Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

Has this been a quick year or what?
Honestly....it is hard to fathom that this year is nearly gone.
In many ways it feels as if only a couple of months have past. This is a sure sign of growing old, or so I hear.

This Christmas found my wife slaving away on Christmas day at her job, and me trying to recouperate from 3 fiendishly long days as Santa at a local hotel (read last years comments for the details of what it is like being Santa).
The girls were up before the chickens and tore into their booty like the little love pirates they are.

Grace got a classical guitar and Joy got her stuffed animals of characters from the Lilo and Stitch movie, Angel and Skrump.
If you ask me, Skrump looks like a voodoo doll, but hey, I am not going to ruin the moment for Joy!
They also got a lot of clothes and couple of DVDs, new boots, jump ropes, etc...
Santa was pretty generous this year.
Wifey got a Bree (German made) leather bag that cost a small fortune but made her happy, and that makes me happy! I got a MP3 recorder for recording live music and I am too a happy camper. Seems that we all had a good Christmas....and look forward to resting in the new year.

My wife will no doubt start her open the windows-toss out my stuff, stuff soon...but I am thankful that I got a headstart on it today AND that the weather is unusually mild.
She can't freeze me out this time!

Blessings abound and in the middle of it there is still hardship. W's mom was diagnosed with liver cancer 3 weeks ago and is going to have to get a kidney transplant early in January. W's sister is donating a portion of hers. This will extend mom's life by 15 years of more, if successful.
Both will need extensive rest time after the operation too.
Your prayers are needed.

What else? I look out at the world, I see the machinations of the Bush regime trying to find pretext for war with Iran, oil companies making record profits, and Christ being taken out of Christmas.

I think we all need to take a long vacation. We need to spend time with our loved ones. We need to stop thinking about what we want to get, and give of ourselves and love a lot more.

Take time to take time. Forgive your enemies and yourself.

Start fresh.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Billy Joel in Concert

Wifey and I finally got to see Billy Joel in concert at the Fukuoka Dome. We had been waiting for almost 9 years to see this show and we got pretty darned good seats considering we were in the largest barn in Fukuoka Japan- 8th row back from the front. Not as great as it sounds...we were about 50 or 60 yards from the stage, to the left.

We decided to go, no matter what the cost. The way I figure it, a guy who likes to drink and drive and also has a passion for motorcycles (as Billy does), and a history of accidents...well....you might want to see him while you can!

What can you say about Billy that hasn't already been said? The concert was without a doubt one of the best I have ever been to in my life. He played almost every one of his major hits, but what really made me happiest was that he played a lot of the songs from his albums that I love-the ones that never had a chance on the charts but are etched in my mind as some of his very best. Songs like Billy the Kid, Vienna, Zanzibar....

Billy Joels concerts sound amazingly close to the studio recorded versions too, which in my mind is the hallmark of a true talent. I have only seen two other concerts like that in my life: one was Stevie Wonder, and the other was Joshua Redman.
For so many of todays pop stars, the artist is made in the studio. With Billy, you know the art was made in the studio by the artist.

My wife too seemed to be totally absorbed, enthralled, ecstatic. If you know her, these are not emotions she shows in public too much!

I came away thinking about the great talent that Billy joel is, how he has drawn so many fans from all ages into his often autobiographical tunes. He made us care about him and his trials, his loves, and we sang along all the way.

I came away thinking how odd it is that a man whom I have never met has touched my heart and made me care about everytown USA's Brenda and Eddie, or an Uptown Girl, or the eyes of his mother, Rosalinda.

How many people have actually done that in the history of American pop music? How many artists have you seen in concert that inspired you, moved you, to want to learn more about the person and where his music comes from?

Hats off to Bill.