Saturday, October 4, 2008


Since I have listed favorite books and movies it would be logical to list favorite songs next. However, I am unable to make that list since there are simply too many favorite songs (compositions) to list.

I can list my favorite rock groups/artists: Eagles, Eric Clapton, Sting, Moody Blues, AC/DC, Doobie Brothers, The Who, Sheryl Crowe, Sarah McClauchlan, U2, Bon Jovi, The James Gang, Traveling Wilburys, Def Leppard, Pink Floyd.

But, I also like certain songs by Ozzie Osbourne (Mama, I'm Coming Home), Molly Hatchet (Dreams), Poison (Every Rose Has Its Thorns), Bare Naked Ladies (One Week), Foo Fighters (Learn to Fly) and many other songs and artists.

I enjoy Loreena McKinnet who is a Celtic singer, Eva Cassidy who defies classification (and was a favorite of Ted Koppel),George Winston, and Vince Geraldi's "Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack.

My parents enjoyed Russian composers and I grew up listening to anything Tchiakovsky, some Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Ravel and Verde were sometimes allowed to join the party.

I also grew up listening to show tunes and still know the lyrics to many of the songs from Sound of Music, The King and I, Oklahoma, South Pacific, West Side Story and the drinking song from the Student Prince.

Recently I have found Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman which brings me to opera. I cannot say I enjoy more than those at this point but it is a start in a new genre for me.

I do not begin to understand rap or hip hop although can appreciate the rhythm of some in small doses.

Last, but not least, I am a sucker for Christmas music. My favorite seasonal standards are Joy to the World, Noel, Hark the Herald, Once in Royal David's City, Oh Holy Night, and Do You See What I See. Mannheim Steamroller is a constant for me during December.

Music enhances my mood and can set my mood. It is tied to memories and fills in the blanks of a day.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Favorite Movies

Yesterday was favorite books; today is favorite movies.

Ferris Buehler's Day Off
Close Counters of the Third Kind
To Kill a Mockingbird
Mary Poppins
The Sandlot
The Sixth Sense
The Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge
Million Dollar Baby
My Fair Lady
Sound of Music
Moulin Rouge
The King and I
Fiddler on the Roof
Miracle on 34th Street
Beverly Hills Cop - both movies

Let me explain why some of these movies are on the list. Ferris Buehler and Beverly Hills Cop have rule breakers as the main character plus both have a sense of humor. Both aspects appeal to me.

The "old" musicals have a special place in my heart. I love the music and the simple story lines.

To Kill a Mockingbird and Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge are based on a movie/short story. Mockingbird is the only movie I liked almost as much as the book. Occurance is better than the book and this is the only time I have ever said that about a written piece over a movie.

When flipping through channels The Sandlot, Ferris Buehler, Grease and Beverly Hills Cop are movies I will always stop to watch AGAIN. There is something about them that I love.

I have watched many a mediocre movie but there are a few reallyreallyreally bad ones that come to mind:

The Weatherman
Vanity Fair
The Goofy Movie (I fell asleep)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Favorite Books

It is "Banned Book Week." I've written on this topic before so won't go into my opinion details again. However, I will celebrate reading by listing my favorite books. I have read a plethora of books in my adulthood and find reading my great escape. No money spent in a bookstore is wasted. Of all the books I have read, the following always stay with me:

Gone With the Wind (read it 5 times)
Atlas Shrugged (read it 3 times)
Brave New World
Ethan Frome
Winds of War/War and Rememberance
Of Mice and Men
To Kill a Mockingbird
In Cold Blood
Sons and Lovers
The Crucible (technically a play)
The Pearl
The Promise/The Chosen
Something Wicked This Way Comes

Others may come to mind after I publish this but these are ones that impacted me in some way.

Anyway, here's to reading --- banned or otherwise. Viva the first amendment!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Both Sides Now

I went to see Barack Obama last week. It was exciting to hear the lead in speeches by state politicians and a chill ran down my back when Obama came on stage. It was also energizing to talk to others who shared my political beliefs. The Resch Center was filled with 6,000 people who shared my political beliefs.

In Presidential elections Wisconsin votes for the Democratic candidate; Milwaukee and Madison are the Democratic strongholds. I live in a part of the state that is a Republican stronghold. The John Birch Society is based in Appleton, Joe McCarthy's bust is still in the Outagamie County courthouse, and the Republican Party originated in Ripon. So to be with 6,000 other Democrats was not only unusual but refreshing.

As irritated as I can get with some Republican viewpoints, I admit that if everyone thought alike it would be not only boring but unhealthy. The difference in opinions keeps discussion alive, a chance for compromise, an opportunity to look at other sides of an issue.

Financial Crisis

I have followed the financial crisis more intently than I typically follow any financial issue. I dislike meeting with my financial planner even though he is a friend and nice guy. I have a cursory knowledge of investments .... I choose not to try to understand more than necessary. I know who to call if I have questions and if issues arise.

However, the current situation demands closer attention on my part. Until today I was finding it interesting....a bit scary, but more interesting....Today, I am afraid to really concentrate on it because it seems worse than first imagined. While I would like to revert to my "let's live in fantasy land and not worry about such things" persona, this situation seems to call for a more grown up me. (Have I said I dislike reality?)

The basics of what I understand about the situation is this: lending giants irresponsibly made loans by speculating the worth of properties and when the housing market tanked they were shocked by their losses. These giants needed to fold because they had no money which means the stock market (which I can't even pretend to understand) dropped to all time lows and now credit for everyone has tightened. After watching an educational cartoon on CBS on how credit works and why/how it will be affected I can understant that this will impact us.

Now, I don't think tightening up credit a bit is a bad thing for most people. It seems we all rely too much on credit cards, spending beyond our means, etc. But, since the House failed to pass the bail out bill today it looks like the tightening will begin to bruise us. Again, I'm not sure how that will impact on me in particular but I sure have the gut feeling that it won't be good.

I can't even say whether I think it is good or bad to have the government (YOU and ME) bail out these institutions. Part of me finds it ridiculous that citizens have to help out .... as someone said, "It is the commoner helping out the aristocracy." I'd like to say let them go down. But, another part of me thinks that our country cannot afford to let these institutions fail because of the impact on the "commoner."

When I can't get my head around the issue is when I want to go into my happy little fantasy land. In that world there isn't even money . . .