ness of the Watt brothers. (Find out more about your inner-ness from the movie "You, Me and Dupree" or from Steve Jobs’s speech to Stanford Class of 2005.) If not, just know that the Watt brothers follow their passions. They don’t bother talking about their dreams: they act upon them!
Thanks, loved the music!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
- Who knew, Pink (Brit)
- Brass in pocket, Pretenders (Brit)
- Ring of fire, Cash (Bobby)
- Folsom Prison blues, Cash (Bobby)
- Walkin in Memphis (Bobby)
- Hit me with your best shot, Pat Benatar (Brit)
- Goodlovin, Rascals (Merideth)
- I want candy, Bow wow wow (Brit)
- American Girl, Tom Petty (J)
- Play that funky music, Wild Cherry (Bobby)
- Rappers Delight, Sugar Hill Gang (Bobby)
- Me and Julio, Paul Simon (J)
- Late in the evening, Paul Simon (J)
- No woman no cry, Bob Marley (J)
- Crazy little thing called love, Queen (Bobby)
- Sweet home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd (J)
- Glycerine, Bush (J)
- Eight days a week, Beatles (Merideth)
- From the beginning, (J)
- Heartbreakers, (J)
- Tangled up in Blue, (J)
- Crazy about daisies, (J)
- World, (J)
- Woke up, (J)
- Out of my mind, (J)
- All along the watchtower, Hendrix (J)
- My love open the door, Pete Townsend (J)
- Jailhouse rock, Elvis (Bobby)
- Your love, The Outfield (Bobby)
- Cover Me, Springsteen (J)
- You shook me all night long, ACDC (Bobby)
- What’s so fun about peace…, Elvis Costello (M)
- Heartbreaker, Pat Benatar (Michelle)
- Love is a battlefield, Pat Benatar (Michelle)
- Message of Love (Michelle)
- Night in my veins (Michelle)
- Pink stone (J)
- Hurricane (J)
- One in a million (J)
- Sympathy for the devil (J)
Monday, March 2, 2009
I'm excited to introduce you to my second ever guest blogger, my mother! If you're a frequent reader of Seven Presidents, her reputation precedes her. So you know when she says she feels intimidated, she's one of those kids you went to school with who always said they were going to fail the test and then got the best grade in the class. But I will say this: many guest blogger invitations have been given, only 2 have been accepted. Mom really anted up with her multi-media post -- be sure not to miss the link to the fabulous video at the very end. Hopefully this will be the first of many "Dispatches from the corner of Roosevelt" to come!
. . .
The blog master thought it might be fun to hear first-hand about the wonders of Maine in February. I thought it would be fun to fill in for my daughter and healthy to get over feeling too intimidated to sub for such a keen observer and good writer.
But to the subject at hand: Maine in February. I was in Orono last week visiting my brother and sister-in-law. Orono is near Bangor, about 3 hours mostly due north of the New Hampshire border. It’s home to UMaine’s flagship campus. It’s where the North Woods begin. When we arrived, 30 inches or more of snow covered the ground. While we were there, 20 more fell. The icicles hanging from the roof were a yard long, and the ice piled on the roof above them was a foot high.
We were there by choice. And we don’t ski, snow-mobile, ice-fish, or moose hunt.
So what’s the appeal? Maine’s PR slogan used to be “The way life should be.” (They have changed to something like “Worth a vacation. Worth a lifetime.” Unfortunate move.) The old one sums it up for me. To those heading south in February, I guess the way life should be is “warm and sunny.” I’m a sucker for “brisk, beautiful, and real.”
Someone told me (I think it was on a visit to Maine during black-fly season) that he loved Maine because the severity of the conditions was a self-sorting filter that kept the faint-hearted away.
There’s something authentic about the place. Something noble about the stoicism and practicality with which people take on the conditions. Something reassuring about the value Mainers put on--not what they own--but where they’re from. Look around. That forest primeval--the murmuring pines laden in snow. Silent beyond a Jersey girl’s imaging. Night skies better than the planetarium. Majestic. Real. I can’t help it. I love it.
On this trip, there was the ice sculpting contest along the banks of the Penobscot . The chowder cook-off at the Muddy Rudder. The lobster rolls at the biker bar. And best of all, the ride through the pristine snow, over the covered bridge. along the old mill stream, on the horse-drawn sleigh.
I love antiquing in Maine. Sifting through the old toys, kitchen stuff, and furniture is a stroll down memory lane. (Did I mention I grew up in New England?) This sleigh ride touched memories of things heard of but never experienced: “Dashing through the snow...Bells on bob-tail ring.” These massive horses (picture the Budweiser SuperBowl commercials) were work animals. Not Clydesdales, but Belgians. For a few Sundays a year, they pull visitors through the woods, but the rest of the time, they work in the woods, pulling felled trees out of the forest. Our sleigh driver was their owner. A true Mainer who spent the 3 or 4 miles we rode telling loving tales of the personalities of his horses--including those pulling us through the snow. He described one mare, who had had enough of showing off for the visitors during a summer stint at this same old village park and just made her way back to the barn and stayed put. “Horse of a habit,” he called her with admiration and acceptance.
Admiration and acceptance. That about sums it up.
Click Here for a wonderful short video of the sleigh ride.