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Category Archives: holidays

Memorial Day Reflection

I struggled a little with what to post yesterday. Last Memorial Day, I shared the story of my friend, Lex, who was killed in the Marine Barracks’ bombing in Lebanon in 1983. I was heavy of heart thinking of my friend and how he was frozen in time in my mind as that bright, blue-eyed 18 year old, just as he was when I saw him last. My mind couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that it had been 25 years since that sickening time.

However, this year, I felt different. Rather than sadness and regret, the feeling that I can best describe is peacefulness and optimism. Perhaps I’m at a different place in my own life at this time, but I think I truly understand the importance of Memorial Day being a celebration and not a recurring funeral.

You see, Memorial Day honors those who gave their lives to fight for our (and other’s) freedoms so that we can enjoy our lives without intimidation and persecution. Perhaps the highest honor that we can pay these fallen soldiers is to make the most of our lives. Live up to our potential. Be great sons & daughters, parents, friends and people. Making the most of our lives and helping others when we can, in their honor, seems the most fitting homage. Doing what they are not here to do…never forgetting them, but getting on with living life, the way they would if given the chance.

So, this day after Memorial Day, I thank God for my blessings. Family, love, good friends, work I enjoy AND pays the bills, wonderous beauty outside my door and the constant hope in a brighter day.

Because as they all knew, life is beautiful.

Life is Beautiful – Keb ‘Mo

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2008 in holidays, that's life

 

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

St. Patrick’s Day blessings opun ya.

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Me own wee laddie bids you a fine day (just don’t tell him I put this picture up).

While I am predominantly French, my great-grandmother was Irish and I suspect, the origin of my green eyes and fiery temper. Mr D. and I’s favorite movie is The Quiet Man, with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. If you have never seen it or haven’t seen it in a while, I invite you to treat yourself this year for St. Paddy’s Day.

Among other Irish contributions like Guiness and Yeats, there is music….of course. Here are some favorites:

Celtic New Year, Van “The Man” Morrison

One, U2

Love Hurts, Elvis Costello (with Emmylou Harris)

Bullfrog Blues, Rory Gallagher

The Irish Rover, The Pogues & The Dubliners

The Green & Red of Mayo, The Sawdoctors

Perhaps my favorite song about an Irish subject, is from the wonderful (yet under-utilized) Jonny Lang and Irish Angel.

This is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard and Jonny’s passion and emotion is palpable. The way it’s supposed to be….

Lastly, the day would be incomplete without a little Johnny Boy. Luckily, he just happens to have a song to fit the bill:

St. Patrick’s Day, John Mayer

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Posted by on March 17, 2008 in Good Stuff, holidays

 

Colette’s Corner: Sweet, Comic Valentine

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From the Music Maven, here is one of my favorite Valentine songs:

My Funny Valentine, Frank Sinatra

More importantly, Colette weighs in after a long absence with a special Valentine treat. Take it away, Colette….

Sweet Hearts & Hot Kisses

Happy V-Day! Valentine’s Day is all about love, love, love — and so is popular music. But love is a happy and sad experience, kisses are sweet and bittersweet, hearts are aglow and broken. So here’s a yummy sampler box of Valentine’s musical treats — think of it as Godiva’s chocolate for the ears, and the soul.

Starting out sweet, with a big smooch from Satchmo:

A Kiss to Build a Dream on — Louis Armstrong

And enjoying those giddy memories of kisses that swept you off your feet, from Mary Chapin Carpenter (singing a song by the great Lucinda Williams):

Passionate Kisses — Mary Chapin Carpenter

Sometimes, a big delightful, big ol’ paper valentine comes your way, like this one from marvelous Marvin:

Take this Heart of Mine — Marvin Gaye

But not all love is requited, as we well know. And if anyone can get the agony of that across, it’s the divine “Love Man,” Otis R:

“Pain in My Heart” — Otis Redding

Sometimes love is a prison, and you’re desperate for a jail break, as Joe Cocker can tell you (in this Ray Charles tune):

Unchain My heart — Joe Cocker

Sometimes love is a search, with no end in sight, as Neil Young knows:

Heart of Gold — Neil Young

But as Cesaria Evora, the great Cape Verde singer makes abundantly clear in this sweet-and-sour rendition of “Besame Mucho” (“Kiss Me a Lot”) once you find that great love, revel in those smooches:

Besame Mucho – Cesaria Evora

And sometimes, when times get really tough, heart and soul are all you need to get by:

Heart and Soul — Taylor Hicks

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2008 in colette's corner, frank sinatra, holidays

 

Hey Y’all, It’s Mardi Gras in Mobile!

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Photo by Lyle W. Ratliff / Special

Fat Tuesday.  Day of Debauchery. 

Many do not know that Mobile, Alabama is the birthplace of Mardi Gras.  Some reports indicate that the first Mardi Gras was celebrated in 1709, when French colonists got together for the Masque de la Mobile.  Over time, the Cowbellian Society was born and in 1856, several members had moved to New Orleans where they established the Krewe of Comus — New Orleans’ oldest Krewe.

Click here for a very amusing song about the legendary rivalry among Mobile and New Orleans concerning Mardi Gras.  I didn’t realize until I moved here, how big Mobile’s Mardi Gras actually is.  There are subtle differences among the two, with the biggest being Moon Pies as throws.   Since 1956, Moon Pies have been the throw of choice.  A Southern delicacy, second only to GooGoo Clusters,  Moon Pies are now synonymous with Mobile’s Mardi Gras.

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Here’s a little snippet of my favorite parade, the Mystics of Time (MOTs) and their trademark dragon – VernaDean.

If, like me, you have to work on Mardi Gras Day, you can always click here for live Mardi Gras cam get a flavor of the feeling.  So for those lucky enough to be off today, Laissez le bon temps rouler! 

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2008 in holidays

 

Black-Eyed Peas and Cabbage

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Luck and Prosperity

In the South, it is tradition to eat black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day to ensure luck and prosperity in the coming year. The black-eyed peas are for good luck, while the cabbage is for money, a/k/a prosperity.

Personally, I prefer to serve Hoppin’ John and Souped Up Stewed Cabbage. For you Yankees, Hoppin’ John is black-eyed peas with ham or fatback seasoned with Cajun seasonings, onion and bell pepper. It’s generally served over white rice. The cabbage is my own concoction of “fried” cabbage, potato soup and a little Parmesan cheese.

Good stuff….for a good year.

And, for your musical pleasure:

Where is the Love?, The Black-Eyed Peas

Boil Them Cabbage Down, The Darlins

Is that Gilligan?

HAVE A GREAT OH-EIGHT!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2008 in holidays

 

Christmas Carol Kun-NECK-shun, Part Deux

The last kun-NECK-shun ended with Barenaked Ladies and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

kun-NECK-shun: The Barenaked Ladies released a single in 1998 called Brian Wilson, about a guy whose life parallels the life of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. The Beach Boys released a Christmas album in 1964 with an original first track, entitled Little Saint Nick, done in typical Beach Boy style:

Little St. Nick

kun-NECK-shun: The Beach Boys covered one of my favorite Stevie Wonder hits, I Was Made to Love You, on their Wild Honey album in 1967. The same year, Stevie introduced a Christmas song of his own, What Christmas Means to Me. I absolutely LOVE this song. It is one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs and gets me movin’ and groovin’.

What Christmas Means to Me

kun-NECK-shun: The incomparable Stevie Wonder wrote and produced Til You Come Back to Me for the divine Aretha Franklin. Aretha was a very good friend of Billy Preston of Get Back fame. Here is Ree Ree doing one of the loveliest Christmas ballads ever, O Holy Night, accompanied by Mr. Billy Preston:

Link to Youtube —->            O Holy Night

kun-NECK-shun: Aretha’s legendary Live at the Fillmore West album from her San Fransico concert in 1971 included a spirited appearance by Ray Charles who sang a reprise of Spirit in the Dark with The Queen of Soul. One of Ray’s best Christmas songs is Baby, It’s Cold Outside with Betty Carter:

Baby, It’s Cold Outside (with Betty Carter)

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2007 in christmas, holidays, kun-neck-shuns

 

Christmas Carol Kun-NECK-shun

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..hope you like the Christmas decorations.To appropriately ring in the Christmas season, I’m starting a new feature. Every couple of days, I’m going to feature Christmas Carols with their associated kun-NECK-shuns. I hope you enjoy it and the season.

Here is Sir Paul McCartney to kick us off…

Wonderful Christmas Time

Released in 1979, Wonderful Christmas Time, was offered as a bonus track on Wings’ Back to the Egg album. The “B-side” of this single is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae. Shortly after this release, McCartney was arrested in Tokyo for traveling with a 1/2 lb. of marijuana and spent 10 days in jail.

kun-NECK-shun: Of course, Paul was one of The Beatles and the writing partner of John Lennon. Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote Happy Christmas in October of 1971 and although it was released for Christmas in 1971, it didn’t receive any significant attention until it was re-released in December, 1980, shortly after John Lennon was killed.

Happy Christmas (The War is Over)

kun-NECK-shun: The Beatles’ created and performed on the Apple label. They also signed, recorded and produced other artists. Among the artists that were part of the Apple label in 1969 was one, James Taylor.

JT does a wonderful rendition of Go Tell it on the Mountain, an old African-American Spiritual from 1865.

Go Tell it on the Mountain

kun-NECK-shun: James Taylor is a close friend of Joni Mitchell, who wrote River — beautifully covered by Sara McLachlan.

River

Originally included on Mitchell’s watershed album, Blue, River evoked memories of Joni’s Canadian winters as she reflected upon them from her sunny California home. Bonus kun-NECK-shun: Stephen Stills and James Taylor performed on the Blue album.

kun-NECK-shun: Sara McLachlan recorded the traditional God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with Barenaked Ladies.

More to come……….

 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 2, 2007 in christmas, holidays, kun-neck-shuns