Friendship

By | Jan 20, 2015

For the first time in a long time while listening to the Simon and Garfunkel song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” I sat and really listened to the lyrics. The song seems to be to be about friendship and how a dear friend can help you get by.

“If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled waters
I will ease your mind”
Paul Simon

It became Simon and Garfunkel’s best selling song, saying at Number One on the Billboard Charts for six weeks before being knocked out of top spot by a very similar song, “Let It Be”by the Beatles. It also won the 1970 Grammy Award for Song of The Year.

The idea of friendship carried over for another year with James Taylor’s version of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” winning the Song of the Year for 1971.

Even though Carole King had released an album and was well known as a composer, she had been part of James Taylor tour as a band mate. In Early 1971 they were both recording albums, King’s “Tapestry” and Taylor’s “Mud Slide Slim”. Often in the studio together.

Taylor and King both recorded the song, but it was Taylor’s version that was released as a single. It reached Number One in July of 1971 and was Taylor’s only Number One.

“You’ve Got a Friend” really shows true sign of friendship in many ways.

Nothing is really more valuable than friendship.

“You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend.”
Carole King

Photo: Friendship by SG Atkinson

Photo: Friendship by SG Atkinson

Martin Luther King Jr.

By | Jan 15, 2015

Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King.

King received a B.A. in sociology from Morehouse College, and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston College in 1955.

King began his work in equal rights after learning of the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955 for her failure to give up her bus seat to a white man. He founded the Southern Christian leadership Conference in 1957. The group was created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. His most famous speech was given during the Civil Rights March, formally called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in 1963. The words, ‘I have a dream’ will be remembered from the speech.

King was assassinated on April 14, 1968 on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was in Memphis to deliver a speech in support of black garbage workers who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. The assassination led to riots in more than 60 US cities.

Two months after the murder of King, James Earl Ray was captured at London Heathrow airport. Ray confessed to the murder during interrogation in Memphis, although he recanted the confession 3 days later. Under the advice of his attorney he plead guilty to avoid a trail conviction and a possible death penalty. In later times the family of King has their doubts that Ray was the assassin. Ray died in prison on April 23, 1998 from complications related to kidney disease.

In 1986, a federal holiday established in his name was observed for the first time. President Reagan signed the law in 1983 creating the holiday to be observed on the third Monday in January.

Review: The Hobbit – The Battle of Five Armies

By | Jan 11, 2015

A while back I posted that one of the ways “6 Things to Consider” may be heading is part of my “From A Fan’s View” project. Reviews would be part of it, although the original thoughts are to look at Entertainment prior to 1970. But that sure doesn’t preclude a fan’s review of the latest Hobbit movie.

First let me state that I am a huge JRR Tolkein fan and when I heard about the Lord of the Rings being made into a film I was very excited. They turned out to be a great trio of films. And I believe that the Oscar for Best Film for “The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King” was as much for the three films as the one. However unlike many fans, I was not that excited when it was announced that The Hobbit was being made. And when I heard that three films were going to come out of that small book written for children, I wondered, How?

Now that the third film has been released I see how. While not a bad movie and it does keep to the feel of Middle Earth and its history, I do think that it was at least one movie too long.

I’m sure others will disagree since many love the battle scenes from both series of movies. I thought that even in the “Lord of The Rings” series the battle scenes were long and drawn out. And in the third Hobbit the majority of the movie is of “The Battle of Five Armies”. Only the first minutes and last carry on the story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit.

I see why the original title and what it should have been “There and Back Again”. Bilbo’s return to Hobbiton seemed to be an after thought.

In short the Hobbit, in my opinion was one movie too long, but at the same time I don’t see it as a bad movie. Just one that didn’t really lead the story to it’s best conclusion.

Winter Songs

By | Dec 17, 2014

I have a huge collection of Christmas Music and while listening I realized that not all of our beloved Christmas Songs are actually related to Christmas. Although they are related to the Winter Season.

And it seems as if many artists have recorded them so if you want to extend the Christmas Music season, listen to this set list of songs through the Winter.

Jingle Bells (Actually written for Thanksgiving)
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow
Winter Wonderland
Sleigh Ride
Baby It’s Cold Outside
A Marshmallow World
Little Jack Frost Get Lost
Skating (From Charlie Brown Christmas)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (AKA Charlie Brown Theme)
Greensleeves
Snow (From the movie White Christmas)
Wizard in Winter (One many of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra songs)
I Got My Love to Keep me Warm
Winter Weather
It won’t Cool Off

– And
Frosty the Snowman

– A few that that are often added to Christmas releases
Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
The River (Joni Mitchell)
My Favorites Things (From the Sound of Music
Do You Want to Build a Snowman
2000 Miles

Stories about Our Christmas Songs

By | Dec 15, 2014

When should Christmas music be started to played for the Holidays? One thought is after Halloween, another is as soon as the weather starts turning colder (living in Maryland this would be around Mid-October) but for most that time starts just after Thanksgiving.

We all know and love the following songs, but did you know that they also have interesting stories. Here are brief stories about six of our Christmas favorites. Oh, and for me I start playing them anytime after the first of October, sometimes even earlier.

White Christmas
Everyone knows that the song was introduced in the movie Holiday Inn, but many don’t know that it was a song about being stuck in sunny and warm LA and dreaming of a White Christmas. The original first verse is:

The sun is shining
The grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway.
I’ve never seen such a day
In Beverly Hills LA.
But it’s December the 24th
And I am longing to be up North…

This part is rarely performed with the song (The Carpenters version does) and was never recorded by Bing Crosby.

Have Yourself A Very Merry Christmas
This Judy Garland song was written for and first introduced in the movie Meet me In St. Louis. The original intent for the song was to say that by next year things would be brighter. The original lines were;

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
May your heart be light
In a year our troubles will be out of sight
From now on

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
In a year our troubles will be miles away

At the request of Judy Garland it was changed to:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Let your heart be light,
From now on our troubles
Will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on our troubles
Will be miles away.

Then in 1957 when Frank Sinatra was recording his Christmas Album A Jolly Christmas he requested another change to the lyrics. Later in the song there was the line;

If the Fates allow
Until then, we’ll just have to muddle through somehow
And have ourselves a merry little Christmas now.

Sinatra wanted a more jolly song and asked for this to be changed. It was to:

If the Fates allow,
Hang a shining star
On the highest bough,
And have yourself
A merry little Christmas now.

This sure makes for it to be a merrier, Merry Christmas song.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas
The song was written in 1943 and recorded in that same year by Bing Crosby. Placing it in that time period it’s obvious that the song was about a soldier at war and his Christmas wish. If it wasn’t for White Christmas this would probably be considered His Christmas song. (Although his version of Silent Night sold more copies) The song remained on the charts for 7 weeks and well pass Christmas.

Silver Bells
The song was written by the prolific movie composers Jay Livingston and Ray Evans for the movie The Lemon Drop Kid, staring Bob Hope. It was originally going to be Tinkle Bells, until Livingston’s wife told him that to millions of american women the word tinkle meant something else and not something that would generally go over good in a Christmas song. The word tinkle was replaced with silver. Now the next time you hear the song replace the word ‘silver’ with ‘tinkle’ and see if it doesn’t have a slightly different song.

Frosty the Snowman
Frosty the Snowman was written with one thought in mind. Just before it was written Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer had be a huge commercial hit and the team of Jack Nelson and Steve Rollins wanted to write the next ‘Christmas Classic’. By the end of the winter they had put together two holiday songs to pitch to Gene Autry. Autry was sold and recorded Frosty for the next Christmas season.

And, the other Holiday song they pitched. It wasn’t a Christmas song, but the Easter song Here Comes Peter Cotton-tail.

A Christmas Song
In the hot heat in the summer of 1945, Mel Torme visited his friend Bob Wells. Earlier in the day Wells had written phases in a notebook in an effort to stay warm. A couple of these were; “Chestnuts roasting … Jack Frost nipping … Yuletide carols … Folks dressed up like Eskimos.”

Torme also in an effort to try to cool off, thought that maybe writing a winter song would help. They took these phrases and in 40 minutes much of the music and some of the lyrics of one of the most recorded Christmas song was completed.

Eight Years Ago

By | Dec 10, 2014

I slightly missed the anniversary. Eight years ago on November 26, 2006 the first “6 Things Consider” was posted. It was just a simple post called “When Starting a Web Log (Blog)”

Even though there hasn’t been that many new posts in the past couple of years, I do periodicity come back to this blog and post. This was my first and in a way still a favorite.

I know I have made this statement before but, looking forward to 2015 I will attempt to add more new posts. My goal will be at least one new one, along with updating an old one, at least once a week.

Looking at my stats it would appear that I use to have a fairly regular readership. Numbers have faded. I’m sure that’s because the postings have been irregular at best. I’m hoping that some of those who use to be regular readers come back, and that a new fan base is created.

I have also expanded my photography and I’m thinking that I’ll also add a photograph a week. Does a photograph equal 6 paragraphs? I would think it would.

In advance I will Thank You for reading.

Photo: Sandy's Aftermath by SG Atkinson, SGAtkinson.com

Christmas Music Releases – 2014

By | Dec 9, 2014

Each year one of the things I look forward to during the Holiday Season is the new releases of Christmas Music.

Idina Menzel – Holiday Wishes
Even though it may not be really considered a Christmas Song, Idina Menzel had one of the most popular songs from 2013 with “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen. This song is not part of her new Holiday Album. There are plenty of Christmas classics along with her version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and a new one “”December Prayer,” co-written by her.

Pentatonix – That’s Christmas To Me
They have turned Christmas songs into a capella masterpieces.

Darius Rucker – Home For The Holidays
County singer and former lead of Hootie and the Blowfish releases his first Christmas Album. Another collection of Christmas standards including the ever popular “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Sheryl Crow.

Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit Of Christmas
MICHAEL W. SMITH & FRIENDS: THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS, features an all-star lineup of guests including Vince Gill, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Bono and Michael McDonald with an album full of timeless carols, holiday favorites and new versions of Christmas songs.

Seth MacFarlane – Holiday For Swing
Even Academy Award-nominated and Grammy® – nominated writer, singer, actor, producer and director, Seth MacFarlane has gotten into the act with this release.

LeAnn Rimes – One Christmas:Chapter One
This is the first of a series of mini-albums of new Christmas Music from LeAnn Rimes. It does include a new version of the 60’s Motown “Someday at Christmas”.

Did You Know – Christmas

By | Dec 7, 2014

In 336 AD. Pope Julius I declared the birth and celebration of Jesus’ birthday as Christmas. He chose the day December 25th because it coincided with the pagan traditions of Winter Solstice. The idea was to bring pagans into the christian religion and selecting that day helped in this cause.

No one knows the exact day not year of Jesus’ birth. With Bible references it is thought that he was born around 4 BC in the spring. Shepherds bring their sheep in during the winter and not tend to them as related in the Bible.

Christmas was not celebrated in the early days of the American Colonies. In some places the practice of celebrating Christmas was actually banned. It wasn’t until the Victorian times that it restored with a lot of assistance from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Clement Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and the Santa drawings of Thomas Nast.

Santa Claus is a fairly modern invention although he has basis in history. There was a St. Nicholas, a third century saint. But it’s the Dutch Sinterklaas that is the biggest basis. The Sinterklaas feast celebrates the birthday of Saint Nicholas. In 1809 Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker’s History of New York features Sinterklaas.

Bing Crosby has not one but three of the biggest Christmas recording. Everyone knows that his White Christmas was a big hit, but so was his recording of Silent Night in 1935 and I’ll Be Home for Christmas first recorded in 1943 were also big hits. Crosby donated all of his royalties from Silent Night to charity.

The city of North Pole, Alaska with a population of 1750 and located 14 miles southeast of Fairbanks was incorporated on January 15, 1953. The name was selected in an effort to attract business. Many streets bear holiday names: Santa Claus Lane, Snowman Lane, Kris Kringle, Mistletoe, Holiday Rd., Saint Nicholas Drive, North Star Drive, Blitzen, and Donnor. northpolealaska.com

Beginning the Mason/Dixon Line

By | Nov 15, 2014

For many when you mention the Mason/Dixon line they think of it as the division between the North and the South and the Civil War. The Mason/Dixon line was nearly 100 years old when the Civil War began and was created due to the dispute between the English Colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania.

From the time that Maryland received its charter from King Charles I on June 20, 1632, the borders were in dispute. First with the Virginia Colony and then again when William Penn was granted the Charter for Pennsylvania on February 28, 1681 by Charles II. At that time the Northern border and Southern Border of Maryland and Pennsylvania was the 40th Parallel. Penn wanted the area which became Philadelphia, which fell below the 40th parallel as part of his colony. An agreement between the two colonies was made but when Charles II gave the land area that is now Delaware to Pennsylvania it created another dispute.

It took until 1760 before the wording of the borders of the land belonging to the families of Penn’s (Pennsylvania) and the Calvert’s (Maryland) was settled and they commissioned the English team of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to survey the established boundaries.

It was on November 15, 1763 that Mason and Dixon arrived in Philadelphia to begin the task of physically marking the boundary. Nearly four years later October 9, 1767 the surveying was done.

The actual survey was marked by stones every mile (milestones) and “crownstones” every five miles. The Maryland side says (M) and Pennsylvania sides say (P). Crownstones include the two coats-of-arms. Even today nearly 250 years after their placement many of these stones are still visible. The ones on public lands are protected by iron cages.

So not only is the Mason/Dixon line the North/South border line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, it is also the East/West border line between Delaware and Maryland. At the time it was surveyed Delaware was known as the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania. It wasn’t until 1776, on June 15th, that Delaware voted to become independent from Great Britain and sever ties with the Colony of Pennsylvania.

Armistice Day is also Veterans Day

By | Nov 11, 2014

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I ended with the signing of the Armistice. November 11th since that day has been referred to as Armistice Day.

President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 was the first President to proclaim this day.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

In 1954 Congress declared that November 11 would be a day to honor Veterans of all wars and not just WWI. They did this by using the official designation of Veterans Day and not Armistice Day.

In 1968 as part of the Uniforms Holiday Bill, Veteran Day was made one of the holidays that was moved to a Monday, for people to have a 3 day weekend. However after protests by veterans groups the holiday in 1978 reverted back to November 11th.

Veterans Day is largely intended to thank veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to United States national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.

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