Monday, August 9, 2010

Three Finger Banjo Blue Grass Monday Night Guest Artist Steve Martin

Haven't had a music night in a while, but tonight I believe I've found just the thing.
Steve Martin plays the banjo and wins awards, photo by Todd Heisler for The New York Times

 On just about any given night of the year, cold or cool, warm or hot, sometime after 10pm, we could walk outside or open a window and hear the sweet banjo and fiddle bluegrass songs played on the balcony of a quadro-plex across the street and two houses down.  Always a sweet sound.  Perfect for those nights when you just couldn't get to sleep.  All would be still and the music would come.  Those were the nights I had the best sleep. It's been about a year now since their Blue Grass wafted through the air, bringing smiles to everyone within earshot; they've since moved away.

One of my favourite sounds is that of Blue Grass, a style that grew out of the 1940s and 50s.  Steve Martin grew up with that sound in his home-town of Berkeley California.  He fell in love with the Banjo, especially the sound of the three finger banjo.  And much like everything else he set his mind out to do, he learned to play it, and play it he does, touring with his Blue Grass band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, at one point it was with Men With Banjos Who Know How to Use Them, which they certainly did, and there are other Blue Grass bands he plays with I'm sure (I have to say I'm not very read up on his tours and play dates over the last few years). 

There's something so relaxing about Blue Grass.  Sure it speaks to some more than others, but overall, it's hard for one's heart's spirits to not to be lifted when Blue Grass is played.  It's also a rush when that banjo plays faster and faster, showing off for the folks, now and again. 

Without further ado, I present to you, this evening, Steve Martin and his Blue Grass band, The Steep Canyon Rangers and others,...  Enjoy.

Steve Martin, Great Banjo Player, and the “Malcolm Gladwell 10,000-hour rule”

Steve Martin to play MerleFest; met his band in North Carolina

Saturday, August 7, 2010

When life gives you lemons, it's not safe to make lemonade without a license

Who knew that one of my favourite motto's "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" would end up backfiring? One little girl had to learn this lesson the hard way.

I was scrummaging around on the NPR facebook page today, and I was a bit curious about one article titled, "Zealous Health Inspector Busts Ore. Girl For Unlicensed Lemonade Stand".

Crazy but true. 7 year old Julie Murphy's lemonade stand was shut down at an art fair. Go figure some overzealous inspector should be such a stick in the mud. A screw loose? Perhaps.

Technically he was in the right, I mean, if she were an adult. And I assume she was backed by an adult, so shouldn't the inspector instead have gone after the child's legal guardian? Seems to me the child would a) never have known better, b) was doing what every child dreams of, c) was proud of herself, d) is now quite ashamed. This inspector is not only ethically wrong, in my opinion, but also has possibly scarred this child for life; not to mention the fact that the next time this girl gets the urge to sell lemonade, or start another entrepreneurial project in the future, she might think twice, and the next female conglomerate could fall by the wayside.

On the other hand, this could have actually been a very good thing. I'm thinking that Julie may end up being one up on her peers, becoming quite prepared and knowledgeable on the laws of enterprise. My hope is that she'll learn from this and take the world by storm the next time around. And that she and others will continue to fight for their rights and make necessary changes in our laws and ethics systems, all while preserving the simple beauties and heritage of our cultures ancestries, like kids selling lemonade for example (or whatever those may be).
So I suppose one of my favourite mottoes hasn't been thwarted after all... I suppose in retrospect, Julie Murphy's lemonade stand fiasco can teach us how to make lemonade out of lemons, even if someone shuts us down.
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