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Archive for June, 2013

One has done it all, finally, and the other is still trying to.

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Tony Kanaan: Well-deserved

Kannan drinks the milk

I tend to have this philosophical bent that no one deserves anything outright.

Of course, then I go back, trying to understand how somebody actually can deserve something. Surely there is goodness and mercy that play out in the form of reward somewhere.

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TK truly deserves his win at Indianapolis because he earned it. It is the just result of many years of great talent and raw determination, love for his brother drivers and the sport, and dedication and perseverance.

bildeCA9O6FDO

There has also been the wisdom that comes to any driver who has driven there even once, or even those who hope to drive there: They know – and believe – the Speedway can take harshly or give beautifully.

As TK said even that very morning last month, “If it’s my day, it’s my day; if it’s not, it’s not.” He knows, and not just because it took him twelve years. And if possible, it seems at least in part, the Track of all Tracks was full of goodness and mercy.

But most of all – on that day, finally, his incredible skill and superior, technical performance on the track paid off. He was the Master Veteran Strategic and Tactical Expert Driver that day. That is where his deserving came into play. He deserved to win. No question – he earned it. Finally. And I was so glad, I cried like a baby.

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Tim Tebow: Returning from the Wilderness

He follows a Man who once spent 40 days and nights in the desert.

If Jesus could do it, then Tim Tebow knows he can. He should know: he has been there ever since he was drafted.

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Timothy [Tebow] (via Matthew) 4:1-11: “Then the Spirit led Tim into the brutal desert of real football to be tempted [and tortured] by the sport he loves. After spending two teams and two seasons without the best performance, Tim was (or remained) hungry.”

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The Broncos lost something when John Elway cut Tim loose, and the wise old QB-turned-VP knew it. It wasn’t the next Super Bowl Elway gave up; he made it absolutely clear that he believed it could be done with Petyon Manning when he boldly said, “There is no Plan B.” But he was also keenly aware of the ancillary benefits – and costs – of having – and losing – Tim Tebow. The aura alone surrounding Tebow, the electricity and enthusiasm – the love – he brought to the field was powerful. And attractive.

tebow Photo - Steven Bisig, US Presswire

Being from Indiana and living in Denver, I had mixed feelings about losing Tim but was thrilled to get Peyton. I lamented the future unknown – with trepidation and ultimately was completely off-target – in my blog last year (except for the part where I prophetically stated I was probably wrong about everything).

Still, John Elway tuned out everything else and remained focused on the business end of things. No hype, no emotion, no fluff; just did what any prudent business guy running a football team [probably] ought to have done.

By contrast, the New York Jets and Rex Ryan blew it. It seemed like a stunt-gone-bad from the beginning.

Ryan seemed to have realized – too late – the only thing he could figure out what to do with Tebow – wrongly – was to dress him up as a green-and-white Jets piñata and just hang him out to get whacked around real hard for the entire party, which turned out to be too long and not a very good one anyway.

If The Broncos organization made a challenging but mature, well-calculated business decision (it’s not personal, it’s just football), the Jets’ appeared to be reckless, shallow and insincere. Today I can imagine Tim Tebow saying under his breath, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

And to risk mixing classic references (I am not good enough to successfully mix metaphors, but calling out the Holy Bible and Jimmy Stewart together is fairly safe), I am thinking of George Bailey’s line in It’s a Wonderful Life: Both Rex Ryan and Tim Tebow were probably simultaneously thinking toward each other, “Here’s your hat and what’s your hurry?”

wl_100036

Good riddance New York, hello Boston.

Will it be the Promised Land for the Holy Man of the Gridiron?

Probably not.

Snakes and demons are there, too. And whiners and if nothing else, a certain mortal already there who thinks he’s the Messiah.

Well, I am glad the Patriots have picked him up. I still believe in him, and I am certain that if given the opportunity, he can continue to improve and do every bit as much good – and play even better – as he did in Denver. And frankly, I like him very much. I think I love the guy.

But can you imagine? Remember when the reporter interviewing Mark Sanchez called him “Tim”? What the . . ?! Just imagine what happens when somebody pulls that stunt on He Who Shall Not Be Named (the false Messiah, I am certain of it). All Hell will break loose.

tebowbrady112way

Tim Tebow knows what he really needs to focus on this coming season: Baltimore. Any other problem may seem slight by comparison. But consider another bit of devine guidance.

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Timothy [Tebow] (via Luke) 12:24: “Think about the Ravens. They no longer have Ray Lewis. They don’t even have anybody close to Ray’s power or enthusiasm or hutzpah or rushing ability at all. But God [still] feeds them. You are worth much more than birds!”

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Ah! What encouragement!

Oh-oh. I may have just become a Pats fan.

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Photo credits:
Tony Kanaan, The Milk: Associated Press/Darron Cummings
Tony Kanaan, The B-W Trophy: Getty Images|Reuters
Tim Tebow, Jets cap: Steven Bisig, US Presswire
Tebow, Brady: Mark Leffingwell, Reuters-Landov

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This month it’s an all music Top 5.

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Tim+Carroll

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1. Tim Carroll, native Hoosier
2. Rush of Fools
3. Tenth Avenue North
4. U2 7
5. Rare Earth In Concert

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It all comes off my iPod Shuffle, loaded for running and riding and lifting. These are samples of my workout bands and tunes and the first of several random lists I’ll do for Monthly Top 5’s, whenever I think I ought to do another all-music list.

Maybe not what you’d find at the gym in a Zumba class.

Some of it’s old, I know, by the standards of most, I guess. But I guess I have finally arrived in that place where, when I was a high school kid, believed I never would; that maybe I thought didn’t really exist: the willingness, even desire, to go back and listen to, if even stick with, my “oldies.” Not always, and not everything here, but plenty. And I am not apologizing.

So here it is, supposing you asked what I like to listen to when working out (which you did not).

Listen up.

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1. Tim Carroll

Long before I knew the Rolling Stones, I knew Tim Carroll, or really just knew of him, having lived in the same rural West Terre Haute neighborhood. I think he lived in my neighborhood, in Westwood and I lived on the next road west in Maplewood.

tim_wedding, Tribune Star article, Mark Bennett

I have a memory that I cannot substantiate – that he lived in a house near the path we took through the woods to Van Horn’s Lake. I don’t even know why I think this; I guess I knew it to be true at the time, somehow. I suppose I think I watched him get off our school bus, Old #66, driven by Phil Glick, as students at Consolidated Elementary. I could be wrong.

Tim, I guess I should write you a note and ask you.

We both graduated from the same high school, a couple-few years apart. From there I went on to college at Indiana State and then to pull off a series of stupid stunts, and so on, that I guess I am lucky to have lived through; some funny, some not at all. Tim, on the other hand, went on to college at IU then on to Nashville to something really cool.

Long before I knew of him as a musician, I knew the Rolling Stones.

The only Stones LP I have ever owned was – is (I have it on both CD and iTunes, now) – Some Girls, and it is the song on this album, Far Away Eyes that brings me back around to Tim. I hope he appreciates that during a bike ride last year, Far Away Eyes came up next on my Shuffle, and the first thing I thought was, “That sounds like Tim Carroll.”

At full circle now; Tim reminds me of the StonesFar Away Eyes, which may have been inspired for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards by Gram Parsons and his connection to Bakersfield (and Joshua Tree), California, though they do not say so directly. (At one time Richards and Parsons did have a close relationship).

ECcloseup

I have never had the opportunity to ask him, but I’d like to know his view of the legendary and tragic Parsons, who, according to Steve Leggett of Allmusic, referred to his work as “’cosmic American music’ (a seamless blending of country, blues and rock).”

Seems clear to me Tim Carroll has avoided all the demons Gram Parsons, who died in 1973 of a combination of alcohol and drug overdose, could not. By sharp contrast, Carroll appears to be well grounded and healthy. He now travels worldwide playing, and has for many years.

Like Gram and the Rolling Stones, and his ultra-talented wife, Elizabeth Cook, Tim has paved his own way and is paving the way for many others to follow.

Here are some avenues to check out his music:
http://www.allegro-music.com/online_catalog.asp?sku_tag=SBN31008
http://www.amazon.com/Tim-Carroll/e/B000APSI22/ref=ntt_mus_dp_pel

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2. Rush of Fools

3. Tenth Avenue North

Great bands, no matter where you come from – or where you’re going.

RushofFools_album

So speaking of avenues, check out Tenth Avenue North, and check out their song and video, Love is Here (Over And Underneath, 2008).

As for Rush of Fools, they’ve got two songs that particularly stir me.

Never Far Away (Rush of Fools, 2007)
When Our Hearts Sing (Wonder of the World, 2008)

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Now insert the related philosophical jibber-jabber: The consummate age-old debate: whether or not God is real.

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…Or is real in any certain way, or 40-eleven-million different ways. About 4.5 billion people say they think he does (every bit of my language here is risky).

I have my own view, and honestly, it’s pretty narrow and I am pretty stubborn about it.

Not proselytizing here, just sharing music. But take it as that if you want. Ok. Maybe I am proselytizing a little bit, but don’t let that hold you back. It’s not my story, only mine to tell. And I am not always (actually, rarely) a good storyteller if we’re talking about “The Greatest Story Ever Told” being told by way of example.

TAN

Suppose this: Suppose they are – all “Believers” are – wrong; the whole thing is not true; not real.

So what?

You listen to this song, watch this video, and realize they’re talking about an offer, a possible future, change needed in so many cases; a hope for people’s lives; a thing that can set people in motion for their future here and – as they believe or hope – for after their future.

Delusional?

Well, there are a lot of those types on the planet. Billions. I guess I am one of them, and glad for it. I guess each one of us gets to decide if the billions are delusional or if everyone else is taking a presumptive chance they can’t afford.

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As for Tenth Avenue North and Rush of Fools, I am sold on how well these two bands tell The Story. They tell it – and theirs – very well. These guys bring the whole prospect and sense of hope, life, and future closer in a powerful way.

And aside of everything else, their music is really, really good. So ease up and just check them out.

U27ep

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4. U27

When I first found 7“, the Extended Play CD at Target, I thought it was a real album. Well, it’s a real album, in the truest sense of album, it’s just not an album the way I think of it. Problem here is once again my lack of vocabulary. I guess it’s a sort of greatest hits compilation album. Whatever.

I know I am a few albums behind, but I cannot get over this EP; I simply cannot get enough of this collection in the versions presented on “7.”

Anyway, what I quickly found was that I like the mixes of these reprinted numbers much, much better than the studio cuts. Beautiful Day is probably the prime example – the “Quincey and Sonance mix.” On “7,” it has so much energy I don’t know if I can contain it. I hear the studio version and feel bad for it. Don’t even bother; but the “7” version – wow. Go man, go.

Next to this piece is Elevation – the “Influx mix.” Same thing. So much energy I think I can run a 4:53.1 mile, like I did in high school. (Not actually going to try this, but I do speed up.)

Bonus Items “a” and “b” go with U2: from U2 Pop:
4a. Discothèque
4b. Last Night On Earth
Another great song with energy. Here’s an interesting twist presentation on this one: a YouTube video documenting the making of the video for the song, that includes Spanish subtitles. Kinda weird but worth watching.

(By the way, catch the old Land Rover at the beginning of the video. That was my college transportation, right down to the puke green color. Pretty sure I was the only guy in all of Indiana driving such a beast, ‘cept for old Joe So-and-So who lived up on Old 41 south of Clinton; a man of the world, for all times, and far ahead of the rest of us. Hint: I think Old Joe is gone now, but his derelict Rovers are still there, languishing in the weeds, just north of the railroad viaduct. Find that spot and you win a gazillion dollars.)

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5. Rare Earth In Concert

In my opinion, one of the best albums ever made; certainly one of the best live albums.

RareEarth_InConcert1_1971

My senior year in high school I sang in a band. Reign.

So on a Monday morning, second hour, my chemistry-zoology teacher was reading the week’s announcements. After Friday night’s homecoming football game, Reign was to play for the “Welcome Back Mixer.” Unfortunately, I sat in the front row.
So as he read, he came to us. “And at the Welcome Back Mixer West Vigo’s own Reign will play….”

Then he paused, looked over his half-lens reading glasses at me and said, “Does this mean you REIGN OVER your fellow students?” I was sick. I don’t remember what if anything I said in response, probably nothing. I am pretty sure the only appropriate response would have been, “No, Sir.”

We covered Foreigner, The Beatles, Ted Nugent, Journey, and a few others, including REO Speedwagon – aside of the Peter Gunn theme, Ridin’ The Storm Out was our theme song – whatever was popular in 1979 and ’80.

We also made some tragic efforts: Get Down, Boogie-Oogie, Oogie by Taste of Honey. Wow. Sorry. Enough said. And Just When I Needed You Most, by Randy Vanwarmer. Whaaa? I had never even heard nor heard of this song or the guy. Someone just showed up at practice one night with the sheet music. Whiniest song and guy I ever heard. Again, sorry everybody.

A couple of other efforts were not quite as tragic only because they were well intentioned. We tried (well, the guys did, and I tried) Aerosmith’s Walk This Way, which went way too fast for me to master. Embarrassing. Then finally, Clapton’s Cocaine, which is a great tune, but I couldn’t feel okay about using that word, so I changed it to Spokane

Anyway, it was fun, but I can’t believe either we as a whole or at least I, individually, didn’t get fired.

So this brings me to Rare Earth.

In retrospect, I am frustrated considering the lost opportunity to play their songs. We didn’t do one. Jeez – they had been one of my favorite bands since fifth grade, about 1971-’72.

My uncle John, the coolest guy on the planet (still, and co-subject of my post “Todd Rundgren and the Sacred Den of Cool” Nov, 2010) had given me his 8-track of Rare Earth In Concert – their 1971 live album – the “backpack album.”

Rare_Earth_-_Ma_-_Front

In fact, I was so crazy about them, in fifth grade art class I made a clay plaque with the band’s name in balloon-bubble letters and flowers on it. It was decorated in many-colored glaze, baked in the furnace. I put two holes at the top so I could lace a string through and hang it in my room. Cool.

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I cannot believe it did not even occur to me that we should learn and play those songs. Makes me want to get back into a band just to sing a few of those. All those great songs – I mean really great – like Get Ready and Hey Big Brother and I Just Want To Celebrate. I knew intimately every song on In Concert and Ma. If I ever wished I could go back it would be to correct history and play Rare Earth in the gym or at the Banks of the Wabash Festival.

Ah, such is life.

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The Internet is awesome.

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So all these years later – about 2001 – I was able to find the CD at Amazon. It was expensive but worth it. I also sent a CD to John, sort of a “thank-you-payback.”

Meanwhile, Jace, my son whom I had introduced to Rare Earth when he was about two, was four in 2005 and now playing drums on a cheapo-set from some cheapo-store. I’d say to him, “Play some Rare Earth,” and he’d whack and bang away. At that age, all his Rare Earth sounded exactly like his U2 – which sounded pretty much like random whacking and banging.

I also found Peter Rivera, Rare Earth’s original lead singer and drummer. A little Google search, and Vwalla….he’s got a website. That voice and those drums. That has to be one of the best packages to ever come together in rock music.

So I wrote to him, telling him my Rare Earth history and about Jace now carrying on to the next generation. He wrote me back, thanked me for my years of loyalty, and thought the Jace story was pretty cool. He also said, “Make sure he learns to read music. I never did, but should have. It’s really not that hard.”

Rare Earth, along with co-founder Gil Bridges, still plays, though Peter is not with them. But when they were together in those early days, nobody put more energy into a concert. Check out this video of “…Celebrate” at California Jam in 1974.

– – –item_drum_sticks_s

Promotional insert: Checkout Peter’s site. Pretty interesting and encouraging life. Reading through it, he comes off as the kind of guy you’d really like to know. You can find him on Facebook, too. In searching, you may want to include “Celebrate” along with his name.

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I bought a set of signed sticks for Jace, which he still has, though one is broken; he drums with gusto. No matter. They are sacred and so remain on his bookshelf like religious icons.

So as old as Rare Earth’s music is, the songs are staples in my running-riding-lifting regimen.

To get your own copies, check them out on iTunes.

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Acknowledgement

Wikipedia, for regularly providing useful and interesting if not scholarly approved background information in this and many other AAH blogs. AAH supports Wikipedia and encourages you to as well when you enjoy and benefit from their hard work.Wikipedia-logo

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