Thursday, April 30, 2020

Baseball And My Youth

Reading has always been one of my favorite joys and one of my favorite subjects is sports, particularly baseball. Without boring you with why I love the game of baseball, (because frankly, George Will has already achieved that piece of perfection . . . ) baseball and the men who have played this game have always been an integral part of my childhood, continuing into adulthood.

For instance: My Uncle Pat stood in line at Eastgate Mall in Chattanooga, TN, on a rainy weekday in June, 1969, all for the goal of obtaining Mantle's autographs for his two nephews. Mickey Mantle was opening up a Men's clothing store in the mall and of course he was the main attraction on this opening day. 

Uncle Pat said the line was very long and full of children and teenagers who should have been at school, unlike the obedient and/or forced-to-attend classes children like my brother and me. I mean, come on!!! Mickey "The Mick" Mantle was signing autographs in our city!! The Yankee great who was one of the two greatest sport stars in baseball in the 1950's and 60's! 

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Power Of One

From the wonderful and evangelistic mind of Charles Schultz came spiritual wisdom wrapped in entertainment. This is the man who fought to ensure that millions of people would hear the true story of Christmas in his release, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 1965. But I'll bet you've never heard the full story of how this timeless classic came to fruition . . .

First of all, the Charlie Brown Christmas show might never have happened if not for the shared love of baseball between Charles Schultz and television producer Lee Mendelson. Schultz was a devout follower of baseball and when Mendelson called to talk about creating a TV show using the Peanuts comic strip, the two men quickly found common ground. Lee had recently produced a documentary on Willie Mays, "A Man Named Mays" and this fueled the early good will between these two men.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Battle Cry!

One of the best war game / simulation games of all time!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Favorite Musical Instruments

Talking to a friend of mine recently and we were both bemusing all the gear that we had lost, sold, or had come up missing throughout our musical life. That sparked a challenge to list all of the keyboards and synthesizers I had owned and here is that result:

1) Roland JX-3P - This was my very first musical purchase as an adult. I had played acoustic pianos, B3 organs and Rhodes electric pianos but this was the first musical gear that I personally owned. The JX-3P was Roland's very first synth with midi (simple notes on and off but still . . . ), backed up to a cassette tape and had six voice polyphony. I used this keyboard for four years until it, along with my PA System, Ross 4-Track Recorder, and more was stolen by the manager of our band. A story for another time. 

2) Kurzweil K250 - great piano and string sounds. (A favorite of Stevie Wonder) This didn't have the analog pads and gritty sounds that the JX-3P possessed but it was still a great synth.

3) Roland JV-80 - This quickly become my favorite synth. Great sounds, tons of polyphony (for the time), and the key action was awesome! This synth was also easy to program and worked out well to be a controller of other rack mount synths. This keyboard could sound like a guitar, electric guitar, piano, strings and analog pads. 61 key wonder!

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Show Me The Way

 Best Christian song by a secular band ever . . . 

Friday, April 03, 2020

The Sweet Spot

It was a stormy night in Arkansas (I'll bet your mind is already racing toward clues and mysteries . . .) and I was on my way home from work. I was thinking that there are definitely benefits to living six minutes from work but one of the downsides is the lack of time to decompress. My longest commute in my work life was from Rome, Georgia to Chattanooga, TN which was almost two hours on I-75, with good weather and traffic. But there was also a back way home that wove through the mountains, added about thirty minutes to my drive, but offered some amazing views, especially at sunset.

I remember jamming out to Three Dog Night, Genesis, Steely Dan, Cat Stevens and more as the musical soundtrack combined with the rolling North Georgia mountains. But there were other moments, listening to teaching from Tony Evans, Charles Stanley and Chuck Swindoll on Christian radio. And then finally there was the silence afforded during this journey . . .