Sweet for 4G (apologies: James Taylor)

I had not seen Deborah in decades because she lives in Europe.

Deborah MendsThe envelope was in a box of unsorted miscellany, rather than in the mail drawer. I discovered it about a month after the May 2 date on the letter. It came from MetLife.

“RE: Case Number…

“DEAR ROGER GREEN:

“We are trying to locate ROGER GREEN regarding an important insurance matter. They last resided at [my address in 1999-2000].

“If you know ROGER GREEN…” Do I! Calling the 800 number, I was told I would get some form to fill out.

Three weeks later, the Identification Questionnaire letter came. Section I was easy enough, Insured’s Information.

But Section II was nigh unto impossible. “Insured’s address when policy was issued.” I didn’t know THAT the policy was issued. “Date”? Dunno. “Name of agent who issued the policy” – seriously?

I ASSUME this was some sort of policy that was arranged by my parents at some point, though they never told me about it. Back in the 1990s, I started receiving these minuscule dividend checks every quarter from MetLife. $2.64 or $2.97 or $3.18, which I thought was a function I set up from something I must have set up.

In any case, I spoke to a different customer service representative. HE told me that I shouldn’t have needed to fill this form out, since I had an account with them. Long story short, I received a check for about $4,400 in early August.

It’s not life-changing money, but it’s life-made-easier money. We had one laptop among three of us; now we have two. And when it’s lacking software protection I assumed incorrectly that would be included, I acquired it.

I took a trip for work to Washington, DC, and the credit card bill came due before the reimbursement check arrived; not a problem. My trip to Yankee Stadium was affordable. I purchased tickets for an upcoming concert.

Most spontaneously, I could take a train to Poughkeepsie one morning to see my friend Deborah. I had not seen her in decades because she lives in Europe. She drove 90 minutes from Connecticut. We share hot drinks and a muffin at the nearby coffee shop for a couple of hours. Then I took the train back so I could go to work in the afternoon.

To be sure, some of these – the Yankees game and seeing Deborah, for sure – I would have done WITHOUT the extra cash.

BTW, the JT reference is to Suite for 20 G. From Songfacts: “This song was an amalgamation of several bits of songs/melodies/lyrics/themes that Taylor had laying around as kernels for three future songs that hadn’t yet come together. He and his producer, Peter Asher, had a deadline to meet for completing the Sweet Baby James album, and they needed one more song to do it. Asher had him string these loose themes together to make a single ‘Suite’ and get the $20,000 (20G) they were promised by Warner Bros. Records for completing the album, which is how it got the title.”

James Taylor turns 70 (March 12)

James Taylor explained how the late Gerry Goffin, would go there to get away from the family troubles

I have seen James Taylor perform live exactly once, at the anti-nukes rally in NYC in 1982. Strange since he’s performed several times at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center at little north of here, and especially at Tanglewood in extreme western Massachusetts.

I decided that, since he would be performing in Albany for some benefit concert in January 2018, I would go see him, and John Legend, among others. The show got canceled for some reason, but Taylor made a $10K donation to the Albany Med pediatric unit instead.

Those of us of a certain age all owned the album Sweet Baby James in college, required along with Carole King’s Tapestry. I have almost all of James Taylor’s albums, the ones in the 1990s and later on CD, including his Christmas album, the earlier ones on vinyl. I need to listen to the last two, aside from the Covers album.

Some songs:

Back in the High Life Again (Steve Winwood: Back in the High Life, 1986)
Everyday (That’s Why I’m Here, 1985) – a Buddy Holly cover
Secret Of Life (JT, 1977)
Her Town Too (Dad Loves His Work, 1981) [this is a live version with with J.D. Souther]

Traffic Jam (JT) – I think it’s a hoot
That’s Why I’m Here (TWIH)
Home by Another Way (Never Die Young, 1988) – reference to the Three Wise Guys who visited thje baby Jesus
Sweet Baby James (Sweet Baby James, 1970) – the song is not about himself but about meeting his nephew James, the son of his older brother Alex, for the first time

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (Gorilla, 1975) – Marvin Gaye cover
Walking Man (Walking Man, 1974)
Your Smiling Face (JT, 1977)
Copperline (New Moon Shine, 1991) – this is one of those songs that is effectively the title track of the album

Carolina in My Mind (James Taylor, 1968) – recorded back in his Apple Records days, then re-recorded for the first greatest hits album
Lo and Behold (Sweet Baby James) – interesting theology
Up on the Roof (Flag, 1979) – I gained a new appreciation of this song when James Taylor, at some program honoring Carole King, explained how her writing partner, the late Gerry Goffin, would go there to get away from the family troubles
Shed a Little Light (New Moon Shine) – namechecks ML King, Jr.

Mexico (Gorilla) – I probably heard this first on one of those Warner Brothers Loss Leaders
Mockingbird (Carly Simon: Hotcakes, 1974) – Taylor and Simon were married from 1972 to 1983
Handy Man (JT) – my appreciation soared when I heard how different this was from the Jimmy Jones original
That Lonesome Road (Dad Loves His Work) – sad songs say so much

Something in the Way She Moves (James Taylor)- Taylor seems cool with the fact that George Harrison pilfered the title as the first line for his biggest hit in the Beatles, Something; this is the WB re-cover
Fire and Rain (Sweet Baby James) – the quintessential JT
Shower the People (In the Pocket, 1976) – the bass harmony vocal is perfectly in my range, and I cannot help but to sing along with it
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (Carole King: Tapestry, 1971)

Kennedy Center Honors 2016

James Taylor: “I had no concept of where I might be next week, never mind 16 years into the next century.”

martha-argerichAs I’ve noted often in this space, I watch the Kennedy Center Honors every year. It’s like a well-oiled machine, with the event taking place in early December (this year Sunday, December 4), then edited down for broadcast in a two-hour slot on CBS-TV the week between Christmas and New Year’s (this time, Tuesday, December 27. 9-11 p.m. EST).

The host of CBS’ Late Show, Stephen Colbert, will return to emcee the Kennedy Center Honors 2016; this is his third consecutive year. This year’s honorees are Al Pacino, Martha Argerich, Mavis Staples and James Taylor and the Eagles. Continue reading “Kennedy Center Honors 2016”

2015 in review

All men and women living on the Earth.
Ties of hope and love,
Sister and brotherhood,
That we are bound together

2015This is that thing that Jaquandor does on December 31, but I do on January 1.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

If I made one, it was to do less. I failed miserably, except when I had to because of the hernia operation, which felt really good, actually.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not that I recall.

Did you attend any wddings?

Affirmative: Ron and David, just a couple weeks ago.

Did anyone close to you die?

Well, yes, three people in the first six weeks of the year. Continue reading “2015 in review”

June rambling #1: procrastination, and tessellation

The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson: America’s Mozart?

waltz in
When You Kill Ten Million Africans and You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’ – King Leopold II of Belgium, who “owned” the Congo.

The Dannemora Dilemma. “‘Little Siberia’ turned out to be the prison’s nickname.”

The Weekly Sift addresses the Duggars’ brand of fundamentalist Christianity, and other stuff. Plus What’s So Scary About Caitlyn Jenner?

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet and The Crystal Ball‘s 2016 Electoral College ratings. I have NO idea who the Republican candidate for President will be. Continue reading “June rambling #1: procrastination, and tessellation”