Category Archives: navel gazing

Waiting on an Angel…

Patience…it IS a virtue.

Ben Harper. An angel.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 27, 2011 in navel gazing


The Holstee Manifesto — This is YOUR Life

A few days ago, this photo came up on one of my old childhood friend’s Facebook (Thanks, Eddie!). Soon, I saw it re-posted on several other friends’ walls, as well. So, I guess you could say that this is the first stage of this thing going “viral” and here’s my contribution.

The beauty of this is that it is spot on. No matter if you’re Democrat or Republican; Black, White, or Hispanic; Catholic, Jew, Protestant or Muslim; it applies to YOU. I’ve wrestled over the last year with fear, despair, separation, and other paralyzing emotions that have stifled my life progress. I’ve done some great work in that year, but haven’t done some great life.

So, I’m going to take this manifesto, created by guys who truly wanted to live it, and try to live by it. Maybe you can find a little of what you’ve been looking for in it too. If so, pay it forward and share with your circle of friends and contacts.

For more information on the Holstee Manifesto, click here.

P.S. Anyone notice two posts in two days?


Posted by on August 6, 2011 in inspiration, navel gazing, that's life


I’m Alive

Orange Beach, AL

Orange Beach, AL

Lovin’ this Kenny Chesney/Dave Matthews collaboration, lately.

  I’m Alive, Kenny Chesney with Dave Matthews

I’m pretty much in the “order” camp and don’t believe in consequences, so I think that certain things are put in our path to show us the way, teach us lessons, wake us up, whatever.  This song seems to be one of those needed entities, coming along at just the right moment to comfort, heal, encourage appreciation.  It speaks to me for several reasons.

First, the lyrics.  While I absolutely adore the melody of this song, I’m a lyrics maven.  For me, the power of the words are what really defines a song, and these particularly speak to me:

So damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me I’d like to thank my lucky stars that
I’m alive, and well

It’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me, I’m alive

And today you know that’s good enough for me
Breathin’ in and out’s a blessin’ can’t you see
Today’s the first day of the rest of my life
And I’m alive, and well
I’m alive, and well

Stars are dancin’ on the water here tonight
It’s good for the soul, when there’s not a soul in sight
But this boat has caught its wind and brought me back to life
Now I’m alive, and well

And today you know that’s good enough for me
Breathin’ in and out’s a blessing can’t you see
Today is the first day of the rest of my life
Now I’m alive, and well
Yeah I’m alive, and well

I’m a bit sympatico with Kenny Chesney due to his love of water, beach and life, in general, and most of his songs absolutely resonate with “everyday” people on everyday issues and concerns.  We visit the beach fairly regularly and recently spent the Labor Day weekend there.  Every time I go to the beach, it presents an opportunity to unwind, relax, and contemplate.  (And I am a World Champion Contemplater.)  This is a perfect song for that.

Second, it makes me feel good/better and makes me thankful for this day and for things to come.  It reflects on the fact that LIFE IS HARD.  And, it is…but as my BIL says, “God is good”.  While we all have trials and tribulations, we all have great triumphs and joys and really, isn’t that what makes it worth getting out of bed every day?  So, while I’m caught up in the tornado of life with Senior year, college choices, house selling, house building, aging parents, job worries, etc., etc., it illuminates the fact that HEY!  I’M ALIVE.

Lastly, this song shows that country isn’t all twang based (yes, Shrew I’m looking at you).  This is a song that Dave Matthews’ fans can accept and relate to — hell, even love.  Kenny truly is more crossover than most Country artists and songs like this one really show his broad influences.  I think when you boil it all down, a good song is a good song.  As when Ray Charles did Country, it brings a new credibility to the once twang-laden genre.  It’s all about the emotion…the kun-NECK-shun.

So, take Kenny’s song to heart today.  While you trudge through whatever hell you suppose you have, remember….YOU’RE ALIVE!


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Crisis of Inspiration


Dry as a bone.  Uninspired.  Writer’s block.

When I started this blog, thoughts were flooding through my brain and screaming to escape into some kind of creative expression.  I had lists and lists of musical ideas and exploration that I felt compelled to share.  I posted nearly every day with an excitement and desire that was exhilerating.  To add to the thrill, my confidence soared when it seemed that people were genuinely interested in what I had to say.  I marveled each day at the dialogue generated from the comments and checked email with heightened anticipation to see what new commenter had found my little piece of reflections on life and music.  I reveled in the comments of “regulars” and the camraderie of community and acceptance.

Over the past two years, I’ve watched this blog change and evolve.  While music is still a burning passion for me, there are other topics that I find more compelling at this point of my life.  Perhaps it’s the added pressures of proving myself at work so that I don’t lose my job to this horrendous economy, along with the consternation over finding the right college for my teenage son, and finding and buying the perfect “spot” on the water to build our dream home, and trying to keep up with the day to day responsibilities of that little thing called life, that has caused my mind to lack the focus to come up with new and exciting ideas to post about.  I don’t know.

Maybe it’s because I feel that this blog should somehow be tied to music and right now, there’s nothing new on the music front that’s inspiring me to rise above the day to day and produce interesting reading.  I honestly don’t know. 

I also don’t know, at this point, that even if I work through this apparent “blogger’s block” and find new and compelling topics to write about, if people are even interested.  I get alot of hits to various posts, with most coming from Google images, where I find many of the pictures I use, so people come, but do they even read?

For example, the top post with the most hits ever on this blog is Abba vs. Journey.  Nearly 12,000 hits on this post since it was written (over 100 each day, still), yet only 25 comments.  Do that many people actually CARE about Abba?  And, if so, are they not actually reading the post?

But I digress…

I guess what I’m saying is that things change.  Some blogs thrive and some limp along, while others die a slow death.  I’m simply not sure what category Music Maven falls into right now and if I have the time and energy to continue.

The only song that I can muster up that captures some of what I’m feeling….

  Landslide, Stevie Nicks & Lindsay Buckingham


Posted by on January 11, 2009 in inspiration, music maven, navel gazing


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Big Ole Jet Airliner, Don’t Carry Me Too Far Away

Sorry that I have been mindfully absent for a few days.  Over the last three weeks, I have been on an airplane more than on the ground, it seems.  Busy time of year in my business, but it’s all good.

Flying presents lots of contemplation time and while there’s a certain thrill of flying to far away cities to important meetings, that feeling generally fades about 10 minutes into my flight.  Then, I’m counting the hours until I’m home again.  The bustle of airports, rental cars, taxis and hotels wears on me much more now than when I was in my 20s and 30s.  My trusty iPod generally keeps me occupied and I usually have ample work to make the time pass more quickly, but each time I leave, I can’t wait to come home to my comfortable surroundings.  Yes, I am old.

However, I still am in awe of the wonderousness of being able to fly in the sky like an eagle.  God’s wonderous creation of sky and earth never ceases to amaze me and the views are just so cool.  Like the puffiness of the clouds on my way to Memphis right after Hurricane Gustav…

Or, the magnificent hues of blue that greeted me over Atlanta….

Or the most gorgeous sunset over Alabama on the final leg of my flight home from New York City, reassuring me that all was right with the world and God is in His heaven…

As the sun was setting, my naval gazing grew deep and I was reminded of the old sailor’s axiom,

Red sky by morning, sailor take warning….red sky by night, sailor’s delight.

There’s just something about being so high in the clouds that makes me so appreciative of the fact that I am so drawn home and “grounded”.

So, here’s a little tribute to those big ole jet airliners that take me back “where I belong”.

First, the late, great Paul Pena’s Jet Airliner.  Steve Miller made it popular, but it was the brillance of Paul Pena that captured feelings about flying to and fro.  The lyrics are pretty much perfect…

Leavin’ home, out on the road
I’ve been down before
Ridin’ along in this big ol’ jet plane
I’ve been thinkin’ about my home
But my love light seems so far away
And I feel like it’s all been done
Somebody’s tryin’ to make me stay
You know I’ve got to be movin’ on

Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay

Goodbye to all my friends at home
Goodbye to people I’ve trusted
I’ve got to go out and make my way
I might get rich you know I might get busted
But my heart keeps calling me backwards
As I get on the 707
Ridin’ high I got tears in my eyes
You know you got to go through hell
Before you get to heaven

Big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay

Touchin’ down in New England town
Feel the heat comin’ down
I’ve got to keep on keepin’ on
You know the big wheel keeps on spinnin’ around
And I’m goin’ with some hesitation
You know that I can surely see
That I don’t want to get caught up in any of that
Funky shit goin’ down in the city

Big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay

Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

Big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay

Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Carry me to my home
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s there that I belong

Paul changes up the lyrics a bit in this version done on the Conan O’Brien show shortly before his death…

  Jet Airliner, Paul Pena

While no other “airplane” song quite captures the essence of business flying, for me, here are a few other “flying” songs…

  Come Fly With Me, Frank Sinatra

….gotta love that “exotic booze in old Bombay”.  Here’s a lovely new twist on the old classic of Leaving on a Jet Plane…

  Leaving on a Jet Plane, Jewel

Of course, I have to include James Taylor’s perennial hit, Fire and Rain

  Fire and Rain, James Taylor

And, one of my favorite Tom Petty songs is Learning to Fly (even though it’s really not about airplane flying)…

  Learning to Fly, Tom Petty




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The Fool on the Hill

Artist(s): The Beatles

Released Date: November, 1967

Album: Magical Mystery Tour

Songwriters: Lennon/McCartney

Length: 3:00

Background: McCartney as stated that he wrote this with the Mahareshi Yogi in mind. The hill that Paul is standing on overlooks Nice, France.

Day after day alone on the hill
The man with the foolish grin
is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
And he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Well on the way, his head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices
is talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
Or the sound he appears to make
And he never seems to notice

But the fool on the hill
sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Oh, round, round, round, round, round
And nobody seems to like him
they can tell what he wants to do
And he never shows his feelings

But the fool on the hill
sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Oh, round, round, round, round, round
And he never listen to them
He knows that they’re the fools
But they don’t like him

The fool on the hill
sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Oh, round, round, round, round, round


Feelin’ Jimmy

It’s almost here. Mini-DD’s final exams are nearing completion and tomorrow will mark the official start of summer in our house. It all has me feeling a little Jimmy.

Living on the Gulf Coast, Jimmy Buffett music captures most of the emotions of this “summertime” area. Now, people can dismiss Jimmy as superficial, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Many of his songs have significant meaning and certainly kun-NECK with the listener.

Like the wonderful Pirate Looks at Forty. (with a special message for JenW)

This song captures the feeling of many of us who have to live within an hour of water. For me, I HAVE to spend at least a week each year on the shore, just sitting and staring out into the waves and water contemplating my navel and re-grouping and re-charging to face the challenges of everyday life for another extended period. Pirate Looks at Forty is one of those songs that I play while sitting there at sunset, having a glass of wine and totally relating to the song.

Another Jimmy song that became a favorite in recent years is Trip Around the Sun, done with Country artist Martina McBride.

Again, more navel gazing lyrics but music is very reflective for me and this song conveys the emotions around getting older and the years passing and getting to a certain level of acceptance with that process. Besides, I like the melody.

In Changes in Latitudes, Jimmy gives us more reflection wrapped in a bit of humor. Perhaps part of the reason his music kun-NECKs, is because it’s honest, and it’s him. Jimmy Buffett is always playing for a few hundred (or hundred thousand) friends. Friends who know every word of every song.

I’m looking forward to our annual beach trek in a few weeks. A week chock full of beautiful sunsets, fruity drinks, navel gazing and a little FloraBama.