…And all that po-li-ti-cal crap

No, this isn’t a partisan rant or diatribe. I try to avoid posting political, religious or any content that could be even slightly misconstrued as controversial on social media (this blog included). I just don’t want my social experience to be about that. But some recent occurrences have made me chuckle.

Most of you probably know that U.S. President Donald Trump has dubbed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket Man.”

Personally, I think it’s quite funny.  I’m not up in arms about it as some EJ fans are. Given his sense of humor, I have a feeling that he probably thinks it’s quite hilarious, too. Plus, it brings EJ into the forefront of just about every news outlet, talk show, political cartoon, meme and what have you.  After all, what do they say? There’s no such thing as bad publicity. (And I don’t even think this is bad).

Anyway, here are a couple of said images that I thought were particularly chuckle-worthy:

EltonJong

 

RealRocketMan.jpeg

Speaking (or not) of politics, Bernie and Elton have penned a few songs in their day that are either overtly political or could be interpreted as having a political message (probably more than I realize).  Here are just a few that come to mind:

  • Fascist Faces
  • Madman Across the Water (is this really about Richard Nixon? I think not)
  • Postcards from Richard Nixon
  • Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher
  • Restless
  • Belfast
  • Border Song
  • Slave
  • Burn Down the Mission
  • Nikita
  • Passengers
  • Too Many Tears

I guess we could add Rocket Man to that list now! 🙂

And this list doesn’t take into account the plethora of war (especially Civil War) related songs. That in and of itself is probably blog worthy.

In case you’re wondering, the title of this blog comes from Fascist Faces, off the album The Fox (1981). I’ve always loved the way he sings “political” in this song:

But I’m tired of being linked with the K.G.B.
And all that po-li-ti-cal crap

 

Question for you: What Elton songs do you think are political? I’d love to hear from you.

Back to the main topic of this blog, we have 70- and 67-year old men getting props for a song they wrote in  1972…not bad, not bad at all.  See, boys, you’re still relevant!

And here’s some unsolicited advice from Kimoreena: If you’re upset about Rocket Man being used by Donald Trump (and now just about everyone in the world), it’s really not that big of a deal. Go with it and have a good laugh. (I mean, you have to laugh else you’ll cry, right)?

ImNotTheMan

EltonJong2a

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The weight of the world

I can’t believe it’s been almost six months since my last post – and it was nearly a year between that post and the previous one! Just two posts in a year and a half! What is going on with the Kim? The Captain certainly hasn’t slowed down much.

Well…there have been a lot of things going on in my life which have kept me busy and my mind elsewhere. Be that as it may, the biggest thing to me is that I want to be thoughtful in my posts – and lately, I don’t feel like I would have been able to give The Captain and the Kim the thought and care that I expect to.  If a song carries a special meaning or memory for me, I want to describe every nuance of that. If a concert has a special moment (and don’t they all?), I want to capture that for everyone to experience. I don’t just want to post for posting’s sake.

But I’m back now.  (And yes, I can hear the cheers and applause, thank you very much).

As many of you know, I will be retiring at the end of this year.  Retiring much earlier than I had expected, but retiring nonetheless.  It’s been a long 35 years with the same company – mostly good, some not so.  All in all, though, I can say that I’ve had a good run. Time to pass the baton.

Fortune and fame is so fleeting these days
I’m happy to say I’m amazed that I’m still around

I’ve traveled to places I never thought I’d go, worked on some really cool projects, met my husband, received 7 patents, published many articles and reports, even saw Elton at a conference my company sponsored…And most importantly, I’ve met and worked with so many talented and all around good people.

You know, I have worked for the same company for more than 60% of my life.  No doubt I spent too many hours working and thinking about work.  I was distracted from my children and family much too often.  I associated my value as a person too much with my career success or setbacks.  It’s been such a big part of my life – probably more than it should have been.

There’s a long list of names that I don’t recall
Even though my memory’s good
The rain washed away the lemons and weeds
When the weight of the world weighed more than it should

Part of me is nervous about retiring, the other part is excited. (Remember, I’m a sucker for that dichotomy thing).  As I work on my resume, search for what’s out there and what’s possible, I try to lean towards the excited side vs. the nervous side. It’s not always easy, especially as my end date closes in (4 months to go as of this writing).

So…

On January 1, 2018, I want to feel like I felt the day I knew I was going to graduate from Georgia Tech.  I remember it vividly.  My advisor had just given me an “A” on my senior design project.  I did it! I was graduating! It was raining outside, but I didn’t need an umbrella – and I felt like I was flying.  That weight was definitely lifted.

And the weight of the world is off my back
When we fell, we got up
And crawled out the cracks
Excuse me if I take some comfort in that
Happy today, happy to play
With the weight of the world off my back

Well, I’ve had a different weight for 35 years – and it will feel good – scratch that, it will feel awesome – when that weight is lifted, too. Wish me luck!

And now, for your listening pleasure:

 

Weight of the World – Peachtree Road (2004)

30 Day Elton John Song Challenge

I’ve seen this challenge floating around Facebook, and I thought I’d make it a real one – let’s make it a 30 Day Elton John Song Challenge!

30DaySongChallenge

As you can see from my list, I only had to “stretch” it a couple of times.

Day 1: A song you like with a color in the title
Blues for Baby and Me

Day 2: A song you like with a number in the title
Between 17 and 20

Day 3: A song that reminds you of summertime
Amoreena

Day 4: A song that reminds of you someone you’d rather forget about
Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Day 5: A song that needs to be played LOUD
The Bitch is Back

Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance
Club at the End of the Street

Day 7: A song to drive to
Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)

Day 8: A song about drugs or alcohol
Heavy Traffic

Day 9: A song that makes you happy
Blessed

Day 10: A song that makes you sad
Empty Garden

Day 11: A song that you never get tired of
Tiny Dancer

Day 12: A song from your preteen years
Your Song

Day 13: One of your favorite 70s songs
Come Down In Time

Day 14: A song you would love played at your wedding
The One

Day 15: A song that is a cover by another artist
We All Fall in Love Sometimes (Jeff Buckley)

Day 16: One of your favorite classical songs
Carla/Etude

Day 17: A song that you would sing a duet with on karaoke
Bad Blood

Day 18: A song from the year you were born in
Sixty Years On (I was born in 1960)

Day 19: A song that makes you think about life
Blues Never Fade Away

Day 20: A song that has many meanings to you
Original Sin

Day 21: A favorite song with a person’s name in the title
All the Girls Love Alice

Day 22: A song that moves you forward
Friends

Day 23: A song that you think everyone should listen to
The Greatest Discovery

Day 24: A song by a band that you wish were still together
Grow Some Funk of Your Own

Day 25: A song by an artist no longer living
Mandalay Again (with Leon Russell)

Day 26: A song that makes you want to fall in love
Pinky

Day 27: A song that breaks your heart
American Triangle

Day 28: A song by an artist with a voice that you love
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters 

Day 29: A song that you remember from your childhood
Bennie and the Jets

Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself
I’m Still Standing

 

It was hard to pick just one song for each day, but that’s my list. (And by the looks of all the songs without links to them, I’ve got some blogging to do)!

So what would your 30 days of Elton John songs look like?

 

 

You went from purple wings to the real thing at last

I am stunned. The world is stunned. Prince. Dead at 57.

Prince-EJInstagram

From Elton himself (on Instagram):

“This is truly devastating news.

The greatest performer I have ever seen. A true genius. Musically way ahead of any of us. Sang with him twice on stage. What an honour.

Rest in peace you purple warrior.”

Alas, I was never fortunate enough to see Prince perform live.  The closest I came was his Super Bowl halftime performance (in Miami, not very far from me)…which imho was the best Super Bowl halftime ever. And leave it to South Florida, it rained one of those infamous and torrential downpours during his performance, but that did not faze Prince…Honestly, he was so magical one might have thought he made the rain happen himself.

Now, I don’t know every Prince album and song like I know a certain someone else’s. Not even close. But his music was a big part of my life in the 1980s, and I can honestly say that I never turned off a Prince song when it came on the radio.

My favorite song of his is “When Doves Cry” (and I have a fondness for “Raspberry Beret”).  And in the coming weeks, I hope to discover more.  I suspect there’s a lot out there that I will love.

From the beginning, it was clear the Prince was not only unabashedly unique, but he made it cool for anyone to be different, to be whoever you are, no apologies necessary; he was a true ground breaker in every sense of the words; and he was oh so very sexy. Plus he rocked – no, he owned – the color purple.

So pardon me, Bernie, as I borrow some of your recent words to make sense of Prince’s untimely and way too early passing. As always, thank you for the inspiration.

You were a light for the living
And you spoke of peace and love
With two wings and your old Gibson
You brought blessings from above
You were here and you were gone
Just a heartbeat from the past
But you went from purple wings
To the real thing at last

RIP Prince Rogers Nelson.

 

Happy 69th Birthday, Sir Elton!

madrid-400w

I remember when I was young
Listening to Elton was so much fun
With Greatest Hits I got my start
Soon all his music had a place in my heart

But the biggest kick I ever got
Was growing up with our “Lion King” of rock
While others came and went through the years
He’s still standing making all of us cheer

Well, the Rocket Man rocking is something shocking
When your feet just can’t keep still
I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will
Oh lawdy Mama those concert nights
With Elton and the Band up in lights
The Rocket Man rocking is out of sight

The years went by and his music’s still alive
Elton’s still touring, giving fans such a ride
And now he’s got a beautiful family
David, Elijah and Zachary

But nothing will ever kill the thrills we got
Burning up to our “Lion King”of rock
Learning fast as the years went past
That our Rocket Man was (thankfully) made to last

Well, the Rocket Man rocking is something shocking
When your feet just can’t keep still
I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will
Oh lawdy Mama those concert nights
With Elton and the Band up in lights
The Rocket Man rocking is out of sight

I remember when I was young
Listening to Elton was so much fun
For forty years I have followed him
And that’s the story of the Captain and the Kim

 

(Apologies to Bernie for borrowing your words and song structure, but I wanted to wish Elton a Happy Birthday in my own way).

 

When stars collide like you and I(BM)…

If you were kind enough to read my last post, you’ll know that two of my favorite things – IBM and Sir Elton John – came together at InterConnect 2016 on February 24.

20160224193836 8735 IBM INTERCONNECT 2016 ELTON JOHN

As expected, it was an amazing concert.  Everyone I talked with was absolutely ecstatic, and Sir Elton told us that we were “something else.”  That of all the times he’d played the MGM Grand Arena, we were “the best.”  (Yes, he used those exact words).

Anyway, there’s this notion in the world of Elton fandom of something known as “EJ Magic” – when two things seem to serendipitously come together because of Elton (directly or indirectly).  Perhaps it’s an unexpected front row seat; or it could be a new best friend you meet through your Elton kinship; that you just happened to be in West Hollywood for a “pop-up” concert; or maybe even a chance meeting with a band member.

I experienced my own form of EJ Magic around the InterConnect concert. Perhaps not in the classic sense, but one that struck me anyway. Let me explain.

Before the concert, I asked my Facebook friends to send some EJ Magic my way in the chance that I would possibly get to meet him.  And so many did, thank you.

Well, as it turns out, I didn’t get to meet him, but I do believe I experienced a dose of EJ Magic nonetheless.

Here’s why:

So many people at IBM tried very hard to make the meeting with Elton happen for me, I was really touched.  I was offered a VP’s photo op pass (but they couldn’t be exchanged); by final count, I could have ended up with 4 wristbands that got me on the floor. I ended up with 3rd row seats right in front of Elton’s piano bench (the second best seats I’ve ever had at an EJ concert); someone even saved a souvenir photo op pass and hand delivered it to the front desk at my hotel (in the middle of the night, I might add).  And so many emails were sent on my behalf.  And that’s what I know about.

Let’s just say, I got teary eyed when I picked up the souvenir at the front desk the next morning.  Maybe a little because I was that close to meeting him (hey, I’m only human), but mostly because I realized how many really good, really nice, really thoughtful IBMers there are out there.

I don’t want to embarrass anyone by calling out their names, but you know who you are and I just wanted to thank you.  I also wanted you to know how much it means to me that you tried…and that through your thoughtfulness, I feel a renewed fondness for this great company that we all work for.

And that little reminder – that I work with such special people and for such a special company – is my “EJ Magic.”

A while ago, I wrote about why I’ve stayed with IBM for 33+ years, and I failed to mention perhaps the biggest reason, which is the people of IBM.  Truly.  IBMers are the best. Even Sir Elton said so!

 

Piano man makes his stand in the auditorium (at IBM InterConnect)

Ok, let’s just put it out on the table: I am a huge Elton John fan. (Many would say that is an understatement). I’ve been an EJ fan since 1974 and an IBMer since 1982.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think the twain should meet, but if you haven’t heard by now, Sir Elton will be rocking the house tonight at IBM InterConnect 2016.

I know.

Am I excited?  Let’s just say that for the first time ever for an IBM business trip, I packed my feather boas.

ICEltonRocksLarge

Tonight will be the 50+ time I’ve seen him live.  (Over the span of 40 years, that’s really not that outrageous.  Really.  It will be #64 for a friend of mine who will be singing and dancing with me tonight).  It never gets old, believe me.

For those of you who will experience Sir Elton live for the first time, trust me, you are in for a real treat.  My advice: Get up and dance as much as you feel, as much as you want.  He really loves it when people are dancing and enjoying the show.  Besides, how can you not be up when he sings “I’m Still Standing?”

People often ask me why I’ve stayed an Elton John fan for so long.  Simply put, I’d have to say it’s because he and his music have grown up as I have grown up. And that his music is still as relevant to me today as it was 40 years ago.  In fact, I have a blog, The Captain and the Kim, dedicated to describing what his music has meant to me over the years.

Some fun facts about Sir Elton that you may not know:

  • He was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947 in Pinner, England. When he changed his name, he chose a stage name that paid tribute to vocalist Long John Baldry and saxophonist Elton Dean. (His middle name is Hercules).
  • He taught himself to play piano at age 3.
  • Elton has been writing music with his lyricist Bernie Taupin for almost 50 years.  They both answered the same newspaper ad.  It was kismet.  Through all these years, they have never written together in the same room.
  • In his five-decade career, he has sold more than 250 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time.
  • He has more than 50 Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, 50+ Top 40 singles, and nine No. 1 hits.  His latest album, Wonderful Crazy Night, entered the Billboard Top 200 at #6.
  • In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the top 100 most-frequently-charting artists in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Elton was listed at #3, behind only Madonna and The Beatles
  • He has won five Grammy awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award.
  • His tribute to Princess Diana (Candle in the Wind) is the second-highest selling single of all time. (Bing Crosby’s White Christmas is #1).

Now back to tonight’s concert at IBM InterConnect. I’ve been musing for some time about finding connections between Elton and IBM, so bear with me here…

  • He’s still standing, as is IBM.
  • He’s had 7 consecutive #1 albums (US), and IBM has had 23 consecutive years of being #1 in patents.
  • IBM’s got Watson, and he had Watford (the Hornets football club).
  • IBM is Big Blue, and he has many songs with “blue” in the title that could easily be transformed:
    • (Big) Blue Eyes
    • I Guess That’s Why They Call It The (Big) Blues
    • (Big) Blues for Baby and Me
    • (Big) Blues Never Fade Away
    • (Big) Blue Wonderful

Anyway, I can’t wait until tonight. It should be a Wonderful, Crazy Night* tonight for all. The only thing that would make it better would be if somehow, some way I got to meet him, but that won’t happen.  Maybe next time.  🙂

And do let me know what you think about the concert tonight.  I’d love to hear from you.

Pics to follow.

*That’s the name of his brand new album, which he calls “joyous.”  Check it out! You won’t be disappointed.  And I’m hoping he plays a tune or two from WCN tonight.

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