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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, February 21 2001

Playing in the musical lovers' big-league

We seem to have struck a rich vein of sulfur-free Grade-A bituminous in the current topic, pop music (by which I mean, it's one that seems to go on and on and to generate additional commentary). However, my interest in the topic, I learned through a visit over the holiday weekend with my brother, Bob, who lives a two-and-a-half-hour drive from me in northern California, is superficial compared with his. A "generation" older than I (having graduated from Ebensburg-Cambria High School in 1947 compared with my graduation from Blacklick in 1960), his main comment on this series of Jonal entries was, "I couldn't possibly do what you've done, paring your list of favorite songs down to a few titles; I have thousands of favorites." And the supporting evidence gave credence to his claim.

Though he has always loved and collected recorded music (for years I gave him LP albums for Christmas presents), during the past year he has gone full bore on his hobby. Retired for over a decade and widowed in late '99, he bought a computer and hired teachers to show him how to use it. Though he does a little Internet surfing and enjoys email, his main passion is rerecording his favorite music in the formats he likes, creating his own CD's via the computer's usual CD drive and a rewritable CD drive. He buys all the recordings on CD's but remixes them like a radio station would so that he doesn't have to hear the same artist repeatedly in succession. He also buys lots of "collections," like the Time-Life CDs advertised widely on television, that already do the mixing, but he prefers to combine several of those into one new CD to give longer play per disc.

I asked him why he had two identical-looking Sony CD players in his livingroom. He discovered that a capacity of 125 CDs wasn't enough, so he bought a seond player that looks like that one, but holds 600 CDs, all of which he has cataloged in a loose-leaf binder. He can punch in a few numbers and choose any of 600 CDs with thousands of songs (600 of his long-play CDs would contain at least 15,000 songs). I was amazed about the breadth of his collection. Though his taste naturally goes to people of the era of Bing Crosby, the big bands, and pre-rock, there are lots of songs in his collection by Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Johnny Mathis, the Beatles, and other "modern" pop artists (though I didn't notice any Michael Jackson). And he was right: most of the CDs in his collection aren't ones I'd be interested in borrowing, though I can appreciate them playing in his house.

Probably the main point of overlap in our musical taste is that our appreciation of Country and Western music is limited to the "cross-over" hits like Patsy Cline's "Crazy" and Jim Reeves' biggest hits.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Rejected Hallmark Card greetings

1. My tire was thumping.... I thought it was flat.... when I looked at the tire.... I noticed your cat... Sorry

2. You had your bladder removed and you're on the mends.... here's a bouquet of flowers and a box of Depends.

Sent by Mike Harrison

Attitude is everything

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say: When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "How do you do it?"

Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon thereafter, I left the Towe Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied. "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I asked him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon to be born daughter, " Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Michael continued, "...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man." I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. "Yes," I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Gravity."

"Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own," Matthew 6:34.

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. You have two choices now: 1. Delete this. 2. Forward it to the people you care about. I hope you will choose #2. I did.

Sent by Bob Kennedy
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