Saturday, April 19, 2014

Going Back Four Years

Today was not one of the great days in the lightning household. Mrs. lightning has been sick and our family dog, Ginger, was unable to walk. Ginger suffers from Canine Cushing's disease and has pain in her hind legs. Getting her to the vet's office was quite a trick since she is no little dog. Not to mention that the trip to the vet was like losing a buy-in ... cha-ching!

In the evening my son and his girlfriend fixed us dinner. Somehow the conversation got around to my son's bout with cancer, which happened fours ago. In fact, four years ago today he had his initial doctor visit at the Mayo Clinic, only to be operated on the next day. What a terrible and scary time that was.

But ... that was then and this is now. Life is good. Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Make Me Smile

I recently responded to a post made by fellow blogger ~Coach entitled "I Have So Much to Say." I posted the lyrics of a song by the group Chicago -- "So Much to Say, So Much to Give." What significance does this song have? It is part of one of the best rock compositions of all time.

Chicago trombone player Jimmy Pankow is the man who wrote the song, one of seven songs of his suite "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon," which appeared on Chicago's second album, Chicago II. The suite was inspired by a girl in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Yes -- the spelling of the song title is funky.

A little side note: Jimmy Pankow attended (for one year) the same college I attended as an undergrad. In taking a Music Appreciation class for my fine arts general education requirement, I was interested to hear one of the music professor's take on Pankow. "Jimmy wasn't the greatest trombone player in the world. I told him that his strength is in composition," related music instructor and demi-god Charles Winking. I don't know about the trombone assessment, but Pankow's strength certainly is composition.

The suite is anchored by the hit Make Me Smile and includes the tender song Colour My World, which served as a prom theme in high schools throughout the United States.

The following clip of Chicago is from 1970. It is difficult for me to imagine a better combination of composition and musicianship. Chicago was never the same after the death of soulful singer and guitar player Terry Kath.

Amazingly, the group Chicago still performs today, with keyboard player Robert Lamm and the entire original brass section (Lee Loughnane, Walt Parazaider and Jimmy Pankow) still intact. They played a FREE concert in Bloomington, Illinois earlier this year for those affected by central Illinois tornadoes. Yes, I went to the concert, and yes -- they made me and others smile!


Saturday, April 05, 2014

"It Was Twenty Years Ago Today:" - Kurt Cobain

The words "musical genius" are often thrown around cavalierly. They certainly applied to Kurt Cobain, who took his own life twenty years ago today. Some people are just not meant for this world.