Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Journey is the Journey

Photo: The Current Blog
A cryptic opening line by Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett at Sunday evening's concert at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. "The journey is the journey." He was dropping some major foreshadowing with that line. 

Looking around the theater, Eels fans were sporting plenty of facial hair—lots of men with beards. This made perfect sense once the Eels took the stage: an Indy rock band of white men with beards. Eels are a somewhat new band for me although they have been around since 1995. Based out of Los Angeles, Everett and his band, who he refers to as "the fellas," put on an amazing show. 

Despite too many songs off the recent "bummer" album, "The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett," and none from the upbeat "Wonderful, Glorious" album, Eels were electric. But the best part of the evening was saved for the third encore. Eels announced that a special guest would be joining them on-stage. A large bearded man in the balcony yelled out "Prince!" Everett quipped, "This is not a guessing game, but thanks for playing." Not Prince, but a singer whose songs we all knew and probably even heard that day. A singer who had not performed in public for over 20 years.

Who saunters onto stage singing Eels' song “It’s a Motherf****r,” but Journey singer Steve Perry. Yes, Steve Perry of the 80s band Journey!!! The crowd was on their feet. Women were screaming. Men were fist pumping the air. Ushers who stopped us from taking Eels videos pulled out their own iPhones and started recording.

Then Perry belted out the classic Journey hit "Open Arms." This is where it sort of hit me that Steve Perry was actually on the stage below singing "Open Arms" with that Steve Perry voice. He still has that incredible voice! I ditched the iPhone and listened. Perry closed out the concert with a lively “Lovin’ Touchin’, Squeezin’” that had the entire crowd of bearded men and the rest of us singing along. Even my 17-year old daughter was belting it out. 

I'm not quite sure how Mark Oliver Everett pulled this off but somehow he got Steve Perry, who hadn't performed since 1995, to share the third encore spotlight. I left thinking, did that really happen? Eels and Steve Perry. This was a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What You Can Do to Annoy a Terrorist on Mother's Day

What strikes fear in the heart of terrorists? Education. What is even more frightening? Girls getting an education. That's why the Taliban destroys schools in Afghanistan. Why do you think Malala Yousafzai was shot point blank in the head by the Pakistani Taliban? Simple, education. Miraculously she survived (much to the annoyance of the Taliban) and is now a worldwide symbol of the importance of girls education.

Girls getting an education is why Boko Haram did the deplorable—the kidnapping of 276 girls from their boarding  school in northeast Nigeria. It was strategic and calculated. Terrorist fear girls going to school, reading books, and forming their own opinions. They know this eventually leads to empowering women. These young women will learn about the world around them, leave their poor villages, contribute to economic growth by getting a job, and eventually not having as many children thus raising their own standard of living. Empowering women through education means loss of control for terrorists.

I have a 17-year old daughter. Do you? Can you imagine what these families are going through. Bring these girls home! Put all political differences aside this Mother's Day and annoy a terrorist. Give a $40 gift to Camfed.org to buy a school uniform for a girl. Contact your Member of Congress and urge them to pass the International Violence Against Women Act. Or show your support for those innocent girls and their families through #BringBack Our Girls. Let this ordeal end.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Ultimate Mother's Day Present

If you have not yet gotten Mom a gift yet, here is the solution. What does every Mom want that she just cannot get enough of? Very simple. Time. It's the ultimate gift. As a mother there is nothing more valuable than time. I write this from first-hand knowledge.

Hint, hint...time is the best gift. Giving the gift of time may be a bit perplexing because it is not something that can be bought at Nordstroms or ordered from Amazon.com. Time is such a simple gift to give, but it will require more work on the part of the giver.

Do something for yourself instead of having Mom do it for you. Take a moment to unload the dishwasher. Try to remember to bring home your Harriet Tubman book instead of asking Mom to drive you up to school yet again to retrieve it. Take a shot at doing your own laundry--that includes washing, drying, AND putting it away. Pick up all of the scattered pages of sheet music, mutes, CDs, and metronomes scattered about the music room. Forgo seeing your girlfriend for a couple of days so Mom won't have to drive you to and fro.

Mom will not only love receiving the gift of some free time, but best of all it is free! Love from Mom for a free Mother's Day gift? Brilliant idea! For this Mother's Day consider giving Mom a chance to rest, clear her mind for a few hours, and have some downtime all to herself. She will love you for this simple gift.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cheese Please

As part of the national campaign to cut the obesity rate of kids school lunches have been taking a hit. Over the past couple of years calories, sugar, and extras have been cut out of lunches. Earlier this year at my son's elementary school ketchup was cut. As expected this move was not popular amongst the kids under 12. The most recent cut to school lunches has prompted a backlash.

Sorry kids, no cheese on the cheeseburgers. Single slices of melted cheese on cheeseburgers are no longer offered. Cheese is deemed an unnecessary fat that is contributing to childhood obesity. Can you imagine how delicious that plain hamburger patty is without any cheese or ketchup? A slice of cheddar cheese and a dollop of ketchup are not making kids fat. They would be better off cutting out the bun. Carbs contribute to obesity, not the fat from a single of cheese.

Whoever is responsible for eliminating cheese from the school lunchroom menu is completely missing the point. Kids are not getting empty calories from school lunches. Those extra calories are coming from carbs they consume in pasta, cookies, and bread. The sugar from soft drinks, fruit juice, and breakfast cereals. Kids consume these extra calories at home, not at school.

My son Jack took up a petition to try and get cheese back on the cheeseburgers. He is collecting signatures from his fellow classmates, teachers, and paraprofessionals at his school. His list will eventually make its way to his school's administration and the district school board. If his petition fails, watch for a black market effort run out of his locker. He will be doling out ketchup packets and Kraft cheese slices for a price of course.