Archive for the ‘The Monthly Top 5’ Category

We know, it’s not like “Indiana Rivers Videos” is the most compelling title. Well, keep reading and watching.

And actually, just so you know, it’s 8. We couldn’t quite figure out how to choose which three to cut, we liked them all too much. So just consider it’s the Monthly Top 5 plus 3 bonus items. You’ll have to decide what’s a bonus and what’s not.

They are interesting (we think) and educational, and some are fun. You may like them, at least some of them or disagree with disgust, disappointment or maybe – hopefully – be inspired to take a day or weekend trip. This is our Top 5 (8) for September.

To watch each video, you can either select the title or click on the photo.

1. The Battle for Indiana

The Smithsonian Channel

Battle for Indiana

2. Indiana’s 10 best canoeing and kayaking spots


Indianas 10 best canoeing and kayaking spots IndyStar

3.  Flying Silver Carp on Wabash River in Indiana

Indiana Outdoor Adventures

Flying Silver Carp on Wabash River in Indiana

4. A History Tour of the Wabash River

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

A History Tour of the Wabash River Indiana Department of Natural Resources

5. Indiana Rivers & Waterways Advocates

Sustainable Indiana

Indiana Rivers & Waterways Advocates

6. The Aukiki: Indiana’s Lost River

Jeffrey Kroll

The Aukiki Indianas Lost River

7. Reverend Peyton on the Blue River

Wild Indiana

Reverend Peyton on the Blue River

Ok, if there is any one of these that really ought to be considered a bonus, this would probably have to be it. #8 on our Top 5 list.

8. White Water Canoe, Brookville, Indiana

Gonzo Vision

White Water Canoe Brookville Indiana

Ok, surprise. After all that, an Actual True and Worthy Bonus Item (in case you didn’t know them until now):  Indiana’s own…

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

“Clap Your Hands”

The Reverend Peytons Big Damn Band Clap Your Hands


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First, I have to confess my ulterior motive: This Top 5 is meant to be a distraction from the presidential election we have all just [barely] lived through. We all deserve a break, so here goes.

If you have read the music version of my Top Five before, you have usually seen a Bonus entry. Truth is, each one of these women is their own bonus. It’s a very diverse and seemingly unmatched crowd this time. Perhaps the only thing that brings them all into the same sphere is that they are some of my favorites. Maybe you’ll like them too.

Anyway, coming in so soon after the intense political events of this November 2016, I see this as a nice relief. Enjoy.

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Elizabeth Cook
Ok. I am biased. Elizabeth is married to Nashville musician Tim Carroll (he appears on stage with her in this video), who grew up in my neighborhood and we graduated from the same high school. It’s a hometown near-brush with greatness. But what’s really important here is that she is incredibly talented, passionate and like the rest of these artists, knows the world she is in and how to communicate her message in it.

This is a great collection of hillbilly-bluegrass, Elizabeth Cook style.

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– – –


Ginny Owens

Ginny sang at my church some years ago, and my wife and I, as with everyone there, were absolutely captivated by her voice, her talent, and her open heart.

I have said this many times before, and will say again . . . what she stirs in those who will listen – the prospect, the implications, the idea of what if it’s true . . . the hope for just what if . . .

“No Borders”

“If You Want Me To”

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– – –

Clannad with Anúna

I can’t explain very well why I am so drawn to this type of music – sound – except that I am Scotch-Irish, so surely this mood resides deep in my DNA. It’s a sort of homecoming for something in my soul. Only Clannad could have performed these pieces so well.


“Theme From Harry’s Game”
This piece is absolutely haunting and yet beautiful. I, like many in the States, first heard this piece, and in fact first heard of the group, Clannad, during the movie, “Patriot Games”, based on Tom Clancy’s novel of the same title.

“I Will Find You”
I just recently finished reading James Fenimore Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans, a Narrative of 1757”, a brutal and raw, yet vital story describing events during the French and Indian War in the earliest days of our country. This piece was the love theme in the 1992 movie rendition starring Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe.

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Patsy Cline
She has been one of my favorites since, when I was a small boy, I knew my mother loved her. This is the song I chose for us to dance to when Kerri and I were married.

“You Belong to Me”

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And finally, my [current] favorite . . .

Ingrid Michaelson
This girl speaks so powerfully and so genuinely to everyone she sings for. Every song, every video shows just how sincerely she’s connected with everyone she comes in contact with. I could say you should just sit and watch every video from her, but I think you won’t need me to encourage you.

“Girls Chase Boys” [a live version]


“The Way I Am”


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The world is full of fascinating, inspiring, and very decent people, and Indiana has our share, too.


Here is our list for October.

– – –

1. Malala

2. Deborah Simon

3. Grant Martin Shortridge

4. Chicks on the Right

5. Greg Toler

– – –

1. Malala Yousafzai

The Nobel peace prize was awarded this week and it did not go to Malala.


Instead, Malala Yousafzai is the recipient of the civilized world’s affection. Just last year the Pakistani Taliban tried to murder her because she was, and remains, a threat to them.

They stormed her school bus and shot her in the head in an attempt to silence her campaign for the education of girls.

Malala Yousafzai is sixteen now, and this week made her way to the Land of Liberty and Freedom to speak of what is now her life’s mission: To see that every girl on the planet can receive the education she deserves. And it is far beyond school for every girl that she works for. Make no mistake. It is Freedom – Liberty – she is striving for.

– – –

Perhaps in protest against the war in Afghanistan, or more exactly, the US’ war in Afghanistan, many people here in the luxurious safety and comfort of their freedom to do and say anything, forget that while we went there to stop Al Qaida from attacking our country or anyone else again, we already knew of the terrible oppression of women and girls in that country.

We already knew of the corruption of the so-called religious or theocratic government that would crush any freedom of anything but compliance to their twisted version of Islam; not Islam at all, but Islamacism – Islamist fascism, and a pseudo-religious autocracy that even banned music, even banned self-defense against a husband’s brutal beatings as faithlessness. One that would publicly execute a woman in a soccer stadium for defending her physical body from abuse, and her spirit from total subjugation.

This hateful veil of deceipt, lying to its own religion, its own people, the world; and sometimes not lying, rather openingly condemning and destroying any vestiges of another way of thought, another way of life; anything that they would choose to disagree with.

And they are so fanatical in their hatred that they would reach far beyond their own lives and concerns, to take the life of a child.


What threat?

Great threat. An existential threat.

It is called Freedom and Liberty.

And her name is Malala.

– – –

We note at the beginning that Malala was not chosen to receive this year’s Nobel peace prize. Rather, instead it was given to the team that is working to dismantle and remove chemical weapons from Syria. Unquestionably an important and worthy endeavor. Our complaint is just this: Their work is not done; in fact it is hardly begun. There is no garantee they will be successful, either, although the world is hopeful; we are counting on them. But there is much to be done, and the timeline agreed upon to complete the task extends deep into 2014.

How is it that the Nobel committee now believes the beginnings of an effort; good intentions and well-laid plans are enough? Well, they too, are free to choose as they wish.

But it is not the first time they have awarded the peace prize to someone who has literally done nothing worthy of it.

It is not our intention to compare the quality of their work – yet to be successfully accomplished – to that of then-newly-elected Barak Obama, who was awarded the prize after only a few, scant months after taking the oath of office. We would not place them in the same category. By contrast, the weapons experts chosen to go into Syria and harm’s way were chosen for their well-established, documented expertise and experience. It seems to us the moment to award the peace prize for this action might be at its successful conclusion, to recognize their achievement.

As for Malala, she has given her security, her blood, effectively given her life, for the good of others. And she continues. She should be honored.

– – –

Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Sakharov Prize for 2013. Interestingly, the complete title is the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. You may read more about the Sakharov Prize here.

You can find aditional reading about Malala here: CBS, BBC

– – –

2. Deborah Simon

Those who have financial wealth have long been criticized by those who do not. But when it comes to giving – sharing – the wealthy get high marks.


Indianapolis’ own Deborah Simon is a case-in-point.

She recently committed a $100 million gift to the school that was “a lifesaver” for her; a place where she found refuge and direction “during a difficult time in her young life,” as she told the IndyStar.

Deborah Simon also heads the Simon Youth Foundation (SYF), which “exists to help youth – who are at risk of dropping out of high school – graduate, develop life skills, and pursue post-secondary education and career paths.”

Interestingly, and something we really like, is that SYF was actually founded by a small group of Simon Property Group employees.

Grassroots effort. Private enterprise. Private, personal resources set free to do good.

Very inspiring.


You can read the IndyStar article here. To explore the Simon Youth Foundation, just click on their logo:

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– – –

3. Grant Martin Shortridge

We are always impressed when kids show up and doing something big.

Tribune-Star-Jim Avelis

This young Hoosier wants to make a difference in his hometown by becoming a politician at the ripe old age of 18. But with the signals he’s putting out, we think he could go even further.

The newspaper article quotes a Clinton, Indiana city official as saying to Grant, “we’ve got great plans for you.”

Somehow, we think it’s more likely Grant has great plans for them.

Go man, Go.

– – –

4. Chicks on the Right


Indy’s dynamic, pull-no-punches Conservative duo have created something unique among . . . well, any crowd they are placed in: women, conservative radio talkshows, conservatives in general, midwestern moms, blondes, entrepreneurs, stand-offish, cautious, reserved Hoosiers.

Amy Jo Clark is known as Daisy, and Miriam Weaver as Mockarena. They write the Chicks on the Right blog (www.chicksontheright.com) and host a show on WIBC-FM (93.1), Indianapolis.


We like their style, guts and content, so they’ve earned a place in AAH’s Top 5.

– – –

5. Greg Toler

When you begin to worry about your kid’s future, or that you don’t have the resources to give your kids all that you wish you could, or just when you think all’s gone to hell in a hand basket with kids, generally; with families, with fathers, fatherhood, or the lack of it – there is a story of overcoming and going on, and achieving that may remind you that any one moment we may only see things dimly; that it may only be a brief snapshot from the full album of life.

Toler-Matt Kryger-The Star

When we become parents, we’re responsible for a lot; more than we can calculate, and much more then we can really grasp. Perhaps just enough to convince us we ought to panic. Or to get on our knees.

At some point in a child’s development, sometimes even in the most dire circumstances, we hope he or she gains an awareness, and it is a growing, deepening awareness of themselves, of the world around them, and somehow, part of the miracle of life is that they become independent, and begin to make their own decisions; they choose a path for their lives. Not all, of course, but even just one, then it is good.


Greg Toler seems to have come from somewhere out in that wilderness, and as the statistics bear out, it’s what too many children experience – especially black children, disproportionately so: life without a father.

But life with a good mother and a good aunt, too. And from within himself, a drive and desire, and talent practiced and driven and trained and disciplined into a man and athlete to be recognized and needed.

Not only is he changing the life of the Indianapolis Colts, but the lives of those he touches.

– – –

If you know of someone who really makes a difference, leads the way, inspires us to be more, reach higher, try harder, stay longer, give more, serve, push, challenge, stand up, help, or love more, let us know, and we’ll let everyone know.

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This is the Key Words edition.

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Moziah Bridges

Each of the individuals in this month’s Top Five is a person who acts on their inspiration and in turn is an inspiration to others.

– – –

The words and phrases you’ll read and hear from them are the keys to achieving more than we think we can. They can keep us on or draw us back to the path we really want to be on, and the encouragement to keep on.

Here they are:

– – –

1. Richie Parker

2. Jeff Thompson

3. Danny Etling

4. Moziah Bridges

5. Elbert Guillory

– – –

Each is a person worth listening to, worthy of emulation. And while each demonstrates the characteristics so important to a leader, he shows in fact, he is a servant to those around him.

They – and their lessons – are each immeasurably valuable to all of us.

richie-parker photo

Do yourself a favor and read on.

– – –

1. Richie Parker, Design Engineer, Hendrick Motorsports

An incredible and inspiring story in video produced by Tom Rinaldi and ESPN.

– – –

Key Words:

“I don’t listen too much to people when they tell me I can’t do something”

“There’s not a whole lot that’s going to stand in my way”

“We wanted his childhood to be as close to any other child’s childhood as possible”

“We are going to make it work. We might just do it differently, but it will work”

“I don’t l know that there’s a whole lot in life period I can’t do; just things I haven’t done yet”

“[I am] just never satisfied; it’s what drives me…it’s how I live my life”

– – –

For everything he is, Richie makes our Top Five. In fact, he’s the on Top Five List for Life.

Check out the ESPN video here. To read this post and others from a work and career angle, click here.

– – –

Jeff Thompson, Terre Haute South Vigo swim coach and head coach, Terre Haute Torpedoes

2. Jeff Thompson, Terre Haute South Vigo swim coach and head coach, Terre Haute Torpedoes

The subject is three high school swimming pools but a simple and important statement was made that speaks to something more. Much more.

And it was not lost on us.

AAH is not going to dive into the conversation, but instead we want to zero-in on a simple but powerful and inspiring statement.

The Terre Haute South Vigo swim coach said a few things while expressing his support for a new aquatics center to serve all the Vigo County high schools, including “[It] is the right thing to do,” and to “give the community ‘something to be proud of for the future.’”

But what really caught us was this, from the Tribune Star, speaking before a group of 300 people at a school board meeting:

“He . . . said it’s time to ‘dare greatly.’”

– – –

Those two words: Dare Greatly.

– – –

For standing up publicly and speaking simple words that carry such inspiration, expectation, and exhortation, we say, “You’re in,” Jeff – Top Five.

To read this and other posts in the world of sports, click here.

– – –

Danny Etling - Photo by Paul Siegfried

3. Danny Etling, Freshman Purdue Quarterback

This past week Danny was not chosen as Purdue’s starting quarterback . . .

. . . but he knows there’s more to the game than that.

– – –

Danny Etling’s Key Words:

“’It’s not too hard to ignore [which quarterback gets more “ball time”] once you get into the practice, because our practices are fast-paced and you don’t have a lot of time to think about that kind of stuff,’ Etling said. ‘It’s really a team thing and it’s all about the team. That’s one thing they’ve really strived to nail into us. It’s not about you, or how much you’re playing, but it’s about the team. There’s really no room for selfishness here.’”
– – –

Etling of Terre Haute, was interviewed by the Tribune Star during Fall Football Camp in West Lafayette this past week, and was competing for the starting QB spot going into the 2013-14 season.

For more reading on Etling, check out this Indy Sports Legend article.

For his perspective on what it takes to get the job done, and his attitude toward the important things in life, Danny makes AAH’s Top Five.

To read this and other posts in the world of sports, click here.

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Michael del Castillo - UpStart Business Journal

4. Moziah Bridges and Mo’s Bows of Memphis

Once again, we are inspired by a kid. A little kid.

– – –

And here’s a key word for all of us: “Work”

Here are some more:

“I can do it”
“Solve a problem” and “Meet a need”

– – –

So, 9-year-old Moziah, a bowtie man, thought, “. . . why not make my own . . ?”

He ASKED his grandmother if she would TEACH him. Well, of course she would.

And two years later, he’s on his way. Just checkout his website: http://www.mosbowsmemphis.com/

“He can sew a bow tie from start to finish” – Bridges’ mother

He’s a little kid with a huge idea, and more than that, he has a huge plan for his life.

His motivation? “I guess it’s in my blood.”

For more Moz reading, see this story from The Memphis Flyer. To see Moz and other work and career-related posts, click here.

Moz, you’re in the Top Five. Boom. Done.

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Elbert-Guillory - Frontiers of Freedom photo

5. Elbert Guillory, Louisiana State Senator

Yea, we know; he’s not . . . it’s not . . . Indiana anything, but we love this guy.

– – –

Guillory Key Words:

“Freedom . . .

. . .is the idea that the economy must remain free of government persuasion . . .”

“It’s the idea that that the press must operate without government intrusion . . .”

“It’s the idea that [American’s personal communications] should remain free from government search and seizure . . .”

“It’s the idea that parents must be the decision-makers in regards to their children’s education . . .”

“It is the idea that the individual must be free to pursue his or her own happiness, free from government dependence, and free from government control, because to be truly free is to be reliant on no one other than the author of our destiny.”

– – –

Although he remains in the Louisiana state legislature, we hope to see him run for Congress, and then . . .!

Check out his video, making the Youtube rounds like wildfire, Why I Am a Republican.

. . . and his new Political Action Committee, Free at Last. . .

. . .and his website, here.

Senator Guillory rounds out September’s Top Five. Guillory for President. Boom. Done.

To read this post and others for the political animal in all of us, click here.

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BONUS and Postscript:

It is interesting to note that Sen. Guillory identifies Rev Martin Luther King, Jr as a Republican. There are differing (some slightly, some starkly) accounts of this “fact”, so it is a good study, worth exploring.

Here are a few sources we can provide to support your heated but fair discussions with family and friends:

Why Martin Luther King Was Republican, 2006, Human Events by Frances Rice, Chair, National Black Republican Association

Snopes has their answer, too – here.

Billboard Claiming Martin Luther King Was Republican Angers Black Activists in Houston, 2009, FoxNews.com, by Joseph Abrams


WikiAnswers.com has their answer, too – read here.

The religion and political views of Martin Luther King, Jr. , The Hollowverse.com

Martin Luther King Jr. Republican Billboard Courts Controversy in Texas As Election Looms, 2012, Huffington Post Black Voices, by Meredith Bennett-Smith

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I guess I’m feeling inspired.

It’s another music Top 5, from my iPod Shuffle. It’s more of the stuff that moves me the best when I run, ride and lift.

But there’s an angle this time: This is the association edition. Each of these songs conjures a specific time and place for me.

– – –

1. Icarus (Born on Wings of Steel), Kansas (Masque, 1975)

It’s the summer of 1976. I am moving in and out of the garage carrying boxes labeled “kitchen” and “Mike and Ty Bedroom” and “Bathroom” and “Books” to our utility trailer. We are moving to a new neighborhood, far to the north and away from every place I have known since Library School in West Terre Haute (the year before Kindergarten).


There is a radio sitting on top of the freezer, which sits hulking next to the door leading into the house. The antenna is angled just right to pickup WPFR through all the metallic clutter of shovels and rakes and other signal competition deep in the garage. Born on Wings of Steel is playing.

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Recommendation: Get the studio version. Check out a sample at iTunes here.

– – –

(And “thank you” to my several friends with whom I attended Library School who read this blog. It is kind and quite mercenary of you.)

– – –

2. Where the Streets Have No Name, U2 (The Joshua Tree, 1987)

It’s May of 1987. I am driving downtown San Francisco with my friend Diana who has traveled with me as I am about to begin flight school with the Air Force. We are a week or so early so I have time to get settled in before my classes start at Mather Air Force Base in Rancho Cordova and we have time to sight see.

It’s pretty crowded in the streets that day – a demonstration parade of several sorts is making its way through the city center. The first bunch we see is a gay pride thing – all the rainbow flags and banners and what I guess you’d call party costumes and such.

San Fran March 87

Then it morphs into a “Free El Salvador” thing, with more banners, except partly in Spanish and something about fascists and dictators and “Get Out Of Our Country” (I don’t quite get who is in who’s country, I can just tell somebody’s unhappy and very loud about it.) Then it morphs again as it continues to move along – Panama, Cambodia, Vegetarian’s rights, some more gay rights, and something about the UN being evil. How’d they get in there?

Anyway, we arrive in front of a hotel and we see a couple of limousines parked in the street directly in front of the entrance canopy. All traffic is stopped now because the light is red, but also because there’s a big stir – the limos are blocking the street. Security guys are out and opening car doors and standing there, looking around. Then heads pop up and start moving toward the hotel lobby.

It’s Bono and The Edge and Larry and Adam, right there next to us.

They on the other side of the cars from us, but we get a clear view of them. It lasts long enough – somehow – for me to get ahold of my camera and shoot a picture of them. Or somebody, one of them, maybe a couple of them.

(I can’t say for sure anymore because later, I gave the photo to the guy at the video store near my apartment because he said he liked U2, and now I can’t find the negatives.)

Anyway, we are thrilled and feel like we accidentally stepped into a little piece of transient history.

(Oh, sorry – Jim’s camera. Thanks, Jim. I did give that back to you, like, ten years later, didn’t I?)

I hear that song and I am right there. Thanks, Diana. That was fun.

– – –

Here’s the video that got it all started: http://youtu.be/QQxl9EI9YBg

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3. Cuttin’ Heads, Peaceful World, and Worn Out Nervous Condition, John Mellencamp (Cuttin’ Heads, 2001)

I am running along a rough, pot-holed asphalt county road east of my parent’s farm.

It’s a trip home, an all-too-rare visit, this time by myself. As I run I smell the alfalfa hay, recently cut in the field to my right, and the dull, musky, scent of decay in the mud in the ditch between us. I cannot hear the bees and cicadas that must surely be making their sounds – I have earphones in. Taking it all in.

– – –

Last.fm has the full album:
http://www.last.fm/music/John+Mellencamp/Cuttin’+Heads?ac=Cuttin’ Heads

– – –

These songs are great, and to listen to them in this atmosphere . . . well, I guess I am sentimental.

While they are not the highest energy-run fast songs you might think are needed for a vigorous workout, they are, well . . . inspiring, introspective, and honest. And they’re home – at least to me. It seems very good to me.

Mellencamp is right at ten years older than me; roughly the same age as my oldest cousin from Seymour – also Mellencamp’s hometown. So the idea is that they – John and Cousin Richard – graduated from Seymour High School together. Well, the truth is I have no idea. I like the idea, but it’s probably way off.

The better thing is that my son, Jace likes to call me “Poppi.” We listen to the title song together once-in-a-while, and early on, because the “N” word is used (in a proper context) I was sure to talk with him about racism and the good message Mellecamp presents. The result is that we hate racism and we love the song.

Green Acres - Rob Robbins

Insert shameless plug here:
My folk’s home and the road I mention are near the original Green Acres Dairy Bar, Where The Buffalo Roam. (Actually, used to roam. The buffalo were removed a few years ago, although last I knew, they still sold a buffalo burger.)


And to sit in the parking lot of Green Acres and have a burger and ice cream and listen to this or any other mandatory Mellencamp, head north out of Terre Haute to Sandcut on the “Rosedale Road”, a couple miles east of and parallel to Old US 41. From Brazil, go north on State Road 59 to the Rio Grande Road (W County Road 1220 N) and head west to Sandcut, then south.

Can’t miss it. If you do, just call them: (812) 466-3711.

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4. Zoo Station, U2 (Achtung Baby, 1991)

It’s April 1992. I am sitting alone in a luxurious car on the ICE, racing north, from Frankfurt to Hamburg. Golden fields of blooming canola are blurring past my massive window. I have a cheap pair of headphones on and I’m playing a cheap cassette tape player listening to U2.

Germany and its beautiful rural scenery, U2, this giant window; it’s like my own private music video. There is something exhilarating and freeing – exotic – to be here in Europe and doing this solo, but still I feel an intense desire – a wish – to be with, to share it with someone.

I have been to my cousin’s wedding in Portugal, spent a few days in Oberursel with my adopted German grandmother – Oma, Erica, or as I have always known her – Mutti. Now I am going to see my friend Julia, a student at the University of Oldenburg and will finish my trip in Amsterdam.

After being amazed by the Vermeer’s and Rembrandt’s of the Rijksmuseum and having dinner with a Michigan businessman, I reluctantly head back to my hotel room. I turn on the television to watch a U2 concert in Berlin, and have to force myself to turn it off after an hour because I have an early flight to New York.

– – –

Check it out at Last.fm: http://www.last.fm/music/U2/Achtung+Baby

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Rossington Collins Band
5. Don’t Misunderstand Me, Rossington Collins Band (Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere, 1980)

Summer 1979. We’ve just officially become seniors and Karl and I are driving all over West Terre Haute in his white 1969 Triumph TR6 convertible. We’re smoking Swisher Sweets and listening to this hard-hitting, top-down, post-Lynyrd Skynyrd near-rock anthem.

Man, we feel free and light. Our junior year is over. We’ve made it.

The sun is bright and the open cockpit is a swirl in the wind and it’s anywhere we want. So we want DQ on National Avenue, then we want to go to South Lake, which requires a cruise through Toad Hop to get there.

We park on the west side of the white cinderblock building and saunter into the open-air pavilion, across the cold concrete floor, shaded in the basement of the raised building; we’re in a breeze-way of a concession stand full of neatly aligned green wood picnic tables. We move to the counter to order a follow-up to our DQ visit of just ten minutes before.

We each get a huge Coke and keep glancing out, through the open lake-side of the room, to the beach, its coarse gravel pit-quality sand, same as it ever was, just as it was when we were kids. The tall, galvanized slide standing half in and half out of the water is still there, too, as it has always been. And the warm water in its color of weak coffee with a little cream; that too, just as it has always been.

We were searching for our friends – mainly girls; probably strictly girls, come to think of it – who have come to get a tan.

We are searching when we get there, and searching when we finally leave. Jeez, this is good. And summer has only started.

We continue to search through the summer and all the way through our last year of high school and beyond. And life has only started.

Find it at iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/rossington-collins-band/id64790

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BONUS TRACK: Unbreakable, Fireflight (Unbreakable, 2008)

No sentimental association here . . . except perhaps, ultimately, for the message within. Remember the Top 5 for June, where I spoke about the about the idea of “. . . an offer, a possible future . . . a thing that can set people in motion…”? Yea. These guys are talking about the same thing.

But suppose you’re not interested in that. Ok. Just check out this song, check out the video.

This is the one that will make you move; make you want to move. More energy than that 6-year-old Honey Boo Boo-kid in Texas drinking the Mountain Dew-Red Bull breakfast concoction. Well, maybe not quite that much, but enough.

And as if I really need to tell you – turn it up. A lot.

Check out the video here: http://youtu.be/pWRJAHaOrYg

– – –

Dedicated to my friend, Karl Johnson. Wherever you are, however you are. I love you, Brother.

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This month it’s an all music Top 5.

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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).


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:

– – –

2. Rush of Fools

3. Tenth Avenue North

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


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)

– – –

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

– – –

…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.


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.


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.

– – –

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.


– – –

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.)

– – –

5. Rare Earth In Concert

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


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.”


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.

– – –

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.

– – –
The Internet is awesome.

– – –

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.

– – –

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.

– – –


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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1. Lt Col. Mark Weber, author of Tell My Sons.


What an extraordinary man.

A man with a countdown clock ever at his elbow, he is quick to tell us he doesn’t have much time. So he wrote a book to his three sons. He is dying from an aggressive cancer, and now has assumed the greatest mission of his life.


Far beyond what he ever imagined when he was first commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army and even later in his career when he served at the right hand of some of our country’s best-known generals, now he is exerting his greatest leadership – and more importantly, servanthood – with their most lasting impact at home.

His sons will surely grow up to be great men.

We are inspired.


2. Dr. Suzanna Hupp

A voice worth listening to, someone who has the experience to back up their statement. This is proving to be rarer all the time.

Suzanna Hupp

Suzanna Hupp has lived something most of us can never imagine, losing her parents to a crazed gunman while she was disempowered by a government that thought it knew best.

The simple truth is we will never be without people who will do terrible things to other people. The question is will the rest of us be allowed to protect others and ourselves from them?

We are resolved.

3. TinderBox


It’s probably pretty mundane to most people – a business that, according to the Indy Star “…provides software that allows companies to create, share and edit business proposals online…”


But it’s another up-and-coming venture Hoosiers can call their own. More importantly, TinderBox reminds us that while it can take time (the Broad Ripple company started in 2009) with the combination of the right and brightest people, a great idea, and hard work and perseverance, success is absolutely possible.

We’re always happy to see the launch of another Indiana entrepreneurial endeavor. You may not need what TinderBox does; they’re in a quite a niche. But that’s what creative, out-of-the-box and successful entrepreneurial ventures do – they find a niche that needs to be filled and go after it.

We are impressed.


4. Jhaqueil Reagan

Jhaqueil Reagan

The guy who decided it was worth it to walk ten miles for the opportunity to interview for a job. Wow. If any of us would make that kind of effort to accomplish what needs to be done, no doubt we would be more successful.

We are challenged.


Photo credit: Fox59

5. Mitt and Ann Romney

The interview by Fox News’ Chris Wallace with the Romney’s showed with candid and simple sincerity and a powerful realism that our country has missed out on, what we could have had.
Biased and partisan bitterness? Sure, I guess.1362150209353_png_CROP_rectangle3-large

We had hoped for a change in direction with someone who would come in with great know-how and solid experience.

Apparently, this view was and remains in the minority.

It is an obvious fact that if Barack Obama can do this job (properly done is debatable), then Mitt Romney certainly could have done it. Is anyone prepared to argue that he could not? Of course not.

Ann Romney says she is still not entirely over losing the White House and most importantly, their opportunity “to serve and make a difference.” This writer feels the same way. It’s hard not to regularly think, “WWMHD?”

Yet, this chapter in our nation’s life is past. The Romney’s will not run for the presidency again. That particular hope many – not enough, apparently – had is gone, not to return.

Who will it be for the conservatives in 2016? It’s anyone’s guess. One thing conservatives can bank on: very hard lessons were learned and will continue to be learned.

And a lot will happen in the next four years.

We judge this interview is worth taking in. So if you do, even if you are not a conservative and were not a Romney supporter, consider the kind of people they are and consider the quality of people our country always produces.

We are encouraged.


Bonus: Switchfoot’s This Is Your Life


Just a great song. Just a great album. And to get a little info on the background to this song, visit http://www.learning2breathe.com/tblsongs.html

We are thinking.

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Audrey Williams

Humanitarian. Pianist. Cellist. Teacher. Music Creator. Engineer


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