The Strangest Dream #2

Last night I had a dream about a sport that was a combination of hockey, soccer, football, and golf…

I was at the Stanley Cup playoff game between the New York Rangers vs. the Montreal Canadiens. Except, the game wasn’t hockey- it was golf, and they were playing it team-based in a similar manner to soccer and it was on a football field. Jaromir Jagr was playing for the Rangers and had the ball in his possession. He was 15-20 feet away from the hole and was laying up a long put. I was watching from the sidelines, until I decided to get myself in the game and ran onto the field and swatted the ball (that was flying in the air) away from going straight into the hole. I had caught the ball and then not knowing what to do with the ball and a stampede of players heading toward me, I gently rolled the golf ball to the ground. The ball got swept up in a tirade of both teams and never made it into the hole.

Jagr was furious that my play of swatting the ball not only disturbed his otherwise clear shot, but that I also was apparently not allowed to do what I had done: just roll the ball back down to the ground. Jagr called for a replay or a penalty to me, but the referees dismissed it all and let the game continue. I felt really bad for the way I had played the game without knowing what to do, so I asked Jagr to please show me what I should have done. Jagr told me that if I took the ball in the air like I had done, then instead of dropping it back to the ground, I was supposed to take the ball off the football field at the closest yard line, and then while out-of-bounds, toss it back in, like which is done in the game of soccer. 

I was relieved that I finally knew how to play the game properly, but Jagr was still fuming at me for ruining his game-play. He was yelling at me and I growled back to him that because of his poor sportsmanship, I was no longer a Rangers fan and that the Canadiens just gained a new fan in this match-up. 


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Ramsay Midwood Plays Hill Country, DC

Last Tuesday Arlington-raised-turned-Texas-based musician Ramsay Midwood played a rousing evening of good ol’ garage-style country-rock in the basement at Hill Country. I got the tip from my good pal Bryan Mammel of Sons of Fathers fame who currently plays with Midwood and his band.

It was my first time ever hearing of Midwood. I’d describe their sound as good time, wholesome rockabilly-country that you can easily dance your cares away to. The show really felt like I had stumbled upon some garage band just goofing around playing some quality jams. The band may not have a “young, new, innovative sound,” but that’s not what they’re aiming for. They work at the tried and true oldies sound. A more classic, tried and true route. The band thankfully doesn’t take themselves too seriously. The Ramsay Midwood sound was a combination of the easy folksy rhythms of Spirit Family Reunion and the country-rockin’ Leon Russel. Midwood also relied on a popular traditional anti-war, Christian gospel underlying song structure.

The band breaks down to:

Ramsay Midwood: He had an almost Jimmy Buffet-like relaxed voice and demeanor for being the lead guitarist/vocalist. At other times he had a catchy, monotonous sound much like Jim Morrison.

Bryan Mammel: Bright key playing adds to an otherwise traditional “generic 4-piece band sound.” Bryan truly tickles the ivories on the tune, “When God Dips His Love In My Heart” and at other times, he plays like Jerry Lee Lewis with lovely repetitive chords.

Don Heffington: a drummer (who slightly resembles Harold Ramis) who word on the street, has played with Bob Dylan, Neil Young. He carried the band in a professional manner; hanging in the back but with a reliable beat to keep the music going.

Tuesday was guitarist Bill’s birthday. Was quoted as saying he got “52 slices of bacon at Metro Diner” for his birthday. I’m hoping that diner was Metro 29 Diner because I can tell you from first-hand experience that their French Toast is pretty darn amazing. (Diners, Drive-in’s, and Dives claims so too.)

Jeff Johnston: (I have in my notes that he looked like a slightly less bearded Jerry Garcia.) On one song he spoke into a phone receiver in one song to distort his voice to sound kind of harmonica/buzzing. What an interesting and creative idea!

A definite highlight of the night was the all-too brief introduction of the singing saw. I was pretty disappointed it only made a limited appearance for just one song. I loved when the lights went out onstage for it. That added to the pure mysterious sound of the saw, though it seemed like player, Jeff Johnston was embarrassed/shy about this talent, as he was shying away from it in the entire first half. I don’t see why. It was so howly and eerie and beautiful all at once. It would be fantastic if the band could incorporate more of this unusual instrument into their music.

And the Best Lyric of the Night award goes to the line from the song, “Monster Truck”that goes: “If you don’t like it you can kiss my a**, because I drive a monster truck.”


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An Oldies Music Education

A few weeks ago, a musician friend confided in me that he didn’t know about many musicians from the 1960’s-70’s that so much of the general population knows. This shocked me, and I took it upon myself to create a list of all the bands from the late 50’s to the late 70’s, that my friend should be educated about.

My pal did clarify to me that he was fortunate enough to grow up with a few of the black groups of the late 60’s, and he “does know Simon & Garfunkel,” but with that being said, here is my list for him of musicians to know from that time period. (I hope I’m not leaving anyone out; there’s a lot to know in my opinion.)

(In no order….)

  1. Buddy Holly
  2. The Kinks
  3. Creedance Clearwater Revival
  4. The Zombies
  5. Eric Clapton
  6. ABBA
  7. Jimmy Cliff
  8. Elvis Costello
  9. Patsy Cline
  10. Janis Joplin
  11. The Guess Who
  12. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
  13. The solo careers of: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
  14. Jackson Browne
  15. Carol King
  16. Johnny Cash
  17. Elvis Presley
  18. Rolling Stones
  19. Bob Dylan
  20. The Everly Brothers
  21. Van Morrison
  22. Santana
  23. The Who
  24. The Beatles
  25. Traffic
  26. Elton John
  27. The Band
  28. The Allman Brothers
  29. Grateful Dead
  30. Queen
  31. Harry Belefonte
  32. Peter, Paul, & Mary
  33. Eric Burdon & The Animals
  34. The Mamas & The Papas
  35. David Bowie
  36. Sonny & Cher
  37. The Clash
  38. The Ramones
  39. Fleetwood Mac
  40. Jefferson Airplane
  41. Steve Miller Band
  42. Pete Seger
  43. The Eagles
  44. Blondie
  45. Lynyrd Skynyrd
  46. Bee Gees
  47. B52’s
  48. Three Dog Night
  49. Pink Floyd
  50. The Jackson 5
  51. Michael Jackson
  52. Led Zepplin
  53. Guns and Roses
  54. The Temptations
  55. The Four Tops
  56. Chuck Berry
  57. Otis Redding
  58. The Beach Boys
  59. Bob Marley
  60. Carl Perkins
  61. Jerry Lee Lewis
  62. The Doors
  63. Aretha Franklin
  64. The Isley Brothers
  65. James Brown
  66. Al Green
  67. Leon Russel
  68. Marvin Gaye
  69. The Monkees
  70. Stevie Wonder
  71. Ray Charles
  72. Sam Cooke
  73. Sly and the Family Stone
  74. Smokey Robinson (and the Miracles)
  75. Herbie Hancock



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The Strangest Dream

Last night I had a new “weirdest dream ever”. Seriously, I must be the only person to dream up such elaborate and detailed scenarios. Today I share my most recent “sleeping adventure.”

It all begun with my family who had a house-boat that was really a car on a plank. My parents had two additional very young kids that they had to take in a limo to Atlanta for a fancy competition (dancing or a Toddlers and Tiaras type thing). I was left to take care of the car-house-boat but the car wouldn’t start. It looked like there was a major storm heading towards us and we were going to be in big trouble. My brothers were of no help and couldn’t understand how to help.

Apparently I had a made-up sister and the two of us had the task to overthrow the Emperor of Venice for some important reason. We paddled our way through canals and bumped into a military man with a gun pointed right at us. I tried to steer our paddle-boat around but the current brought us right back to the man with the gun. He didn’t want us to infiltrate the system so he shot me in the back of the head! I was shocked but I didn’t die…

Then my sister decided to sleep with the soldier to let us into the system. Unexpectedly, the soldier fell madly in love with my sister. The two of them wanted to have sex in the bed I shared with my sister. I was pretty enraged that my sister was in love with the man who shot me, and I refused to let him in my bed. There was a lot of arguing and I think I woke up and the problem was never solved. The End.

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The “Real” Story Of Chanukah

Just over a month ago was the holiday of Chanukah and my good friend, Matt had a thing or two to “teach” me about this holiday’s beginnings. The following is the story of Chanukah according to a friend of mine who was so extremely tired that he didn’t know what the words coming out of his mouth were (And to note, he is not Jewish.)…

“2000 years ago when the earth was formed there was a man named Jeremy Chanukah who owned a caramel shop. (This is where Werther’s Originals got their start but they later changed their name to better suit “Middle America.”) He had a special where for eight days he had a different caramel special: sea salt, caramel apple, Kool Aide… On the eighth day he saw a shooting star that killed the dinosaurs. And the shooting star is why we have candles. And the Seder Plate has all the different types of caramels. “

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Frozen Is Lukewarm

A few weeks ago I met a little girl no older than six who exclaimed that she had seen Disney’s latest princess movie, “Frozen” in the theaters five times already and was going to see it a sixth time. For the target audience of any Disney Princess movie to see the movie so frequently, I could sense that something was special about this film. So a few days ago on the coldest day in D.C.’s history in the last 18 years, my mom and I went to check out a flick we seemed only appropriate for the frigid weather. I have a lot to discuss about “Frozen,” but unfortunately I can’t claim this movie as my new favorite like that little girl seemed to have claimed. Below are my thoughts… (spoiler alert!)

- Why didn’t the elk/reindeer character, Sven talk? Don’t like 99% of non-human characters in Disney movies talk?

- I wish Sven and Olaf’s (the horrendous talking snowman character) roles were reversed.; Olaf annoyed me. From the commercials, I could tell that this snowman would be a mistake of a character and sadly, I was all too correct.

- My mom cleverly pointed out an analogy to Wizard of Oz: Sven is the Cowardly Lion (furry, cuddly); Olaf is the Scarecrow (always falling apart); Kristoff is like the Tin Man (looking for heart, woodsman); and Elsa is like the wizard (sorcery, loneliness).

- The movie’s moral is kind of about bad parenting: the parents shouldn’t have told their daughter to suppress herself rather than explore her powers. This is like the notion of taking “shut up” too far.

- My biggest problem was that I found that the music was not very memorable. Compared to success of the soundtrack from “The Princess and the Frog” where the music reflects setting of both the time period and the location, “Frozen” could have had a Nordic flair to he music to reflect the movie’s setting. Also, there was a lack of variation- all the songs were belted out “Glee-style” as my mom put it.

- Is this the first Disney princess movie where a lead singing role is played by an already famous person? Someone who is famous for singing no less.

- There was a fantastically similar scene to one from “The Shining”. Towards the ending of “Frozen,” Olaf and Anna escape from the fireplace room by climbing out window and down the snow. In “The Shining,” (Wendy and) Danny escape through the window of a bathroom and slide down the snowy outside of their hotel.

- Anna is the first Disney character I could relate to because I’m always cold. Anna is pretty much battling being cold throughout the whole movie. I could have just told Anna that her real problem (like mine) is low blood pressure! There. Problems solved.

Overall, I’d say that “Frozen” was fine, though not the best effort Disney has put forth in recent Disney history. I was entertained, sure, but only temporarily while the movie lasted. This movie gets a 7 out of 10, or a B- in my book.

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The New Years Kiss Is Overrated

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I bet many of you are thinking about whom you will be kissing once the clock strikes midnight. But let me tell you something: the New Year’s kiss is lame. It’s not worth stressing over and it certainly shouldn’t be the epicenter of your holiday festivities.

Coming from one who has only ever had one New Year’s Eve kiss (two, if you count a dog), that kiss is not worth all the stressing and fretting over for your festive plans. Because here’s the thing- when you do decide to ring in the new year, perhaps swapping saliva with just anyone you can find, just to feel any ping of anything, probably won’t be the best choice.

May I suggest simply celebrating with those who you care about, be it friends, family, or whatever food, beverages you care about. Bringing in a new year should be properly done in the company of great people, be they good kissers or not. So good luck to all y’all without someone to kiss. Because really, that doesn’t matter. And in the great scheme of things, it’s about having fun. Have a very happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

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