Category Archives: Art

Songs That Make Us Cry

Today’s post comes to us from Steve.

So many issues ultimately come down to a chicken-or-the-egg controversy. For example, do we cry because sad music causes tears to flow? Or is it more that we get in such a funk that we play music we know will cause the waterworks to kick into high gear?

Some music makes me weep, and sometimes it is the same music that sends other folks into crying jags. But it gets complicated. Some songs that are sure to send many folks running for a box of tissues have no effect on me. I’ve read that Adele has done wonders for the sale of Kleenex, but she doesn’t get a sniffle from me. And I’m an easy weeper.

I just read an article that tries to explain why only some music makes us cry. If you are interested, the article is by NBC News, and here is the link: //https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-do-certain-songs-make-us-cry-ncna784801

What songs—if any—make you cry? I vaguely remember an earlier discussion on Trail Baboon that got into this. One surprising finding was that there is a song about a boat (of all things) that makes Baboons bawl. I’ll admit to being one of them. Here is an interesting You Tube video. It has an unusual intro that is worth listening to:

My strong hunch is that another song that makes me cry is one that also affects other Baboons. I think I’m the person who introduced Dale Connelly and Tom Keith to Eva Cassidy. I sent them a CD and a note to say that her songs make me cry, especially this one:

Of course, Cassidy died far too young, and I’m sure that is part of her impact on me.

I have long admired the special ability of Bonnie Raitt to sing what I call “heartbreak songs.” She sings many songs that involve a compassionate person talking about heartbreak in terms that seem utterly authentic. For me, heartbreak songs coming from Bonnie Raitt have more credibility than they could have from any other singer. I was touched when Raitt admitted, in a Scott Simon interview, that singing one of those songs in concert has a serious physical and emotional impact on her. As often as she has sung them, when she delivers one of those songs she is left drained and has to turn to other kinds of music in order to recover. Here is one of my favorites:

Some songs are so sad it isn’t a wonder that they make us cry. As a teen I learned to be careful where I was when I heard a song about a dead dog. So it is hardly surprising that a song like this next one would make people cry:

I mean—Clapton is singing to his dead kid, wondering if they would recognize each other in heaven! That’s pretty emotional stuff! (Pardon me while I blow my nose!)

One of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard was written by a very funny and impish guy. But I have it on good authority that this song also moves many people:

Seeing other people cry can make us cry. Here is an interesting example of that:

And—just to keep this post from being too heavy—here is a song so over the top and manipulative that I can’t imagine a normal person crying after hearing it. There is sentiment . . . and then there is maudlin weepy excess. A song that was designed clumsily to yank our heartstrings was one of Elvis Presley’s early hits. And here he is . . . with a bit of a spin. This is actually the (now dead) comedian Andy Kaufman singing one of Elvis Presley’s sappiest songs:

I need a tissue! No . . . after that one, I need a shower!

What (if any) songs make you cry?

 

Skill Set

We spent the weekend in Brookings, SD visiting our son and daughter in law. They moved to a new town home a couple of weeks ago, a place they will reside for a couple of years while they financially position themselves to purchase their first home.

Every time they move to a new place, they request my assistance hanging pictures. They insist that I am the only one who can hang the pictures straight, at the correct height, perfectly centered, and do it virtually error free. They say they make too many extraneous nail holes if they do it themselves.  So, I scramble on top of the sofas, chairs, beds, and other furniture, measuring, marking, stretching, reaching, and pounding nails and picture hangers.

Each time they ask me to do this, I demonstrate, one more time, how to figure out where the center is, how to make sure groups of pictures are evenly spaced and at the same height, and I show them the tools they need. I also demonstrate how to hide extraneous holes with tiny screws of tissue and/or toothpaste. It isn’t rocket science. I learned this from my mother, who was a meticulous picture hanger, measuring side to side, ceiling to floor, to find the perfect spot for the nail.

They were so happy to have the pictures on the walls, and declared that the art and photos made their new place truly home. It could have looked like home much earlier if they did it themselves.

What skill set does your family depend on you for? What is your plan for teaching them to do it without you?

 

 

Baby Talk

Today’s post comes to us from Bill.

I was driving somewhere the other day and my iPod was playing randomized tunes. Patsy Cline’s “Back in Baby’s Arms” had just finished and was followed by John Pizzarelli singing “Be My Baby Tonight”. That started me thinking about the use of “Baby” as a term of endearment. It’s probably the most common way of addressing one’s significant other in popular music. More popular, I suspect, in songs than in real life.

In the 47 years Robin and I have been together, I’ve never called her an infant. But, as one who can’t let random musings pass unconsidered, I wonder: How and when did infantilizing one’s partner become desirable? Why would that be considered romantic? Is calling someone a baby ever the basis of an equitable adult relationship?

And isn’t it sort of creepy when you think about it?

The Arboretum

On Nonny’s last full day in Minneapolis, we went out to The Arboretum. I have always thought I absorbed my love of gardening from her. She never asked me to participate, but I remember the work she put into her roses, her flowering trees and her vegetable plot.

It was a perfect day for it – not too hot and not too sunny. We took some advice from Lou and did the tram tour before we did anything else. We took the tour driver’s advice and sat in the very back row for the best view and the best sound quality. Nonny loved all the different trees, especially ones with “character” and I marveled at how much of the arboretum there really is!

One of the special exhibits this summer is Gardens of Kaleidoscopes – 15 fabulous sculptures that combine lovely floral arrangements in movable containers within structures that also hold kaleidoscopes. You look through the kaleidoscopes and then slowly spin the flowers (well, you don’t have to do it slowly a little boy of seven showed us). It was amazing and as always when confronted by art, I wonder how the artist thought of the idea in the first place.

View Through Kaleidoscope

What would YOU like to see through a kaleidoscope?

You Can Retire….

This weekend’s post comes to us from Jacque.

Recently I received the content below as an email from a friend who lives in Florida:

You can retire to Phoenix, Arizona where …

      • You are willing to park three blocks away from your house because you found shade.
      • You’ve experienced condensation on your rear-end from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
      • You can drive for four hours in one direction and never leave town.
      • You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.
      • You know that “dry heat” is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door at 500 degrees.
      • The four seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

OR

You can retire to California where …

      • You make over $450,000 a year and you still can’t afford to buy a house.
      • The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.
      • You know how to eat an artichoke.
      • When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.
      • The four seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud and Drought.

OR

You can retire to New York City where …

      • You say “the city” and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan.
      • You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can’t find Wisconsin on a map.
      • You think Central Park is “nature.”
      • You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multilingual.
      • You’ve worn out a car horn. (IF you have a car.)
      • You think eye contact is an act of aggression.

OR

You can retire to Minnesota where …

      • You only have three spices: salt, pepper and ketchup.
      • Halloween costumes have to fit over parkas.
      • You have seventeen recipes for casserole.
      • Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
      • The four seasons are: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road repair.
      • The highest level of criticism is “He is different,” “She is different,” or “It was different!”

OR

You can retire to The Deep South where …

      • You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.
      • “Y’all” is singular and “all y’all” is plural.
      • “He needed killin” is a valid defense.
      • Everyone has two first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Joe Bob, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc.
      • Everything is either: “in yonder,” “over yonder” or “out yonder.”
      • You can say anything about anyone, as long as you say “Bless his heart” at the end!

OR

You can retire to Nebraska or Iowa where…

      • You’ve never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.
      • Your idea of a traffic jam is three cars waiting to pass a tractor
      • You have had to switch from “heat” to “A/C” on the same day.
      • You end sentences with a preposition; “Where’s my coat at?”

OR

FINALLY you can retire to Florida where …

      • You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.
      • All purchases include a coupon of some kind – even houses and cars
      • Everyone can recommend an excellent cardiologist, dermatologist, proctologist, podiatrist, or orthopedist.
      • Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.
      • Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people.

What area would add to this list?

Artistic Temperament?

I planned a surprise activity for Nonny this morning. I knew I wouldn’t be able to really describe the experience well and she might not be excited about it, so I just sprung it on her. This turned out to be the perfect strategy.

We went to Simply Jane’s, a non-profit art studio just across the parking lot from Wiseacre (the restaurant that replaced our beloved Liberty Custard). They do amazing work at Simply Janes: art camp for kids in the summer, art therapy for the disabled. They hire the disabled when possible and go out to hospitals for those who can’t get to their storefront for an art outing. To raise the money for these services, they have a “drop in and paint” program.  There are many canvases of different sizes with various simple art pre-drawn in black marker; you choose the one you want, they provide the paint, the brushes, even the paint smock.  They even have master classes if you want to do a more complicated painting based on, well… the masters.

Nonny, who will repeatedly tell you that she is not artistic (hence the ‘spring the experience’ on her) chose a dragon and I chose a dolphin. Mine was a little bigger but since I had been to Simply Jane’s before, I thought I would be able to get mine done without having to make Nonny wait.

We had a great time – after we were done, the staff went over our paintings with a sharpie to make the initial lines distinct and then shellacked them for little more shine. Nonny asked lots of questions and took some of the literature with her. My guess is that she’ll look for something similar in St. Louis.  She’s thinking of where to hang her little treasure now… at dinner she said “I guess it’s too big to hang from the rear view mirror in my car”!

What would you like to draw for art therapy?

Outdoor/Indoor

Thursday night we attended the 11th annual Minnesota Orchestra Concert down by Lake Winona, which officially opens the 2017 Beethoven Festival. It was a delightful concert, and got me thinking about some differences between Outdoor and Indoor Concerts:

Outdoor

  1. There may be a little rain an hour prior to concert, but hey, it blows over. (This has happened for the past two years.) The breeze makes the musicians find a way to secure their music to the stand.
  2. You bring your own chairs (or blanket), a picnic supper, and have a glass of beer/wine if you are discreet.
  3. The orchestra is seated on a platform, and you are on the ground below, so for the most part you can only see the string players. (It would be a good idea for the horns to stand when they have a prominent part, but I haven’t told them this yet.)
  4. A little girl in a green dress runs around (and around…) her parents’ chairs during the Tchaikowsky Polonaise (and beyond). Kids are swinging as high as they can on the adjacent playground, while the orchestra plays three of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances.
  5. You can kick of your shoes and let your feet feel the grass.
  6. You get to watch a really cool sunset while listening to the music.
  7. You can hum along with John Williams’ Raiders of the Lost Ark theme and no one minds.
  8. If you see someone you know, you can wave wildly, and easily find them after the concert ends.

Indoor 

  1. Weather is not an issue once you are in the venue. Musicians’ music usually stays put on its stand.
  2. You have prepaid seating; refreshments can be purchased at Intermission, and must be consumed before returning to the auditorium.
  3. The venue is designed so that much of the audience is looking down on the performers, and can see most of the players.
  4. Children are regularly hushed and shushed throughout the concert, and will run around only at Intermission.
  5. It’s probably best to leave your shoes on your feet… they’re hard to find in the dark if you need them.
  6. The lights will go down when the music starts playing, and you will sit in the dark.
  7. If you talk or sing during the concert, you will most likely get stern looks from those around you.
  8. If you see someone you know, give a polite wave and hope they see you; perhaps you will find each other in the milling crowd at Intermission 

When and where was the last outdoor performance you remember attending?