Tag Archives: John Lennon

Light Up the Holidays with Rachel Cole

We are all about holiday music in our house. Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, we start listening exclusively to Christmas tunes; this lasts until New Years Day when we switch back to our regular playlists. There are two exceptions during this time: November 29 when we honor the life of the late great George Harrison by playing his entire catalogue and December 8, when we pay homage to the brilliance of John Lennon with his oeuvre.

Otherwise, we’re fa-la-la-la-la’ing and oh-by-gosh-by-golly’ing 24/7.

This is all festive and merry for a good, say, two or three weeks.

It’s usually around this time that I get a little weary of marshmallow worlds, reindeers running over grandmas and Christmas shoes. In other words, the same old, same old.

Not this year.

On heavy rotation is “Light Up the Holidays” by Rachel Cole, her fifth studio album that celebrates several of the light-filled holidays that so many of us enjoy during the cold, dark Winter months.

“We’re living in a very divisive time right now,” Rachel says, adding that her intent with this album was to bring people together through music. “The focus is on the celebrations that we all share during the Winter months, honoring and recognizing our similarities rather than our differences.”

(Full disclosure time: Rachel has been a personal friend of mine since our high school days. She and her husband Jason are exceptional people. They’re incredibly generous, kind, and are the kind of folks who just radiate love and goodness. They — along with their kids and Rachel’s parents — are some of my favorite people in the world. I love them. So, yeah, she’s a friend but one who just so happened to be nominated for “Best New Artist” at the New Music Weekly Awards in Hollywood, among her many other accomplishments.)

“Light Up the Holidays” is an upbeat, pop and jazz inspired collection of music that includes covers of standards such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and  “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” alongside three of Rachel’s original compositions. “Savor the Joy”, “‘Tis the Season” and “Hanukkah is Here” are excellent additions to any holiday playlist.

Along with Rachel’s talented lead vocals (she also plays piano and strings on this album), “Light Up the Holidays” features several other accomplished musicians and singers. Among them are Peter Vantine (piano, keyboard, strings, arrangements), Peter Tentindo (guitar, vocals, arrangements), Lou Spagnola (bass), Tom Major (drums and percussion), Peter Levesque (saxophone), Jacyn Tremblay (backup vocals), Lily Horst (making her studio recording debut on this album with backup vocals), Rory Martinelli and Kenny Lewis (producer, sound engineer, mixing engineer, mastering). Rachel and her husband Jason Cole duet on “Let It Snow.”

Here’s how to get your own copy of “Light Up the Holidays”:

Entire album “Light Up the Holidays” is available now at:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/rachelcole
www.rachelcolemusic.com
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2dxBrAPb0BQbhOEYigLbMG
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/…/album/light-up-the-ho…/1311089172

And here’s a YouTube clip of Rachel’s “Jingle Bells/Dreidle Song” mashup which is included on “Light Up the Holidays.”

“The holiday season is a time of gathering together with family and friends and bringing light into the darkness of December,” Rachel said. “It is my hope that this album and its music will be a light to you, the people you love, and to the world around us all days.” 

 

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Guest Post from The Husband: 30

New York City, as seen from atop Rockefeller Center
August 6, 2010 – not so great photo taken by me 

An encore post, written by The Husband on December 8, 2010. 

It was, of course, impossible that I would not write today about John Lennon. With Yoko’s much-welcomed focus on John’s 70th birthday – as opposed to today’s 30th anniversary of his murder – John has been in the news a great deal this fall, and that is good. I saw recently the incredibly well-done documentary by filmmaker Michael Epstein [no relation – despite the irony – to Beatles manager Brian Epstein]. Among the many fantastic things about LennoNYC is how Lennon’s murder is handled. While acknowledged – and how could it not be – there is no mention of Mark David Chapman, nor any mention of the shooting with the exception of Yoko’s incredibly poignant, “He was an artist. Why would you kill an artist?”

Still, the reality is that there is no way to consider John’s life in its entirety without recounting that night 30 years ago. Unfortunately, for a good number of those who have ever lived – particularly the famous – their lives are largely seen through the prism of their deaths. Just off the top of my head I can think of Elvis Presley, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Michael Jackson, Liberace, Rock Hudson, John Belushi….. When you think of their lives, invariably it is through the lens of how their lives ended moreso than how those lives they were lived. That is just the way it is.

So, on this 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination [and, let’s be clear, that’s what it was. Many mistakenly believe that ‘assassination’ is only the murder of political leaders. The Webster’s definition of ‘assassination’ is, “to kill suddenly or secretively; to murder premeditatedly and treacherously”], I’m compelled to write about December 8, 1980.

I’ve written before about the last day of John Lennon’s life. The last hour of his life, however, is the focus of today’s post.

The evening of December 8, 1980 was about to become a painful one for Alan Weiss. Weiss was working for WABC-TV in New York City and won two Emmys before his 30th birthday. After a long day at work, he jumped on his motorcycle and headed home.

The evening of December 8, 1980 was the end of a 30-hour shift for Dr. Stephan Lynn, head of the Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Room in New York City. He was exhausted and looking forward to sleep. He headed home for a quick hug of his wife and two young daughters and a nice warm bed.

The evening of December 8, 1980 was just beginning for New York City Police Officers Pete Cullen and Steve Spiro, who did the night shift on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Not necessarily a ‘cush’ job, but better than 99% of the other ones available to a New York City cop in 1980.

The night of December 8, 1980 was a typical one for Jay Hastings, working as a doorman at the Dakota. Earlier that night, a friend of one of his highest profile residents, John Lennon, had stopped by to drop something off for the former Beatle. Hastings had seen Bob Gruen with John Lennon just a few days ago, so he took the package and promised Gruen that he would give it to John when he returned that evening. Police would later open the package – as part of their investigation – to find it containing some tapes of the The Clash that John had asked Gruen to make for him [Gruen had told John that he would love The Clash and John “wanted to take a listen”], as well as some of the negatives from a photo session Gruen had done with John and Yoko two days earlier. All of that would be later, however. For now, though, all was quiet as Hastings watched Monday Night Football on a tiny black and white television propped up on the counter of the front desk.

The lives of these five men would converge unexpectedly and suddenly in a violent collision with the last night of John Lennon’s life.

The night of December 8, 1980 was the completion of a task Mark David Chapman had set out to accomplish a month earlier. He’d come to New York in November 1980 to kill John Lennon but got cold feet and returned home to Hawaii. He was back now and determined to finish what he’d set out to do. It was an unusually warm evening for early December in New York City. Despite that, Chapman stood patiently in the dark outside the Dakota wearing a winter’s coat – attire not suited for Hawaii but perfect for the conditions that he thought he’d find in December on the East Coast. Chapman carried a well-worn copy of The Catcher In the Rye, the J.D. Salinger tale of disaffected youth. In his pocket was a five-shot Charter Arms .38-caliber revolver – the ammunition provided by an unsuspecting old friend of Chapman’s from Alabama, whom the 25-year old Chapman had suddenly visited in October 1980.

The evening of December 8, 1980 was a pleasant and accomplished one for John Lennon. The day had been hectic – a photo session with photographer Annie Leibovitz, a three-hour interview with R.K.O. Radio, and a five-hour session at the Hit Factory Record Studios to tweak a song by Yoko called “Walking on Thin Ice”.

As John and Yoko’s rented limousine stopped on 72nd Street at the ornate gate of the Dakota [John had told the driver to stop there rather than inside the courtyard – and past Chapman – which was more the standard route on a cold December evening….which this was not], Lennon grabbed the reel-to-reel tapes of the evening’s sessions, placed them under his arm, and followed Yoko out of the car. It was 10:50 pm.

Yoko had wanted to stop for a bite to eat at The Stage Deli, but John wanted to go home. So, as they emerged from the limo, John strode ahead of Yoko as they entered the gate. He was eager to check in on his 5-year old son, Sean. While the boy would [hopefully] be asleep, John hadn’t seen him for a few days, as Sean had spent the weekend with his nanny’s family in Pennsylvania. After that, John would go into the kitchen to get a bite to eat – knowing that, as usual when the kitchen door opened, his three cats would come bounding forward to greet him.

There is some dispute as to whether Chapman really said, “Mr. Lennon?!” as he stepped out of the shadows about five strides after John had passed him unseen. For years that was the story; recently, though, Chapman has said he said nothing. It is possible, in fact, that he is right. John never stopped walking, nor did he turn around – headed instead in the direction of the door some 50 feet away. Had his name been called so loudly and unexpectedly in the dark of night, one would assume that the startled Lennon would have turned to face the sound.

What is indisputable is that Chapman now stood in a combat stance a few feet from Lennon and Ono with his handgun leveled at the back of John’s midsection. Very quickly, Chapman fired four bullets, three of which which pierced John from the back through the lungs, the chamber around his heart, and his shoulder. The fourth missed John and hit the glass window by the the front door of the complex.

Although at first in shock, John immediately knew what had happened and screamed, “I’m shot!” Despite a massive loss of blood – even in just the few seconds that had passed – John started to jog forward toward the door. He stumbled up the steps and fell face first onto the marble lobby floor in the foyer, breaking his glasses. Somehow, the reel-to-reel tapes he’d been carrying had stayed lodged under his arm. They now crashed to the floor beside his glasses.

Startled by the broken glass – initially he’d assumed the firing of the gun to be a car backfiring – doorman Hastings ran from behind the desk just as Lennon came stumbling through the door. Despite the blood and his own shock, Hastings knew immediately that the grievously wounded man at his feet was John Lennon, as Yoko quickly came to the door at a gallop screaming. Hastings rang the alarm that connected the Dakota to the police. He then went back to John and instinctively removed his jacket and placed it over John’s crumpled torso. Also instinctively, although he was unarmed, Hastings ran out the door to approach the shadowy figure 50 feet away who was still in a combat position. Although the gun was still in Chapman’s hands, he’d lowered his arm to his side with gun pointed toward the ground. Incredulous, Hastings approached Chapman and screamed, “Do you know what you just did?!”.

“I just shot John Lennon,” Chapman replied softly.

Within minutes after Chapman opened fire, Officers Cullen and Spiro were the first to answer the report of shots fired at the Dakota. As he got out of the patrol car, Cullen was struck by the lack of movement: the doorman, a Dakota handyman who had run out of his basement apartment at the sound of Lennon’s body hitting the floor above him, and the killer, all standing as if frozen.

“Somebody just shot John Lennon!” the doorman finally shouted, pointing at Chapman.

“Where’s Lennon?” Cullen asked. Hastings pointed to the nearby vestibule in which John – with blood pouring from his chest – lay dying. Cullen ran to Lennon’s side as Spiro threw Chapman against the stone wall and cuffed him.

Two other officers soon arrived to lift John up and take him to a waiting police car. As they did, one of the officers would recall his stomach sickening as he heard the unmistakable cracking of Lennon’s shoulder blade as they lifted him up, the bones shattered by a bullet. As they were carrying him to the waiting police car, Lennon vomited up blood and fleshy tissue.

With Lennon placed gingerly on the backseat of the patrol car, one of the officers jumped into the back to hold his head while the other two officers jumped in the front seats and sped downtown to Roosevelt Hospital, located exactly one mile away. In the midst of the chaos, Cullen spotted Yoko Ono. “Can I go, too?” she asked as her husband disappeared. A ride was quickly arranged.

Cradling Lennon’s head, the officer in the backseat of the speeding patrol car looked into John’s glassy eyes. Breathing heavily, with the gurgling of blood audible to all in the car, Lennon was fading. The officer tried to keep Lennon conscious, screaming at him. “Do you know who you are?!?! Are you John Lennon?!” John – who, with the other Beatles had popularized the ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ phrase 16 years earlier – uttered what would be his last word: “Yeah….” He then lost consciousness and his breathing stopped.

Meanwhile, back at the Dakota, Officers Spiro and Cullen were trying hard to remain professional. Avid Beatles fans, both had often seen John, Yoko and Sean walking the neighborhood. Although they’d never spoken to John, both felt as though this was a family member or friend that Chapman had just shot. Trying to control the urge to hit Chapman, Spiro thought of the only thing he could think of: “Do you have a statement?!” Chapman pointed with his cuffed hands down to the ground nearby where his copy of Catcher in the Rye lay. Spiro opened the book and saw the inscription, “This is my statement.” Spiro fell into a brief shocked daze at the scrawl. He was startled back into reality when Chapman – answering a question that hadn’t been asked – said, “I acted alone.”

Cullen and Spiro then roughly loaded Chapman into their car for a trip to the 20th Precinct. “He was apologetic,” Cullen recalled in a 2005 interview – but not for shooting Lennon. “I remember that he was apologizing for giving us a hard time.”

Nearby, unnoticed and – for the next 12 hours, untouched – was the copy of Double Fantasy that Lennon had signed for Chapman 6 hours earlier. Chapman had placed it in a large potted plant at the side of the gate, where it would be inadvertently discovered by one of the scores of officers who would be called to the Dakota for crowd control as word of Lennon’s shooting spread.

Thirty minutes earlier, Dr. Stephan Lynn’s 30-hour shift had ended at 10:30 p.m. He had literally just walked through the door and sat down on the sofa when his phone rang. Picking it up, a nurse asked him if he could come back to the hospital to help out. A man with a gunshot to the chest was coming to Roosevelt.

Lynn walked back out the door and hailed a cab to the hospital.

Meanwhile, at Roosevelt Hospital at that moment, TV producer Weiss was lying on a gurney wondering how his night had turned so shitty so quickly. An hour earlier, Weiss’ Honda motorcycle had collided head on with a taxi. Somehow, Weiss seemed to have escaped with what he suspected to be cracked ribs. It was as he was lying on the gurney in an emergency room hallway contemplating his ruined evening and awaiting x-rays that Weiss was about to get the news scoop of a lifetime.

BOOM! The doors of the hallway where Weiss lie burst open with a gunshot victim on a stretcher carried by a half dozen police officers, who passed Weiss as they brought the victim into a room nearby. As doctors and nurses flew into action, two of the police officers paused alongside Weiss’ gurney. “Jesus, can you believe it?” one officer rhetorically asked the other. “John Lennon?!”

Weiss was incredulous. He immediately rose from the gurney and grabbed a nearby hospital worker. Realizing he couldn’t walk, Weiss shoved $20 into the man’s hands and told him to call the WABC-TV newsroom with a tip that John Lennon was shot. As it turned out, the money disappeared, and the call was never made.

Five minutes passed. Weiss was suddenly doubting the news instincts of the bribed hospital worker. As he was contemplating this, Weiss was started by what he later described as a strangled sound. “I twist around and there is Yoko Ono on the arm of a police officer, and she’s sobbing,” Weiss recalled in a 2005 interview.

With the sight of Yoko, Weiss decided he had to make the call to WABC-TV himself. He finally persuaded a police officer to help him up and walk him to a hospital phone, under the ruse that he had to call his wife to tell her he was in the hospital. Instead, out of earshot of the officer, Weiss reached the WABC-TV assignment editor with his tip around 11 p.m. Before hanging up the phone with Weiss, the editor on the other end of the phone was able to check and confirm a reported shooting at Lennon’s address.

All the while, Lynn and two other doctors were working on the victim. The man lying on the table had no pulse, no blood pressure, and no breathing. Lynn did not know that the man on the table in front of him was John Lennon. “We took his wallet out of his pocket,” Lynn recalled in 2005. “The nurse immediately chuckled and said, ‘This can’t be John Lennon’. Because it didn’t look anything like John Lennon.”

Whether or not it was Lennon, Lynn was not quite sure. What he did know, though, was that, “He was losing a tremendous amount of blood,” Lynn remembered. “And he had three wounds in his chest. We knew we had to act quickly. We started an IV, we transfused blood. We actually did an operation in the emergency department to try to open his chest to look for the source of the bleeding. We did cardiac massage – I literally held his heart in my hand and pumped his heart – but there was complete destruction of all the vessels leaving his heart.”

After 25 minutes, the three doctors gave up. The damage was too great. Lennon was dead. Lynn recalled that Chapman’s marksmanship was extraordinary. “He was anamazingly good shot,” Lynn recalled. “All three of those bullets in the chest were perfectly placed. They destroyed all of the major blood vessels that took the blood out of the heart to all of the rest of the body.” As a result, “there was no way circulation of blood could take place in this man and there was no way that anyone could fix him.”

Weiss continued watching in disbelief as the doctors frantically worked on Lennon. It took him a moment to realize the song that was playing on the hospital’s Muzak system – the Beatles’ “All My Loving.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Lynn made the long walk to the end of the emergency room hallway where Yoko was waiting in a room with record mogul David Geffen, who had rushed to the hospital after receiving a call that John had been shot. It was now Lynn’s job to deliver the word that John Lennon, Yoko’s soulmate and spouse, was dead.

“She refused to accept or believe that,” Lynn recalled. “For five minutes, she kept repeating, `It’s not true. I don’t believe you. You’re lying.”‘ Lynn listened quietly. “There was a time she was lying on the floor, literally pounding her head against the concrete, during which I was concerned I was going to have a second patient,” Lynn remembered. “Many, many times she said, ‘You’re lying, I don’t believe you, he’s not dead,’ ” he added. “[Geffen] was helpful in getting her to calm down and accept what had happened. She never asked to see the body, and I never offered. She needed to get home [to tell Sean], and she did.”

By the time Yoko left the hospital, Weiss’ tip had been confirmed and given to Howard Cosell, who told the nation of Lennon’s death during Monday Night Football…..which was still on the screen of the little black and white television on doorman Hastings’ front desk counter.

This brought a throng of reporters to Roosevelt Hospital, leaving Lynn to inform them that Lennon was gone. “John Lennon…,” Lynn began before pausing for a moment. He then went on, “….was brought to the emergency room of St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital…He was dead on arrival.” With that, a collective groan emanated from the normally cynical assembled media.

After finishing with the media, Lynn returned to the emergency room. Thinking remarkably clearly – and with great foresight – Lynn arranged for the disposal of all medical supplies and equipment used on Lennon – a move to thwart ghoulish collectors. “I said, ‘Not a piece of linen with Mr. Lennon’s blood is to leave this department except in a special bag,’ ” Lynn recalled. “I had to tell the nursing staff that they could not sell their uniforms, which might have been stained with John Lennon’s blood.” He personally supervised the disposal of everything.

By the time Lynn was done, it was 3 am. He decided to walk home, heading up Columbia Avenue. “I was afraid that someone would run up to me and say, ‘You’re the doctor who didn’t save John Lennon and allowed him to die,’ ” Lynn said.

On the 25th anniversary of the murder, Lynn stated that he believed that – despite medical advances in the previous quarter century – John’s gunshot injuries would still be untreatable today. “There was no way of repairing that damage then and, to my knowledge, there’s no way to repair that amount of damage today,” Lynn said. “There was absolutely nothing we could do.”

For days afterward, up in Apartment 72 of the Dakota, whenever the kitchen door opened, three cats came bounding forward to greet a man who was no longer there…..

I am an Amazon.com Affiliate. Making a purchase via any of the Amazon.com links on The Betty and Boo Chronicles will result in my earning a small percentage in commission, which will be used to support the upkeep of this blog, as well as the real-life versions of Betty and Boo. Thank you! copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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He Still Shines On, Like the Moon and the Stars and the Sun

New York City as seen from the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center)
on an incredibly balmy and perfect summer’s night, August 6, 2010.
Photo taken by me.

 

“‘How are you? How’s your relationship goin’? Did you get through it all? Wasn’t the seventies a drag, you know? Here we are, well let’s try to make the eighties good, you know?’ ‘Cause it’s still up to us to make what we can of it. It’s not out of our control. I still believe in love, peace; I still believe in positive thinking – when I can do it. I’m not always positive, but when I am, I try to project it …. Because we survived! That’s the thing. You have to give thanks to God, or whatever it is up there, the fact that we all survived. We all survived Vietnam, or Watergate, or the tremendous upheaval of the whole world that’s changed…we…we were the hip ones in the sixties, but the world is not like the sixties. The whole map’s changed. And we’re goin’ into an unknown future, but we’re still all here. We still…while there’s life there’s hope ….”
“I always considered my work one piece, whether it be with Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, Yoko Ono…and I consider that my work won’t be finished until I’m dead and buried, and I hope that’s a long, long time. “

John Lennon, during what nobody could have imagined would be his final interview, on December 8, 1980.

originally posted here on the blog 12/8/2010.  

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Going Gaga for Greyson Chance

“Am I supposed to know who Greyson Chance is?”

This was my Facebook status one Friday evening in August, typed on my Blackberry as I stood in a throng of ladies once, twice, even three times Greyson Chance’s tender age of 12. (He has since left the tweens for the teens.)

I had a pretty good spot for what turned out to be a little concert by Greyson himself, appearing live at BlogHer ’10 in New York City.

Judging from the hysteria of the paparazzi-like women around me, I was clearly the only person who needed a lifeline from her Facebook peeps to find out who I was watching on stage … and why grown women were screaming for this kid as if he was a Beatle. (I’d never heard of the previous night’s entertainer either, which was Gavin DeGraw.) And even worse than not knowing Greyson or Gavin? Greyson’s performance of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” would be the very first time I would hear that song … and, for that matter, my first Lady Gaga song. 

(You people who wonder how I am able to read and blog so much? This is the trade-off, being the biggest loser about America’s greatest talents right in my midst.)

I could only stay for a few songs, as a night at Top of the Rock called, but I came away suitably impressed – not to mention a a little squeamish when Greyson remarked (in this photo here) that he was thrilled to be at BlogHer with more than 2,500 women.
Dude. You’re freakin’ twelve, for goodness sakes. (Know any Simon and Garfunkel tunes? I’ll start one off for ya … and here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know, wo wo wo)

Still, I came away thinking that the kid really does have talent – and I enjoyed listening to him. He seems like a nice, regular, down-to-Earth kid who hasn’t let the attention of a zillion YouTube hits (OK, only 28 million) go to his head. Yet.  Plus, I am impressed that he counts Elton John and John Lennon among his musical influences – as opposed to, say, Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.

So, fast forward three months later and I’m in the car with my own kids (a mere four years younger than Greyson) and “Waiting Outside the Lines” comes on Radio Disney.

“Oh, wow, that’s Greyson Chance!” I exclaimed to Betty and Boo. “Remember when I went to New York, in the summer? I saw him perform.”

“You went to his concert?” Boo said.

“Well, sort of, yeah ….”

“You met him?”

“No, I didn’t meet him, but I was really close to him at the concert.”

(Boo had a hard time comprehending this; from the rear mirror, I could see the literal wheels turning in his Aspergerian mind.)

“But you were in New York with him?”

“I was.”

“And you like him?”

“I do. I like this new song of his a lot. I think he’s pretty talented.”

“Ooooooohhhhhhhh! Mommy’s in love with a 12 year old!” hollered Boo, now dancing a jig in our garage and well within earshot of our policeman neighbor’s house who, had he been outside, might have found this of interest.

“I am not,” I stated firmly, “in love with any twelve year olds.”

“But you just said you liiiiiii-iiiiiiike Greyson Chance!”

“I like his music. You can like someone without being in love with them … and besides, the only boy I’m in love with is you. And Daddy.”

“Of course, Daddy,” Betty chimed in.

“Well, I’m telling Daddy you went to New York with Greyson Chance.”

As it turns out, Daddy had no idea who Boo was talking about either. 

Which is one of the reasons why, after 20 years, I’m still gaga about him.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Read-a-Thon Update: Hour 5

How’s everyone doing on this fine Read-a-Thon day?  We’re into Hour #5 here and … well, I’ve made some progress and am lagging behind. Allow me to explain.

I woke up at 8:05 a.m. (five minutes post-read-a-thon start time) and needed to have Betty to acting class by 9.  Yeah.   So after dropping her off, I listened to my audiobook en route to the grocery store and back (20 minutes total = 14 pages) and then back in a quiet house all by myself, I was finally able to finish The Elegance of the Hedgehog AND Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing. 

So here’s where we’re at:

Currently reading: Going to be starting The Blind Contessa’s New Machine by Carey Wallace as soon as I finish this post and checking in with how y’all are doing. 

Currently listening to (a new category added just for today):  We’re listening to all John Lennon music today in honor of his 70th birthday.  As I type, “Double Fantasy” is playing on my husband’s laptop.  I’m also listening to double the bickering from the playroom downstairs where Betty and Boo are fighting playing.

Number of books read since you started:  Well, I finished two, but they were both already in progress when I started the Read-a-Thon, so they don’t really count as finished. 

Pages read since last update: 132

Total pages read: 132

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hour, 50 minutes. 

Running total of time spent reading since you started: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Mini challenges completed: 0

Other participants you’ve visited: 1

Snacks and Beverages Consumed Since Last Update:  Coffee (en route to acting class and also back at home); bowl of Cheerios; two slices of pizza; water. 

Off to cheerlead a bit and then to read! (Thanks so much to all the Cheerleaders who have visited thus far!)

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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In Blogs I Trust

photo taken by me in Strathmere, NJ ~ July 2010
“I don’t believe in magic, I don’t believe in I-ching
I don’t believe in Bible, I don’t believe in Tarot
I don’t believe in Hitler, I don’t believe in Jesus
I don’t believe in Kennedys, I don’t believe in Buddha
I don’t believe in Mantra, I don’t believe in Gita
I don’t believe in Yoga, I don’t believe in Kings
I don’t believe in Elvis, I don’t believe in Zimmerman
I don’t believe in Beatles
I just believe in me…”
John Lennon ~ “God”

According to a national survey by the Associated Press and the National Constitution Center released yesterday, John Lennon’s got a lot of company these days.  More than 54% of people are distrustful of … well, almost everything.  (And given the state of the economy and everything else under the sun, who can really blame them, right?) 

But at the top of the untrustworthy list?  Blogs, banks, and Congress.

Um … blogs? Really?

I’m not sure what blogs these folks are reading (and I’m sure that out of the katrillion of blogs out there, some are indeed suspect), but I’m willing to say that they aren’t the same blogs I read.

The majority of the 721 blogs in my Google Reader (yes, that’s not a typo) are comprised heavily of and influenced by book bloggers. There are also a substantial number of blogs written by parents of children who have autism or other challenges; blogs about social justice, women and girls’ issues, current events and politics, nonprofits and philanthropy, social media, food, decluttering one’s house and the planet, and much more. It’s no coincidence that these are all the topics I tend to write about too. (With the exception of the decluttering of one’s house … but there are, actually, some in-the-works posts about that.)

I was thinking about this national lack of confidence (especially with blogs) in terms of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, drawing to a close today and today’s BBAW writing topic of Future Treasures. The prompt for today asks us to share what we enjoyed about BBAW and also what our blogging goals are for the next year.

The “what I enjoyed” part is easy.  Like others, I get a kick out of seeing how high I can pile my Google Reader before it topples over.  (I’m thrilled to report that hasn’t happened yet.)  Regardless of the topic, I love blogs that make me think about issues in a different way or about issues I might not have been aware of at all.  (On the political front, PunditMom and MomsRising are two that immediately come to mind.  Are they untrustworthy? Certainly not in my opinion.  In fact, dare I say that they’re more trustworthy than some “traditional” media.)

And on the book blogging front, I’m drawn to book blogs that introduce me to new ideas and concepts, conflicts and controversies, new ways of thinking and new worlds.  Hopefully I’ve been able to share some of those with you this week.  I know that you have certainly shared many of your favorites with me, and I (and my Google Reader) thank you immensely for that. 

As for my blog goals for the next year … well, it looks like you’re stuck with more of the same from me.  I’m still planning to talk about a mix of books, the ones on the bestseller lists and the ones on the back shelves.  I’m still going to infuse my book reviews with a personal perspective.  I’m still going to mix them up with stories that make me drag out my soapbox or issues I feel need a wider reach than my immediate community, or a perspective on a local story getting national attention that my personal experience can lend another thought to.  You’ll still see recipes for the crockpot and funny things my kids say.  

That’s what I do here. I’m not planning on any dramatic changes in this spot and I’m not planning on going anywhere. 

You can trust me on that.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Imagine

One of the highlights of my trip to New York last week for BlogHer was going to the Top of the Rock, the observation deck of Rockefeller Center.  We went on a breezy summer Friday night (72 degrees!) and the view was beyond spectacular. While I got some decent photos, my camera decided that was the time to act strangely and I was experimenting with different settings in order to try and get the best photos. 

Which is how I happened to take this one:

Kinda creepy looking, isn’t it, with the face of the person next to me (I think) looking out onto the city that never sleeps.  Adding to the creep factor was The Husband’s reaction when I was showing him my photos from the trip. 

“Oh my God, that’s really similar to the last photo of John,” he commented, referring to the former and beloved Beatle who is known by only his first name in our house and  Paul Goresh’s photo of the late John Lennon, taken while the former Beatle looked through his limo window on the fateful night of December 8, 1980.  It would be the last photo ever taken of John. 

If one really looks at it (and possibly stretches the imagination) this one taken by me atop Rockefeller Center could resemble what an older John might have looked like today … glasses, an older face, contemplating the post-9/11 state of his adopted city nearly 9 years later (that number 9 again!) and that of the world. 

Something to think about, especially this week, as we contemplate Lennon murderer Mark David Chapman once again being up for parole … and all the what-if’s and possibilities that entails. 

For more Wordless Wednesday photos (and likely some not as wordy as this), go here.

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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