Archive for April, 2008

friends

April 30, 2008

You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friends nose.

(anonymous)

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My friends make me laugh.  I have one friend, Keith, who (when he gets wound up) is better than T.V. 

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I’m not lackin’ in social graces

so lets get down to the Oasis

I’ve got friends in low places

(Garth Brooks)

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There are different types of friends out there.  My fair one has become my best friend.  She has a way of seeing me differently…  the way I want to be seen, accepting my limitations as a failure of nature.

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She’s got a way about her

I don’t know what it is

But I know that I can’t live without her.

She’s got a way of pleasin’

I don’t know why it is

But there doesn’t have to be a reason anyway.

(Billy Joel)

My business partner is also my friend.  We like and trust each other.  One will poke fun at the other and vice versa.  We work hard together without egos.  We enjoy our successes and support each other when times are rough.

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I’ll be there for you

(when the rain starts to pour)

I’ll be there for you

(like I’ve been there before)

I’ll be there for you

(‘Cause you’re there for me, too)

(the Rembrandts)

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We don’t get to pick our relatives, we accept them usually or reject them because of differences but  we are bound to them because of blood anyway.   We may not even like them. 

But I have relatives that I’m sure I would be friends with even if we were not related.  The fact that I do like them makes being family all the more sweet. 

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Give me your hand – I’d like to shake it

I want to show you I’m your friend

you’ll understand – if I can make it clear

It’s all that matters in the end.

Put it there – if it weighs a ton

that’s what the Father said to his younger Son.

I don’t care – if it weighs a ton

as long as you and I are here, put it there. 

(Paul Mc Cartney)

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The choosing of a friend is by mutual agreement.  You can’t call someone your friend if they run and hide every time you come near.  Likewise it would be difficult for them to lay claim to your friendship if you had never laid eyes on them.  The degree of friendship may not be equal between two parties, but the sentiment has to be shared to some extent.  It might not be a 50-50 arrangement due to circumstances like personality, politics or financial limits. 

But the old adage is true: in order to have a friend you have to be a friend.

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I had a friend who had friends by a river

they, too, had friends who had friends of their own.

(Terry Reid)

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I have friends who have friends that I am not privy to, and that is okay.  Having a friend doesn’t mean exclusive rights to their attention 24/7.  Obviously, if there are traits and characteristics that I see and admire others will no doubt see them to a greater or lessor degree.  Having someone as a friend doesn’t diminish their fine qualities, but enhances your own.  Some friends may not understand what you see in other friends which shows your own diversity.  How boring life would be if we surrounded ourselves with people that were all the same.

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From now on all my friends are gonna be strangers.

(Merle Haggard)

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True friends are hard to come by.  It seems when times are good there is no shortage, but when the chips are down you may find friends to be scarce.

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Once I lived the life of a millionaire

spent all my money, just didn’t care

took all my friends for a mighty good time

bought bootleg whisky, champagne and wine.

Then I began to fall so low

lost all my good friends, had nowhere to go

I get my hands on a dollar again

gonna hang on to it ’til that ol’ eagle grins

Cause, nobody knows you

when you’re down and out

in your pocket there’s not one penny

and as for friends, you don’t have any.

When you’re back on your feet again

everybody wants to be your long lost friend.

Said it’s mighty strange, without any doubt

nobody knows you when you’re down and out.

(Eric Clapton))

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Yeah, we’ve all heard of those “fair weather” friends.  

The old saying goes, “A friend in need is a friend in deed.”  Now does that mean a friend in “deed?” like he will earn your friendship or does it mean “indeed” like when he needs something from you… he is your friend indeed! hoping you’ll bail him out? 

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you never caught a rabbit

and you ain’t no friend of mine

(Elvis)

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The Bible says… “there exists a friend sticking closer than a brother.”  I have one of those… he’s called my life long friend.

Through thick and thin, through the miles and years, through disagreements and misunderstandings I’ve had this friend.  When we get together, how ever long we’ve been apart… we’ll pick back up again where we left off.  He hasn’t aged and neither have I, we’re still the same two guys but with just a little more experience.  When he talks, I listen.  My troubles are his troubles, his successes are my successes and vice versa.  We lost that competitive thing years ago, now we are just happy to be along in each others company.

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Lovely to see you again, my friend

walk along with me to the next bend.

(Moody Blues)

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It has been said that a person could count all his real friends on one hand, that the rest of the people we meet in life are just acquaintances.  I like the philosophy of everyone I meet being a potential friend and I think that is the key to friendship in general, being receptive to it. 

I have many friendships of varying degrees, but only one life long friend.  And…

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He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

(the Hollies)

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Life long friends…  on life’s sidelines cheering each other on.  Thanks, bro… for the good times then, now and those to come. 

peace… and vice versa

(scroll down)

                                                           

 

The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

April 30, 2008

THE HOLLIES – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

thanks, Perry…

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Lying

April 20, 2008

I had a friend who used to sell Amway.  Amway was an acronym for the American Way.  The company was founded on some basic products, mainly soap… organic soap.  I remember the stuff well because I went to several meetings.  Oh yes, they had meetings to discuss the quality of the soap and demonstrated how effective it was.  And it was!  Wow!  Never had I seen soap perform like this before!  It was a miracle!  And the cool thing was it was concentrated so it would just last and last.  I was enthralled with Amway products.  I thought everyone would be, too, and that was the gig.  When I went to the meetings I was schooled on how I could sell Amway and retire.  I could be an honest salesman because I believed in the product.  Good product, good price… no worries, right? 

All I had to do was bring in two people, who in turn would each bring in two people, who in turn would each bring in two people… and so on.  Since Amway was not available on store shelves, how was I supposed to get to my two people?  Well, that was the easy part.  All I had to do was convince my friends and relatives to join in the Amway sales team, (signing up under me… so I became a sponsor and gained credit for their sales.)  They could come to the meetings and learn about the product, become schooled into the process of bringing in their two people, who in turn each brought in two people, who in turn each brought in their own two people… and so on.

I got excited.  I loved the product and got all hyped up.  I scrounged enough money to buy the starter kit and went to work convincing my friends and relatives that they needed this soap in the worst way.  But I failed as an Amway distributor and I learned a valuable lesson from it.  Some people just don’t care that the soap that they are using is inferior, especially my friends and relatives which I decided were just plain ignorant.  They were holding me back from getting my first two people signed up, who in turn would each bring in two people, who would in turn each bring in two people…  and so on.  Then I could be on my way to financial freedom!  They were hampering my progress and closing their eyes to the potential of the Amway pyramid scheme.  I felt betrayed.

Time passed and a new product came on the market.  It was called Tupperware.  This was the greatest thing since Amway.  Imagine all the leftovers I could save in these little plastic boxes that would last indefinitely as long as I remembered to “burp” the container.  I went to several meetings at people’s homes and saw demonstrations of how Tupperware could save me money and right away I imagined all the people I knew that could benefit from this product.  It was a market miracle that was fair and honest.  The problem was… it wasn’t sold in stores.  You had to go to a “Tupperware party” to learn about and order your stuff.  I remember the hostess receiving “free” Tupperware for allowing the “party” to be held in her home.  It really wasn’t the type of “party” that I was accustomed to and I quickly decided that I didn’t even know two people that would be interested in food containers that you had to treat like a baby every time you put something in it.  If my friends and family couldn’t see the potential in organic soap I sincerely doubted they would buy into something made out of plastic no matter how good it was for them.

I love my friends and family.  But I know that they will never be the foundation I build my wealth upon.  As time has passed I have come to realize that if I know of a product that I personally can get good results from, I will buy it.  If my friends and family members see I am getting good results from it, they will inquire about how I did it.  The conversation might go something like this…

“Hey man!  How did you get your plastic food containers so clean?”

“Why… it was easy!  I used Brand X in my dishwasher!”

“Brand X?  Never heard of it!  How do I get some?”

“Well… I’m glad you asked!  Go down to your local Soap Mart and buy some!”

“Gee, thanks!”

And in doing so my friends still remain my friends and my relatives will still claim me as one of their own.

In all fairness, there are some companies that see the home sellers as the best way to represent their product.  A home demonstration can be more relaxed and the setting conducive to an individual families needs.  For example:  sometimes a product looks better under store lighting than the homeowners choice of illumination.  Once you get it home, the color may not match or the size might not be what you imagined.  Buying at home could remedy that situation.

But I have a hard time making money off my friends and relatives.  The conversation might go something like this:

“Hey Joe, I’m having a Tupperware Party at the house this Friday night.  Do you wanna come?”

“Well, I dunno… how much is it gonna cost me this time?”

“What do you mean, Joe?   If you bring two people and they buy Tupperware, then they each bring two people and THEY buy Tupperware, who in turn each bring two people and so on… you could get your Tupperware for free!”

“Gee… I never thought about it that way before.  Okay, I’m in.  But since I’m your brother and we have virtually the same relatives and friends… how am I ever going to retire?  Besides, we both live with Mom and Dad and they have enough Tupperware to fill the basement with!”

“Well, Joe… you just need to widen your social circle a little bit!”

“How am I going to do that?  Everytime I meet someone and ask them to come over to the house you try to sign them up for Tupperware!”

Nope.  I am just not the salesman type.  If I found a product that worked for me I couldn’t try and make money off of it at my friends or families expense.  I might talk about it, I might even rave and recommend it.  But if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d probably harbor a little resentment towards my host if the only reason he invited me over was to buy his stuff.  Then for me, the “party” would cease being a party. 

I wouldn’t know if I was being invited for me or for my sales potential.

And if I said I didn’t want to be a success, I’d be lying…  so,  if you as a reader could recommend this blog to two people, and THEY in turn each knew two people who in turn each knew two people… and so on.

peace.    

the Great American Boycott

April 17, 2008

I have no earthly idea what logic caused the industry to dye pistachio nut shells red… but I ate them anyway. I think back on some of the things I accepted without question and I realize that I have been fairly lucky in the fact that what was then unknown to me didn’t cause any permanent damage. But lately I have had a different prospective on things and what I have had the utmost confidence in has been shaken a bit. The shoe is on the other hand, someone has slipped a mickey into my mouse, my world has been turned outcenter safe.

The confidence I had was in my own logic, my ability to figure things out, to see things clearly without the benefit of evidence, doctrine or consequence. I relied on my intellect and humor. I was sure of my own level of compassion and savvy. In short, I was full of baloney. I wasn’t made aware of the power one individual can have over his own environment; physically, emotionally, spiritually until recently. My Fair One has indirectly caused an introspection in me.

I have a friend that immigrated from Denmark to the United States back in ’59 who remembers WWII very well (he was born in ’34.) He was in his native country during the war and is convinced to this day that Germany would have overtaken Denmark if the United States had not gotten involved when we did. In fact, he is sure that all of Europe would have succumbed to Nazi tyranny if not for Yankee ingenuity and intervention. He told me how he entered this country legally ( a declaration that seems all too uncommon these days) and how it took a year and a half for him to gain citizenship. Remember, this was back in the early 60’s.

As I listened to him talk about the love he had for this country with his thick accent still wonderfully intact, I found myself thinking how far we have come from that state of one generation ago. I wondered if we would ever regain that position again where people envied us, emulated us, wanted to be like us. Not take away from but add to us. Not demand what was not rightfully theirs, but earn what they wanted in a spirit of cooperation and trust.

I have heard radio talk show hosts slamming our past, saying things like the United States does not owe the world democracy or it is not up to us to “police” the world. As I recall that reasoning I have to think, if not us… who? Do we just roll up the red carpet, barricade the door, close our eyes and pray that everything works out fine? We have a responsibility not only to ourselves but to our neighbors and the Earth we live upon.

Not one of us chooses where we are born, it is virtually the luck of the draw. Poverty and ignorance in this new millennium is something we should not be turning a blind eye to, nor should oppression or abuse be tolerated by ANY government. But then… some people don’t play by the rules.

When jobs are outsourced by U.S. companies to foreign countries that are not forced to comply with the standards we have set for ourselves, it creates an unfair advantage. In the United States, we are required by law to pay a fair wage, pay insurances and taxes. We are also regulated for pollutants placed in the ground, air or water. We have safe working environments and are barred from discrimination. There are codes and inspections and accountability when things go haywire. There are recalls of product, notices to the public, health and safety issues that are closely monitored by our government. We enjoy fair trade practices and competitive pricing, we have selection and comparable alternatives to just about everything on the market. Except oil.

When Sam Walton came down off of Walton’s mountain his idea was to offer American made products when ever possible, along with the cheaper foreign made ones. It was a good approach because usually if you wanted a quality product it was American made. Somehow we got off the quality and went for the cheap. Walmart has come to be known as “Fall Apart.” I think we did it to ourselves.

We have gotten to the point in our society where the thinking is: cheaper is better. It is not. Cheaper is CHEAPER. Not safer, not quality, not long lasting, not good for you, and certainly… not better. If you were to have an operation as a matter of life or death, would you want a second rate doctor in a third class hospital with drugs past their expiration date and questionable sanitary methods? What if it were CHEAPER? Your insurance company would love to pay the least amount, but is it better for YOU?

I’d like to see us use the gift of GAB… a Great American Boycott, against countries that have taken quality out of the equation for the American consumer. #1 on my list would be China. We buy a lot of stuff from China that I’d like to give back to them. And the companies involved with China aren’t looking out for the people of the United States, they are looking at their bottom line… how much profit they are making. And we are at fault for allowing this to go on.

We should boycott products made in China, they suck as a nation and they suck as a manufacturer of goods. It is embarrassing for me as a contractor to pull out products that do not meet a quality that I can personally endorse and stand behind then try to convince my customer that this is the industry standard. The Great American Boycott would let their useless junk sit on the shelves until the companies that are trying to sell it realize that, “Hey, we ain’t sellin’ squat!” and decide to improve their product.

What logic put us in this inferior mode has got to be reversed. We should be willing to pay more. Our country was founded on the desire to have something better, not inferior. We have to regain some pride. Pride in workmanship, pride in ownership, pride in quality and a job well done.

When my friend from Denmark came to the United States back in ’59, we were the industrialized nation of the world. Made in the U.S.A. wasn’t just a slogan or an alternative product, we set the standard for quality… we wouldn’t accept anything less. People that immigrated here then wanted better, America offered better. Americans were proud of their country, themselves and their image/product. We need that pride back. We need the pride that says, “I’m not going to accept this, this is below my standard, I expect more… I want better… I DEMAND better!” If you buy something cheaper that doesn’t last as long as a product of quality can you honestly think you are saving money in the long run?

Read the label, where does it come from? Do you want to indirectly support a country that oppresses it’s people? You wouldn’t knowingly buy from and/or support a terrorist… would you?

The gift of GAB… the Great American Boycott, power to the consumer… you and me.

Boycott China… start today.

(p.s. Pistachio nuts are dyed red or green to hide the fingerprints of the pickers. Apparently oil from human skin stains the shells. Today modern machinery does most of the picking and thus… less dyed nuts!)

peace.

Why Obama?

April 12, 2008

Oo my little witty one, sittin’ pretty one

is what you say such a crime, Obama?

make a presidential run, presidential run

they’ll pick on every line, Obama

Never gonna stop, or say too much, someone’s gonna whine

’cause it seems you’re in touch with the younger mind

Why-ee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo!

Wa wa wa  why Obama!

Move a little closer, over here

is that the truth in your eyes, Obama?

Hey what’s the mystery, it’s plain to see

he’s gonna win the first prize, Obama!

Never gonna stop, or say too much, someone’s gonna whine

’cause it seems you’re in touch with the younger mind

Why-ee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo!

Wa wa wa why Obama

Wa wa wa why Obama

When you gonna shut ’em down, shut ’em down

ain’t it a matter of time, Obama?

Is it a destiny, a destiny

Or is it just a game to unwind, Obama?

Never gonna stop, or say too much, someone’s gonna whine

’cause it seems you’re in touch with the younger mind.

Why-ee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo!

Wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa

Why-ee ey-ee by-ee ahee ah woo!

Wa wa wa why Obama

Ooooh why Obama?

 

The Knack – My Sharona (movie version)

April 12, 2008

My Sharona – The Knack (movie version)

Mmmm..mm..ma. ma..ma my Obama!

Cheney’s Sunglasses: not a Rosie reflection!

April 11, 2008

Oh boy!  As if there isn’t enough suffering in the world, we gotta wonder if our Vice-President is looking at porn!  For those of you not up with the latest flap, Dead-eye Dick has an image reflected in his sunglasses that (rumor has it) shows the reflection of a naked woman.  I guess the question is, why is this an issue?  Now if it was a reflection of Rosie O’Donnell it might be a little weird (but wait! doesn’t he have a daughter that is gay?) Hmm… (ever notice that every picture you see of Rosie she has her mouth open?  Why is that?)

With all the crap going on in the world and with Dick Cheney in general, I say, “What’ the big deal?”  Dick’s character has been run through the coals lately, which seems to go with the territory when you are a VICE-(get it?) President, so it is refreshing to see that Dick might be human after all.  Maybe what Dick was actually wearing were X-ray specs.

I remember when I was a kid there were these glasses being sold as “x-ray specs” that gave the “illusion” of seeing through things.  They didn’t work too well but the whole idea of having x-ray eyes became rather appealing to my cousin and me.  We had all kinds of ideas on how to use the things and 99.9% involved members of the opposite sex. 

Meanwhile, I’ve been wondering what Dick might have been thinking while he was looking through his “x-ray specs.”  Was he actually looking for WMD and somehow got sidetracked?  Was he scouting out new frontiers for his friends at Halle Berry Burton and somehow got sidetracked?  Was he looking deep into the souls of potential running mates for Senator McCain and somehow got sidetracked?  Could he have been somehow sidetracked and accidentally focused on a shapely intern?

I think it is wonderful that Dick might be interested in naked women.  Our political leaders should have enough lead in their pencil to be able to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s.”  I guess since he has tried to maintain a low profile here lately (it is an election year)  the thing with the naked lady lens is probably a bit embarrassing.  (pardon my pun)

Maybe it is just a thing our society has, like seeing the man sitting on the stone in that Mars photograph or Jesus’ image in a french fry, we are always looking for things that are not there.  What would be REALLY weird?  A picture of Rosie wearing sunglasses with a reflection of a nude Dick Cheney!  (with her mouth open, of course)  That would be an issue of the National Enquirer that I would most certainly have to buy, or at least… scan while waiting in the check out.

X-ray specs, anyone? 

peace.    

The Beatles – And I Love Her

April 8, 2008

The Beatles – And I Love Her

classic beauty for my classic beauty… and I love her.

songs to play at your funeral

April 7, 2008

I was talking to my business partner the other day, bantering on like we do sometimes and he came out of the blue with a statement that made me think, which is a rarity.  Not… he making a statement to make me think, but me thinking in general. 

“I want that song played at my funeral.”  He said it seriously.

I was only half listening before, you know how you do.  Your mind on something else and you’re giving token lip service and a few head nods just to keep yourself in the conversation then all of a sudden something serious makes your ears perk up and you say…  

“What song?”

“Walking on the Moon.”

“By the Police?”

“Yeah.”

“You mean… la la la, ‘I hope my legs don’t break… walkin’ on the moon…’ that song?”

“Yeah, have you ever listened to the words… it’s great.”

“For your funeral?”

“Yeah.” and he commenced singing the song until I said, “I could come up with a better song than that!”

“Let’s hear it.” 

So I thought for a moment.  “‘My Way” by Sinatra?”

“Naw, everybody chooses that one.”

“Yeah, and if I had ‘my way’ I probably wouldn’t be dead.”

“Yeah.”

“How ’bout, “Lord Have Mercy on My Soul” by Black Oak Arkansas?”

“Mmm… might be okay.”

“How about, ‘”Long As I Can See the Light”‘ by Creedence?”

So I started, “Put a candle in the window… ’cause I feeeeeel I got to mooooove…”

He said, “Yeah, that’s a good one.” 

I said, “I’m sure there are others better than ‘Walkin’ on the Moon’, that’s just silly.” 

He said, “I like that song.” 

“For your funeral?”

“Yeah.” 

I said, “I’m going to write about this.” 

He said, “Cool.”

Perhaps this conversation would have just faded into the gray, foreboding topics of morbidity that one would sooner forget about but my mind (and you know how my mind works) just wouldn’t let it be.  Especially when my own true love had just mentioned a day or two before (when I was only half listening, giving token lip service and a few head nods to keep me in the conversation) that SHE wanted that song played at her funeral.  No, not ‘Walking on the Moon’.  But a song I hadn’t heard of before called, “Time to Say Goodbye” by Sarah Brightman.

“Is it sad?”  I asked.

“Of course it’s sad, silly.”  She replied. (I marvel at her wisdom)

“Why would you want to play a sad song at your funeral?  Isn’t the funeral sad enough?”  I asked, rather proud of my logic.

“Because it is a beautiful song.”  She assured me.  ( I am so taken by her sentiment)

So I seriously started to think of songs that might be appropriate for MY funeral, which… by the way… is a LONG ways from now, a long… long ways… like hardly worth mentioning now because it is like… way far away from this very moment here that we are talking about.  Like years, decades from now…

Anyway, I thought of Tina Turner’s song, “Unlucky Creature” which I thought would be very self serving and make everybody feel guilty and wish they had treated me better.

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“Just call me an unlucky creature….

and when I die, dig no hole for my grave. 

Just cremate my body… and throw the ashes to the sea,

’cause nobody ever cared about me.”

Oh… boo hoo, but you get the idea.  Beautifully sung with a lot of emotion as only Tina could do.

Then I thought of an old, obscure Roger Miller song called, “One Dyin’ and a Buryin'” which is about a suicide… a man that has lost his love and can’t face the world without her.

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“One dyin’ and a buryin’

one dyin’ and a buryin’.

Some cryin’

six carryin’ me…

I wanna be free.”

.

But again, that is another “make the attendees feel bad song” and funerals should be about remembering the good times with/and the good traits of that person who has just kicked the bucket.  I thought of that song, “Whiskey Lullabye.”  (I have a copy of that on iTunes by Allison Krause and Brad Paisely) but there again… tearjerker.  “He Stopped Lovin’ Her Today” by George Jones would no doubt bring the house down.

I listened to my lover’s choice on Youtube.  While I didn’t understand most of it, the sentiment is very strong and she is right (I love it when she is right, which is most of the time… well, ALL the time) it is a very beautiful song.

So… what to play, what to play… I don’t know if I could choose one song to fit the mood of my being dead, because I’ve never actually been dead before.  “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” by Country Joe and the Fish might be appropo except I’d all ready be dead.  I can just hear the people in attendance thinking, “Why did he pick that song?  He’s all ready dead!”  (When you’re dead you can hear people’s thoughts)  Besides, he doesn’t actually sing, “feel like I’m fixin’ to die” it’s just the title of the song.  

I like “Sweet Chile O’ Mine” (the Sheryl Crow version) but that’s not really a funeral song, is it?  I mean, “Where do we go now?” is something I should have been thinking of long before my funeral.  I wondered about some song by Elvis but couldn’t think of anything except, “Hunka hunka Burnin’ Love” and for some reason I didn’t think “burnin'” would go over too well.  I love Roy Orbison’s song, “In Dreams” but then thought better of it because of the line, “But just before the dawn, I awake to find you gone…”  which doesn’t leave enough finality in it because it might lead the listener to believe I might pop back up at any minute.  I’d been leaning towards “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” by Bod Dylan because of the refrain, “oh… momma, could this really be the end?”  Besides, it’s about 10 minutes long and if I am limited to one song to sum up my entire existence I want it to be a marathon.

But seriously, songs to play at your funeral might be the next compilation CD!  Think about it and let me know your selections.

Make mine, “And I Love Her” by the Beatles.

peace. 

 (Sarah Brightman appears below)

Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman – Time To Say Goodbye

April 7, 2008

Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman – Time To Say Goodbye

for my true companion