Take Five…

Have been sitting here for a while perusing different music videos and whatnot, just re-visiting old favorites ( D. Krall, M.Schenker, LA Guitar Quartet ( just to remind myself that even though I am now officially a Guitar Teacher, I still can’t play a goddamned thing ) Those who can’t do…

And watched an hour’s worth of Andres Segovia teaching a Master Class in 1965; this would have been right about the time that Chet Atkins wanted to attend one, and hang around and be famous and cool and stuff.

Segovia wouldn’t let him in… because ” electric guitar is an abomination.” In a way, he was actually right. There is still nothing to match the level of accomplishment that even a moderately capable classical guitar student must achieve. I think that anyone could actually do it if they set their mind to it, but most people simply cannot imagine the level of dedication necessary, and when they find out…they realize that it would take up the entirety of their lives. Simply, literally, no time for anything else. Ever. That’s probably why Segovia was still having kids when he was over 80; he finally had some time.

I also came across a video of Bobby McFerrin and Esmeralda Spaulding at a Grammy awards thing, doing something far, far more musical than anything that might have actually won an award that night.

And was reminded of another B. McFerrin video, recommended to me by a student when I introduced my class to the pentatonic scale. Just five notes, simpler even than the major scale that we have all known since we were four, courtesy of Richard Rogers and Julie Andrews

Yes, you do. Here, I’ll prove it…

Doe, a deer…

Yeah. That one. That’s a major scale. The song teaches you the major scale, drills it in so effectively that you couldn’t get it out of your head if you wanted to. What a great hook that is.

But it hadn’t occurred to me that people inherently know the pentatonic scale on an even more fundamental level. This video illustrates this in a really neat way.

For good clear examples of pentatonics in use, listen to the blues. B.B King, Clapton, Stevie Ray, Hendrix…it’s a very long list. And they certainly don’t have to be guitar players…how about John Coltrane or Miles Davis? How about Ella Fitzgerald, scat-singing? How about Gregorian chant, the original use of a pentatonic scale?

OK. I’ll shut up now.


Another Doctrine post…

Every now and then, it behooves us to write a little something in regard to the Wakefield Doctrine, that giant conglomerate blog that presides across the virtual pond. The Doctrine is expanding and developing at a truly impressive rate, and is impacting people’s lives in ways that were unimaginable not so very long ago. Light-years away from the EL Freeman parking lot in beautiful downtown Wakefield RI, almost back to the time of the King Philip’s war. ( Philip was a scott, you see, and Roger Williams was a roger…a rose by the very same name… )

We are not at all sure why we have switched to the royal “we” in referring to ourselves. We are apparently feeling slightly detached and aloof. We will play along; we are feeling somewhat whimsical at the moment. We suspect that it may simply have been from using the word ” behooves.”

Well, onto the point. We are sure that we left one lying around here somewhere.

My boss is a scott; an absolutely atypical scott. I have worked for her for over two years now, and am often surprised by how well this has worked out. I only have a few scars to show for it, where many others  have found themselves transformed into interesting balloon-animal shapes. She once used her pure force of will to get someone fired; from another company, not ours. Banned from the kingdom, driven into the wilderness. ( A lot like the Roger Williams analogy, now that we think about it…)

I, the model employee, have become the perfect lieutenant to her napoleonic Grand Design. Of course, I can’t actually know what the Grand Design really is, because she would probably have to kill me. And I am OK with that. I have grown accustomed to my face, thank you. It almost makes the day begin. ( Pray that you are not old enough to get that reference.)

She is in her early forties, divorced, mother to a 15-yr.old girl. And for as long as I have known her, she has been very actively involved in internet dating. She sometimes keeps me in that loop; the stories are often very entertaining, in a kind of Saw VII way. An exhausting business, certainly; constant texting and emailing and scheduling…To me, it seems as if it all creates a culture in which people don’t bother to invest much energy into who’s in front of them, because they know there’s always another dozen or so in the wings. Sad, really.

She has a sort of rating system, and no one has ever lasted for more than two months. Most for considerably less, and when they fail..she tells them exactly what they did wrong. They must understand why they are being dismissed.

And recently, it has occurred to me that internet dating…is the absolutely perfect hunting ground for the active, modern scott.  Forget parties. Forget water coolers. Those are for beginners.

So what do E-Harmony, Plenty of Fish, and Omaha Steaks all have in common?  If you inherently know the answer, you’re a scott; if you don’t, you’re a roger; an innocent, doe-eyed roger.

Think on it. It will come to you.

Think faster.

“Hey…why is my soul mate carrying a bottle of A-1 Sauce?”

Mr. Monk and the Old Man…

I am the Old Man in question ( a reference to the last post ), and Mr. Monk refers to a wonderful TV series that ran from 2002- 2009. There was actually an episode titled ” Mr. Monk and the Old, Old Man”, so there’s a small inside joke there.

My niece Olivia would probably get it. Monk was one of our favorite programs. Even at her age then ( 8-9 ), she understood the humor.

It was premised on the idea of a retired police detective who serves as a consultant to the San Francisco PD;  who also suffers from an extreme case of OCD, along with several severe phobias.

Sure doesn’t sound very appealing; but in addition to being a very well-put-together detective show, Monk had a constant undercurrent of dark humor that was always understated, and never presented at the expense of the main character.

Tony Shaloub portrayed Adrian Monk, and was nominated for eight Emmys. He won three of them. The program received a great many awards.

The last episode still holds the record for viewership of a cable-tv program; 9.4 million.

We stopped watching after the finale, even though it has been in syndication ever since. But recently, we happened to watch a few ( more as a gentle reminder of Olivia, whom we don’t see as a result of estranged relations with her parents ).

I am pleased to report that Monk is always terrific, in a kind of Monty Python or Dress to Kill ( Eddie Izzard ) sort of way. You know it by heart, will recite favorite bits to other fans, and to anyone else who will put up with it.

If you have never indulged, may I heartily recommend it.

It carries a full five-star rating from Olivia.

I’ve Been Told….

Sunday morning, and I find myself surprised to sense my inner Baptist preacher clamoring for a bit of attention. It certainly has been a while….

He would just like to take a moment to remind us all that we are, as children, born into this world in a state of absolute purity and innocence. That seems to be our natural state of being, and that sadly, it generally doesn’t take very long for that inherent state of grace to be worn down and corrupted by something. Parental influence, siblings, XBoxes, the Disney channel ( I really have a thing about the damned Disney channel )…almost anything. And then, as we get older…the things that corrupt us become ever more complex.

It really is a jungle out there.

Some kids have a much better chance ( based on their environment ) of retaining some of that purity as they go along, but they will likely succumb to something, eventually. But with a good base and a  support system, they’ll manage to hold onto a few threads of that purity, and slowly, slowly…begin to work their way back. It may very well take a while, but those few threads are tough as hell, and will never surrender.

With that said, it seems entirely fitting for people of all ages to be walking around being fully aware of that tiny thread of purity in themselves that may have survived the onslaught. That, I believe, is where the heart of a true personality lies. Not in any of the myriad stages of corruption that we have to try to survive, but in the realization that you started out good, were drawn away through no initial fault of your own, and just want to get back on track while you still have time.

And there’s always time.

Ok. He’s done. He needs to do that every now and then. But let me tell you what triggered all that…

Yesterday, I was walking through the produce section of the local market and, as always, smiling to myself ( see ” Peaches” , under Olivia Stories, SecRag II ). I had to make a quick stop in the rest room, which is nearby. Another person entered shortly afterward, with a very small boy in tow; about age four, or so.

As I was stepping towards the sink, I noticed that the boy ( who was waiting impatiently for the parental figure ) was, as  four-year- olds always are, intrigued by everything else in the room. He couldn’t reach the  sink, couldn’t reach the towel dispenser ( which was broken anyway)…wanting to know what Dad was doing…( Dad wasn’t doing a particularly good job of watching him just then…)

I thought I would slow down a bit and be able to keep an eye on him until the parental unit was available.

So, I washed my hands…twice… and noticed the boy. His attention was riveted on me.

I was using the sink, and he couldn’t.

Quite a conundrum. You could actually see the issue playing through his mind. He couldn’t speak to the stranger, but…how did the sink thing work? I gave him a reassuring smile, but he would have none of that.

Thankfully, the parental unit emerged.

I now moved over to the air dryer, and Dad went to the sink. But now, the boy was riveted on me again…apparently, the air dryer was by far more amazing than the sink. How did that work?

I am ever appreciative of displays of childlike innocence…

The boy moved over to stand behind his father’s legs while he washed, and started bombarding him with questions. Dad…where did you go? What are you doing? Dad…what is that man doing?

No response from Dad.

So he pulls hard on Dad’s pants leg, finally gets his attention…points at me…and says…

” Dad! What is that old man doing?”

I actually turned, to see who he was referring to.

No one else there…


March 09, 2013; 1430 hrs. It is apparently official.

There’s a signpost up ahead… no, actually. I just went by it…it’s in the rear-view now. And somewhere, somehow…

Rod Serling is smiling.

But that’s OK. I still have a few threads that I’ve held onto all these years, and I’m trying to work my way back…to being more like a four-year-old.




Published in: on March 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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