In my last blog post I detailed What I Need.
I forgot one of the most important things I need – more cowbell. I gotta have more cowbell. In fact, I’ve got a fever…and the only prescription…is more cowbell.
For those of you who are a little confused by my last paragraph, let me explain.
Many years ago there was a skit on Saturday Night Live in which guest host Christopher Walken played Bruce Dickenson, a fictional famous record producer who was (in the skit) the producer of the Blue Oyster Cult song Don’t Fear The Reaper. In the skit, Bruce Dickenson prompts Will Farrell’s character Gene Frenkle, who is a cowbell percussionist for Blue Oyster Cult in the studio recording of that song, to increase the volume and prominence of the cowbell to improve the greatness of the song quality. He keeps demanding more cowbell on take after take of the song. He finally says “I’ve got a fever…and the only prescription…is more cowbell.” Will Farrell hams up the scene as he is famous for doing. The skit is hilarious and even Jimmy Fallon, who plays a drummer in the band, loses his composure during the skit and starts laughing through his best efforts to compose himself. It makes the scene even more laughable.
Here is the video of the skit. I LOVE this skit! And whether you’ve seen it before or about to see it for the first time, I think you will love it too.
Oh, yeah, the reason I’m sharing this today, is that I just heard that WLUP radio in Chicago is having a “More Cowbell Weekend” this very weekend in which they are playing songs that feature a cowbell as a musical instrument in the song. There are apparently many songs that include a cowbell in the arrangement. Listen to 97.9FM – The Loop this weekend to hear a mix of songs that include a cowbell. You can even listen online at their WLUP web site.
I think this is a fun and creative idea for a radio station to promote listening to their station, and I hope you get to listen in with me so we can get and appreciate more cowbell that we need so much.
What I need is fairly simple.
In college I learned about Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs. It made sense to me then. It still makes sense to me now. Basic needs are very simple and build on lower based needs. At the base are biological needs and at the top are more complex needs that need the lower needs met before they can me met.
As shown in the chart below, from bottom to top, a person’s needs are:
1. Physiological/Biological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.
2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.
3. Social needs – friendship, intimacy, affection, love, belonging, understanding – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.
4. Esteem needs – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.
5. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
So why is it so %#@& hard to get my needs met?
I need employment and income to meet basic needs. I need human care and concern. I need medical care access. I need a home or at least a modest amount of personal space. I need privacy. I need kindness. I need affection. I need understanding.
I just need to go home to my personal space at the end of the work day and be with those who I love and know they are OK so I can get the sleep I need.
Is that so much to ask?
But this world has stripped me of my job, my home, my spouse, my children, and kicked me to the curb.
And those I trusted most have betrayed and abandoned me.
My government has stripped me of my spouse, my home and my full rights to children in a wicked game of ‘chicken’ (no-fault divorce) where to maintain your rights you would go bankrupt and lose your ability to meet your own needs and the needs of the ones you love most.
I can get those things that I need, but not without significant obstacles.
My church who I put the keys to my eternal fate in, has put me on hold while they grind out the sordid details of my failed marriage before granting an annulment before I can be allowed to remarry and get basic human needs met and rebuild a good life.
It seems as though every way I turn I am frustrated in recovering from a horrible set of circumstances that I did not create other than trying to be loving and care for the ones I love and have their needs met too.
And I’m not the only one frustrated in attempts to get my basic needs met. I see so many others struggling out there to find work, to juggle life’s demands, and to get what they need. Maybe you are too.
At least the air we need is still free, even if the quality of it is foul or polluted, or the messages that waft through it are harmful or hurtful.
“Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.”
- The Hollies; Songwriters: Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood
So, if you can help me in some way to meet any of my needs, please let me know. I would appreciate it.
But if you’re intent like so many others to frustrate my basic human needs, or to make me feel bad, please steer clear. I would appreciate that too.
And ‘No, I don’t need to clean my room’. But if you need me to clean my room, I will try to do it again to your satisfaction, out of love for you, and in an effort to find some sense of peace in my own limited personal space and difficult circumstances. By the way, “Good morning!”
Today is Thursday. And if you are on Facebook, you know what that means – it’s Throwback Thursday – an opportunity to post an old photo from times gone by to reminisce about the past (and maybe how funny we looked back then).
For instance, here is one I posted recently of me from nearly 40 years ago when I first played Little League baseball.
And here is one of me from 3o years ago this month when I left for college.
Those were some pretty good days.
But it got me thinking…what about today? Are all “the good old days in the past? Do we have no “good old days” today? Today must be a good old day for someone, right? If we never had a good day in a today, how would we ever get “good old days’ in the past?
Maybe you’re going through a tough time today. Maybe you’re dealing with unemployment like I am. Maybe you have a broken relationship or family situation. Maybe you are dealing with depression. Maybe you are dealing with a health crisis. There could be numerous reasons why you long for ‘the good old days’ in the muck, mire or hardships you find yourself in today.
If you watch the news or news headlines you’ll think that the good old days are all in the past. Terrorism. Killing. Cruelty. Hatred. It is a harsh, cold and terrible world out there. It is. There isn’t much we can do about some of that.
But, there are things we can do.
And one of them is living our best today. And that means loving our best today.
There was a song that came out in the ‘good old days’ of the 1970s that I grew up in that I loved. The name of the song was Anticipation, and it was written and sung by Carly Simon. It played frequently on the radio on blissful days of some grand ol’ times. There was a line sung with with emphasis and urgency at the end of the song that repeated, over and over, as if to drill it into our heads while we lived those days out – “these are the good old days….these are the good old days….these ARE the good old days”.
Today may not be great, but through the prism of our future mind, when we look back on it years from now, today may one day seem idyllic. And it can be. If we just live and love our best today as if it was one of the ‘good old days’. Because it will soon be.
The truth is, every day we’re given is a “good old day”.
So why not approach it that way and take some time to do something grand in it? Fly a kite, pet a pet, hug a child, call a friend, volunteer some time for a good cause, picnic, say a prayer of praise or thanksgiving, kiss someone you care for, do something kind for a neighbor, smile, laugh, sing, dance…get someone else to smile, laugh, sing or dance.
So, whether you’re 9 or 90, or somewhere else on the timeline of life, I’m wishing for you that you have a ‘good old day’…today.
And, just think: if we could get everyone in the world to do just that, maybe the problems of the world would just take care of themselves…or at least be a whole lot better. So share this blog with someone and help remind them that today is a “good old day” just waiting to happen.
When I was about 10 years old (1976), I was president of a neighborhood club, and life was good. I read MAD magazine, a funny magazine for kids, and one of the issues had a set of club officer cards (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) and some member cards so that you could have official club member cards for each member of your own club. I convinced the neighborhood kids to join the club and I served as president. I still have the President card as a memento and come across it from time to time.
We had nice kids in our neighborhood and did some fun things together that summer. We put together a newspaper of stories we wrote and circulated it around the neighborhood. We rode bikes (I imagine like a motorcycle riding club does), we climbed trees (I sat on the highest substantial limb of a tree that was over 40 feet tall), we played baseball, we held a magic show (I was the magician), we (pretend) married my brother to a girl in the neighborhood with me presiding at the (pretend) wedding (don’t worry, people, I don’t think it was a valid marriage because they were about 9 years old and still minors, but maybe I should contact MAD magazine and find out what powers those cards actually vested in me), we put together a creepy haunted garage where we had lots of freaky things for people to walk through and experience like touching eyeballs in a bowl (hard boiled eggs) and brains (spaghetti), and engaged in lots of other ambitious kid fun.
(Before I forget, props go out to Michael, Maribeth, Gina, Sharon, and the other club members at large who helped us kids use our imaginations, dream big and have good, clean American fun.)
As subsequent years went by, we all grew up, and some of us let our imagination and ambition for doing things slide. We became, well, boring. I attended an all-male high school and stuffed much of my creativity and ambition in those years. I was saving it up for later in life.
But I never forgot the leadership skills I learned playing President in that neighborhood club, and always imagined one day I would be using them to do something awesome.
In college, I started out kind of timid, but I emerged from my shell and grew to use the dormant leadership skills I had by getting College for Playin’ produced, starting a Spirit Committee in Student Government for which I received a Senator of the Year award, later ran for Student Government President (but lost – not a bad thing, some time the best growing experiences come from adversity and loss), and years later ran for Lewis University Alumni Association President – and won! I’m proud of these experiences and the achievements I (and my colleagues) achieved along the way.
My imagination has helped me dream big, and my knowledge has helped me to work smartly to achieve many visions and to do some good things. I started this blog 5 years ago and have posted nearly 150 posts so far. I started Ed Novick Comics earlier this year. I have dabbled in business ventures and community projects with varying degrees of success. And, all the while, I keep on learning as I go.
What drives all this?
I don’t know.
But there is a sense that I need to show up, to do good and kind things, and to make the world a better place.
“I’d love to change the world/ but I don’t know what to do/ so I’ll leave it up to you” – Alvin Lee, Ten Years After
And I’m not alone in it all either. I think we all feel a sense of ownership and significance in our world. We all hear about the problems of our world on the news, and us fortunate ones who have the health and abilities to do so, feel a sense of responsibility to make it all a little better in ways that only we can.
One inspiring kid leader in the world today, Robby Novak (no relation; named spelled differently), is known as Kid President. In the past few years, Kid year old Kid President has grown from an adorable and entertaining young kid with a webcast to an inspiring world leader with his own television show on Hub Network.
Kid President, has made a Declaration of Awesome. He challenges each of us to stop being boring, and ‘do something awesome’. He makes simple but inspiring statements like we can make the world awesome if we “just treat everybody like it’s their birthday”. He said, “It’s everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance”. And he provided further inspiration saying “One of the superpowers we all have is the ability to change the future”.
Here is a video pep talk from Kid President that you will want to watch and get inspired by:
So I ask you, as Kid President asks in this video, “What will be your Space Jam?” Or, as I asked in my recent post “Why I Blog“, “What will your verse be?” Put otherwise — What will your contribution to life and the world community be?
Create (or do) something that will make the world AWESOME. Be kind and encouraging to others. Treat other people like it’s their birthday. Dance. And give others who you come in contact with a reason to dance too.
And share this life pep talk with others. You may just change the world, one person at a time.
The Declaration of Awesome has been made. May it start a revolution throughout our world. And may it inspire good and heroic things in you.
For more inspiring Kid President videos, go to: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzvRx_johoA-YabI6FWcU-jL6nKA1Um-t
For Kid President web site go to: http://www.kidpresident.com/
This morning my son, Canyon, informed me that today is the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring “I Have A Dream” speech. I looked it up on Wikipedia and sure enough, today is the 51st anniversary of that great speech from 1963.
As a tribute, I wanted to share some related links.
I invite you to click on and listen to a wonderful song that mixes King’s “I Have A Dream” speech with The City Harmonic’s song “I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)”. Ever since I heard the song a couple years ago, it gives me chills when I hear it. Click here to listen
To read King’s great speech in its entirety, click here.
As I wrote in a recent blog post ((Re-)Discovering Lincoln), “I celebrate that 21st century America has come a long way to make the segregated and enslaved world of Lincoln’s day in the mid-1800’s to realize the dream so eloquently stated by Martin Luther King Jr. of an integrated modern world where men are “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.
Today, let us celebrate that we live in that great nation together, and continue the noble work of fulfilling and securing that dream for generations to come.
I love Schoolhouse Rock, and have since I was a kid. Those songs taught me a lot.
Schoolhouse Rock played cartoon music videos of educational subjects on Grammar, Multiplication, American History and Science between cartoons on Saturday mornings on ABC TV back in the 70’s and 80’s. The songs were catchy and the videos were entertaining.
The Preamble song helped me to memorize the preamble when I had to know it to pass my 8th grade U.S. Constitution exam.
According to Wikipedia, there were 64 Schoolhouse Rock Songs/Videos made in all.
Do you have your own favorite Schoolhouse Rock Songs?
Vote for your favorites at the following web page: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K8TWRX3. You can vote for up to 10.
I will then soon be taking the top ‘sweet sixteen’ songs as voted by you and have a playoff that you will be able to vote for your favorites so we can determine which is the best Schoolhouse Rock song of all time.
Thirty (30) years ago this month, I went away to college. In my mind, how time has flown. And, it’s been a long time since I looked like this.
Following my graduation from Marist High School in Chicago, I chose to go to Lewis University – a private, Catholic university about 30 miles from my home. I lived on campus. It was the first time I had lived away from home.
I believe I was the first member of my extended family to go to and complete college. (At least I’m pretty certain that I was the first to earn a Masters degree – an MBA from Lewis University.) College degrees are pretty common by today’s standards, but back then it was a privilege, and not a common thing, at least in my family’s experience. And I took the opportunity, and my studies, very seriously.
That morning thirty years ago, my family drove me to school, helped me move my things into my room, visited a while, and then left. I had a nice roommate, but otherwise, once my family left me that day, I was on my own for the first time.
The very first morning of classes, I was standing outside my first class, and looked to my left. There stood the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I was smitten at first sight of her. We were in that first class together. I soon got to talking to the girl and loved everything I learned about her. It felt like it was meant to be. I asked her out to a movie they were showing on campus. She accepted. We held hands through the movie. I didn’t feel so alone.
On Thursday nights there were dances at the Student Union hall with either live music or DJs playing popular music of the day. That summer of 1984, Prince’s album Purple Rain had come out and the songs from that album, including the title track, were playing everywhere, including at the dances. The powerful chords and emotionally sung lyrics were played loudly as young men and women listened and danced, including one slow dance to Purple Rain between me and the most beautiful young woman in the world.
I was in love.
And I followed that girl around for weeks so I could see her every chance I got.
Sadly, the girl I was in love with did not seem to reciprocate the feelings of love I had for her.
Really, what did I know of love at that point in my life.
I dealt with anxiety attacks and depression for the following months. I held out hopes and imaginary story lines that some day I would get that girl back. It fueled much of what I did in the following years. In subsequent months I began weightlifting and put on 30 lbs. of muscle on that slim frame you see in the photos above. I became active in Student Government. I played intramural sports, playing on two football champion teams including leading one at quarterback. I wrote and led the production efforts of College for Playin’. I became a Resident Assistant and later a Residence Hall Director in the dormitories. I started a Spirit committee in Student Government for which I received an award as Student Government Senator of the Year. I ran for Student Government President (I lost). I became a BMOC – a “big man on campus” – and acted as if I owned that school and took great pride and ownership in everything I did there.
Most importantly, I made some of the best friends I will ever have in life there in those college years.
I did NOT win that girl back. She went on to marry someone else after college.
But, the friends I made back then….Patrick, Vernon, Susie, Eddie, Coz, Jerry, Kim, Jim, Keith, Bill, Dawn, Jean, Betsy, Mary Ellen, Joanne, Steve, Sandy, Billy…and so many others too numerous to mention them all…are some of the best people I could hope to have as friends.
The 25 years since graduating from college have been an adventure…at times a painful one. I was married, had three kids, and was divorced in the most painful part of it all. I worked in the insurance field for many years, rising to Assistant Vice President at one company, before experiencing a post-divorce bout with job loss, underemployment (I was a janitor cleaning out the bottoms of garbage cans at one point) and unemployment. That’s where life finds me now.
Purple Rain can still trigger my memories and emotions of that time during my freshman year 30 years ago whenever I hear it.
I always wondered if there was a meaning to the song Purple Rain. I looked it up on the internet and read an article that said that according to Prince.org, Prince was asked about what he meant by “purple rain” and his reply was “the meaning is there if you look for it”. Mysterious as usual, Prince. I also read that he said “When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple. Purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/God guide you through the purple rain.”
Losing the love I thought that I had found in college felt like the end of the world and was very painful. But I put my faith in God to guide me through those days of purple rain, made many friends, and became a stronger person because of it.
Losing the love of my spouse later in life also felt like the end of the world, and was far more painful. But I’d been through that before, and knew how to survive it, carry on, and become a stronger person because of my faith and trust in God. And this time I found many friends, angels really, to help guide me through the purple rain and get me through those storms I faced.
Throughout it all – all the passion, the love, the heartbreak, the pleasures, the pain, the joys, the successes, the failures, the togetherness, the lonesomeness, the storms and the rainbows – I only wanted to love and to be loved, and not feel so alone through it all. And, I don’t feel so alone in it all anymore. I do have many good friends that I love and love me. And I know that God is with me in the storms, guiding me through them, cascading down His love like a waterfall, and leading me through the purple rain to the Light of hope in tomorrow.
Prince was right. The meaning IS there if you look for it. And I found it. And His love. Again.
So if you should find me laughing in the purple rain of life, you’ll know why, and how I do it. And maybe join me laughing in it too. God is so in love with us.