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Archive for the ‘Songs On Saturday’ Category

Integrating 4 and 5

In Children's Literacy, K-12 Education, Popular Music, Songs On Saturday, Thats' Life, Tv Show Theme Songs, Writers and Writing on May 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Hello Everybully! Welcome! To Songs On Saturday!

Last week was so nice we’re doin’ it twice, including another song from my heretofore unreleased compilation called Stupid Pet Sounds.

This week, Songs On Saturday integrates four of my favorite things:

  • People
  • Randy Newman
  • music and

The Five Aspects of Literacy: Reading, Writing, Listening, Thinking and Speaking (in That order)!

Huh? What’s literacy got to do with Songs On Saturday or music at all? In general even?

I’m glad you asked That. BOL! Music involves listening, yes, but it also involves reading. I enjoy reading music lyrics. Reading about the musicians. Reading about the music, reading the notes. Reading about the instruments. There’s a lot of reading involved with listening to music! Lyrics, the words to music, are written by songwriters.

Songwriters are not always musicians or recording artists. They don’t all sing, play an instrument or even read music! Some songwriters “hear” the music in their heads or the lyrics may come to them at 2 o’clock in the morning forcing them from sleep, compelling them to write them down. Lionel Ritchie and Smokey Robinson have produced Grammy Award winning tunes that began with little more than the hook or a simple phrase. Then they labored to construct the song, often collaborating with others on the project.

Some songwriters are accomplished musicians but not performers. People like David Foster, Paul Williams, Burt Bacharach or Bernie Taupin. They write the songs that make the whole world sing. Their talents are sought and highly prized by big name entertainers such as Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand and Elton John.

A handful of songwriters are not only celebrated musicians and composers who accompany themselves with instruments, they also write their own songs. These musicians belong in an exalted class of musicians, Singer/Songwriters that include Paul Simon, Dolly Parton, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Carole King, Adele— and

Randy Newman?

O-Tay sure, many of you were first introduced to Randy Newman because of unarguably one of the funniest TV theme songs in sitcom history. The show wasn’t too bad, either. Very funny.

free music

Listen to Randy Newman's Short People | 1977

But Randy Newman is more than just a writer of hilarious sitcom theme songs. He’s a Singer/Songwriter whose satirical lyrics make you think and at least in one famous instance, made a lot of People speak as well.

In 1977, Randy Newman released a tune called Short People. “Short People” was widely misinterpreted by a public just beginning to experiment with the latest phenomenon in social sensitivity– political correctness. This new attitude had the unintended consequence of generating a great deal of publicity for the song and unwelcomed controversy for Randy Newman.

Randy

At first blush, the song appears to be ridiculing of Little People, with phrases such as “nasty little feet,” “stubby little fingers” and “dirty little minds.”

Mr. Newman was compelled to publicly defend his use of a literary device, the figurative intent of the word “short” and to appear on many late night talk shows to explain the song’s intent which was to call attention to how silly and small bigotry looks, sounds and actually, in fact, is.

When asked whether he anticipated the irony of the lyrics would spark such a firestorm of criticism, Mr. Newman responded: “I didn’t. I thought, all you gotta do is listen. It’s not like it’s James Joyce. [Then] I realized the medium wasn’t great for that. People don’t listen to music like that…”

Newman went on to record other songs that examine and mock bigotry: “Rednecks” and “Half A Man.”

In a 2003 interview fur The Sunday Times Mr. Newman went on to respond further about people missing the point of his songs: “To write indirect songs with characters that aren’t yourself as the narrator is not the best way to achieve commercial success. I mean, irony, who’s got the time? But it’s what I do, and it’s what I can’t help but do. I couldn’t write like Elton John if I tried.”

People under the age of 30 will, doubtless, recognize the distinctive voice and banging, saloon-like piano playing of Randy Newman from all the Disney Pixar films he’s done the music fur, namely the Toy Story films.

Now that you’ve clicked on all the links to learn more about Randy Newman and all his impressive achievements in a long and remarkable career, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. And so now… without any further ado, Songs On Saturday proudly presents ThatOne performing his soon-to-be hit (in his own mind) “Small Bulldogs!

Small bulldogs got no reason
Small bulldogs got no reason
Small bulldogs got no reason
To live

They got little legs
Corpulent behinds
They march around
With determined strides
They got little noses
Protruding bottom teeth
They got big fat cushions
On their plodding little feet Well we Don’t want no small Bulldogs
Don’t want no small Bulldogs
Don’t want no small bulldogs
‘Round here..!
Bulldogs are not the same
As you and I
(They’re cool and don’t lie)
Bulldogs are brothers
Hear this long, heavy sigh
It’s a wonderbull world! Small bulldogs got no buddies
Small bulldogs got no buddies
Small bulldogs got no buddies
To love
They got little stubby legs
Make ’em walk so slow
You got to pick ‘em up
And motivate their “Go!”
They got wagons & strollers
That go squeak, squeak, squeak
Make those purring noises
When they sleep, sleep, sleep
They got grubby little toe nails
Funny little minds
They grab you by the heart every time

Well we… don’t want no small Bulldogs
Don’t want no small Bulldogs
Don’t want no small bulldogs
‘Round here..!

Goodwill Energies I direct
Toward each and every one of you
Each and every day

“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”
That’s life today!
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WORD Ta’Ya Trader Joe’s

In Animals and Pets, Popular Culture, Popular Music, Songs On Saturday, Thats' Life on May 7, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Hellooooo… Everybully! And WELCOME! to Songs on Saturday!

This week Umma actually attempt to regale you with a song. My song!

Bet you didn’t know I, too, am a talented songwriter and performer? BOL!

Vanilla Ice

This is a little ditty I call “Ice Cream Baby”inspired by my love of vanilla ice cream and specifically Trader Joe’s French Vanilla Ice Cream (shameless product plug endorsed with the #bullDogENdorphiNATION four ‘s seal of approval)!

The tune is inspired by Grammy Award nominated one hit wonder and used to wannabee bad boy Robert Matthew Van Winkle (born October 31, 1967), more popularly known by his stage name Vanilla Ice.

I am not ashamed to admit She lubbed the tune back in the day, and we still lub it now! It’s still pullin’ us up on the dance floor after all these years! So go ahead and laugh. Got that outta’ya system? Let’s continue…

Vanilla Ice, a rapper from middle class suburbs in Texas and South Florida, released his debut album, “To the Extreme” featuring the smash hit single “Ice Ice Baby.” The tune was the first hip hop single to top the Billboard charts catapulting Mr. Van Winkle into instant stardom and hip hop history in 1990.

But there was a pricetag. Van Winkle had manufactured a hard knock  life bio designed to give him “street cred” with hip hop audiences. Both his credibility and reputation were irrevocably destroyed, however, when, like Milli Vanilli, the truth, specifically about Van Winkle’s middle class background and upbringing surfaced.

Mr. Van Winkle suffered other assaults to his credibility as well, including the appearance of plagiarizing intellectual property without assigning the requisite credit(s).

On the liner notes of the album “To The Extreme,” composer credit is given to Vanilla Ice, Earthquake, and Mr. Smooth. The record producers also thanked MC Hammer, Ice T, Public Enemy, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Cash Money, EPMD, and 2 Live Crew.

However no mention at all is given Queen or David Bowie whose 1980 hit “Under Pressure” were taken. Vanilla Ice never sought permission to use it.

According to industry insider Hans Ebert, Brian May of Queen heard the tune at a disco in Germany. He asked the DJ what it was subsequently discovering it was #1 in the US.

Although no lawsuit was ever filed, rumor has it Vanilla Ice agreed to pay Queen and Bowie a settlement.

So much fur the abbreviated version of the Vanilla Ice story.

And so now, without further ado, Songs On Saturday proudly presents ThatOne’s ode to Trader Joe’s. Anipals and furriends– Give it up fur Ice Cream Baby!

♫Yo! EBD‘s! Let’s lick dis!

Ice cream baby
Vanilla Ice cream baby

Alright stop! All That poopin’ and pissin’
ThatOne here! Cop a squat Take a listen

free music

SomeOne’s tuggin’ on my leash tightly
Discipline! I take it daily and nightly
Will it ever stop? No! I don’t think so
What will satisfy here? I know!

To the extreme I rock the bowl It’s a scandal
Drop in a dollop That’s ’bout all I can handle

I don’t have a problem so I’ll eat this
Check out this scoop here! She just released it!

Ice cream baby
Vanilla Ice cream baby
Let’s bounce!

Ice cream baby
too cold too cold
Vanilla Ice cream baby
Too cold Too cold

WORD ta’ya Trader Joe’s!
♫ ♫ ♫

ThatOne here fur Songs On Saturday. See you next week. Until then…

Goodwill Energies I project
Upon each and every one of you
Each and every day!


“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”


That’s life today!

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Inappropriate Wedding Songs? Probably

In Film, Popular Music, Songs On Saturday, Television on April 30, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Hellooooo… Everybully!

And WELCOME! to Songs on Saturday!

This week’s Songs On Saturday was inspired by yesterday’s Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The theme is love in song, specifically two songs. One about hoping and waiting to find it, the other about snatching a bit of it fur just one night, Someone To Watch Over Me (1929) and Help Me Make It Through The Night (1971).

A popular tune that might immediately come to the minds of People at their prime during the seventies is Al Green‘s Let’s Stay Together (1972):

Let’s… let’s stay together
Loving you whether… whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad

Writing yesterday’s post brought a few feel good nostalgia tunes to mind fur Her and reinforced Her love fur songwriting and songwriters. She just enjoys a great lyric. Great story telling that invokes images and stirs the imagination and the emotions are what keep me listening. To paraphrase Michael Corleone in the The Godfather III “they pull me back in” every time, even after several decades!

Love is a theme that never fails as fodder fur the songwriter. So many People are unlucky at it, or can’t find it, or can’t hold on to it or otherwise preoccupied with it. Loving and being loved are universal human experiences.

There’s a saying old, says that love is blind
Still we’re often told, “seek and ye shall find”
So I’m going to seek a certain lad I’ve had in mind

Looking everywhere, haven’t found him yet
He’s the big affair I cannot forget
Only man I ever think of with regret

I’d like to add his initial to my monogram
Tell me, where is the shepherd for this lost lamb?

There’s a somebody I’m longin’ to see
I hope that he, turns out to be
Someone who’ll watch over me

free music Someone to Watch Over Me is a song composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by his brother, Ira Gershwin for the musical Oh, Kay! in 1926. So many modern artists have performed and recorded this tune from Frank Sinatra to Amy Winehouse. Her personal favorite cover is by the great swing and jazz artist, “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald.

Ella Fitzgerald

Some of you are looking at this image now and remembering Ms Fitzgerald from those famous Memorex commercials where a tape recording of her voice is so sharp, so crystal clear, it shatters glass.

There will never be another Ella Fitzgerald. Her voice, her range, her jazz scat, the pure, natural, sweetness of her lilting soprano coupled with impeccable breath control, the clarity of her enunciation and pitch pawfect phrasing make listening to her now seem like the difference between calf’s liver and foie gras. Both are liver. Both taste great. (or so I’m told). But calf’s liver is not foie gras.

Over three decades of Her growing up, She caught many of Ms Fitzgerald’s performances due to her frequent television appearances on shows like The Merv Griffin Show, The Dick Cavett Show, The Smothers Brothers and The Dinah Shore Show. Ella Fitzgerald was “must see TV” back in the day.

Ella Fitzgerald was only 22 years old when George Gershwin died, but his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin, lived long enough to not only hear Ella record this song, but also to assist with the production of the album from which it came. With arrangements and orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle, the album Ella Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook was honored by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the body that runs the Grammy Awards in 1959.

Ella Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook is widely considered to be one of the greatest musical compilations in recorded history! After the album’s completion, Ira Gershwin remarked, “I had never known how good our songs were until I heard Ella sing them.”

Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson were the country songwriting hit makers in the seventies. He penned such classic American songs as For “The Good Times,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and is currently a member of the Songwriter Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He never got much attention fur his own recordings, but he was honored by the Grammy’s fur his songwriting and his songs became enormous hits fur others, namely Sammie Smith, whose recording of Help Me Make It Through the Night shot to #1 on the pop country charts in 1971.

I don’t care what’s right or wrong, I won’t try to understand.
Let the devil take tomorrow Lord tonight I need a friend.

Yesterday is dead and gone and tomorrow’s out of sight
And it’s sad to be alone. Help me make it through the night.

free music Sammie Smith won the Grammy fur Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Help Me Make It Through the Night” in 1972.

Probably good we weren’t the official Royal wedding song choosers. Right? BOL!

ThatOne here fur Songs On Saturday. See you next week. Until then…

Goodwill Energies I project
Upon each and every one of you
Each and every day!


“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”


That’s life today!


And Now Jessie J!

In Music, Popular Music, Songs On Saturday, Thats' Life on April 23, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Hellooooo… Everybully!

And to Songs on Saturday!

Think I wanna move to London!

Lily Allen

And now, Jessie J!

Jessie J’s been all over the airwaves lately, performing her hit Price Tag on SNL and then last week on Ellen.

She’s young. She’s beautiful. She’s British! And she’s got somethin’ to say! Hey, Hey look it’s Jessie J!

I must confess, I never heard of Jessie J before her SNL appearance. Her spirited performance made me sit up and pay attention and do something I rarely do these days– Download the CD Who You Are on iTunes.

Already a prolific songwriter and accomplished professional performer back in her native UK, Jessie  J, (born Jessica Cornish, March 27, 1988) got her first taste of success when she co-wrote a tune that managed to chart #2 in the US for, of all People, Miley Cyrus, a tune called Party In The USA. That definitely explains why I never heard of Jessie J until now.

Price Tag works fur me on one very significant level. I agree with her expressions about the thin social content and crass materialism that predominate in today’s “music.”

We need to take it back in time,
When music made us all UNITE!
And it wasn’t low blows and video Hoes,
Am I the only one gettin… tired?

No, Jessie. No, you’re not. It’s validating and a comfort to know there may be others who are equally as bored, disinterested and indifferent regarding the ever recycled subjects of who’s got bling, who’s drivin’, drinkin’,  doin’ who, wearin’ what, or kickin’ to the curb whom as I am.

I’d like to believe the tune’s success is, in part, because of this comment on what’s passing in pop and hip hop circles as heady social commentary and not just because it’s an infectious, fun and catchy pop tune full of little asides both lyrically and instrumentally that direct the listener to certain ones she may have gotten tired of or is paying homage to? Maybe?

Everybody look to their left (yeah)
Everybody look to their right (ha)

Did anybully else besides me hear a faint, distant allusion to Irreplaceable by Beyonce? Instrumentally, the bright, effervescent, bubble gum pop liveliness of the tune reminds me of the Black Eyed PeasWhere Is The Love? Listen to them side by side. See what I mean.

The wonderful overlapping harmonies of the background vocals and the choice to end the tune as she does sounds suspiciously like Alicia Keys’ No One. All that’s missing here are John Mayer, an acoustic guitar and some violins!

Of course the rap contribution of B o B , while great as rap interludes go, sounds a lot like most any rap interlude interjected into just about any pop tune these days but I did get a bit of the Jay Z noise from New York or maybe some T.I. from Justin Timberlake‘s My Love.

Is Jessie J tired of JT? At least he hasn’t over exposed himself or put out a whole lotta crap like Usher. But if she is indeed subliminally referencing all the above, then I wholeheartedly agree 100 percent! At any rate, no harm can come of a little conjecture, right?

Maybe songs about “the rocks that I got” were fresh and perhaps even interesting the first 1000 times they cycled through the airwaves and on TV but now they’ve pretty much reached a saturation point. Fur me, they were always silly, repetitive and just plain boring. So what? Who cares?

What’s exciting with this young new artist is the chance to get in on the ground floor of a burgeoning career and participate in its trajectory. With a pop genre vocal style similar to P!nk, Ms J’s voice is a pleasure to listen to, particularly when she actually uses it to interpret a lyric rather than auto tune it up fur the dance floor.

You may appreciate why some have compared her vocal style with Gwen Stefani (Nobody’s Perfect, Abracadabra) and Beyonce (Big White Room, Casualty of Love). Ms J explains why her freshman release, Who You Are, may lack the editorial heft, life experience and strength of material of her more formidable peers namely Adele and Amy Winehouse:

“I feel like my album is an example of what exists in the world of music right now. It’s like my album is an iPod… it’s like when you go clubbing these days, you don’t have a pop room and a separate R&B room, they’re all together. People just appreciate great music…”

Well all righty then. At any rate, this effort is a joyful, lighthearted, cotton candied collection of mostly pop and dance tunes that appear geared to showcase Ms J’s considerable vocal dexterity.

If you’re looking for lush production values you will be disappointed. At least for now. No doubt, lots of big names are already now crouching at her door fur a chance to be a featured “artist” or produce her next offering. I see an overblown production on the horizon. Still, I’m looking forward to Miss J’s sophomore release.

Price Tag. It’s fun. It’s a pop tune. It’s a fun pop tune! So just sit back and enjoy! And dance!

This has been ThatOne fur Songs On Saturday. See you next week. Until then…

Goodwill Energies I project
Upon each and every one of you
Each and every day!

Everybody look to their left (yeah)
Everybody look to their right (ha)
Can you feel that (yeah)
We’re paying with love tonight

It’s not about the money, money, money
We don’t need your money, money, money
We just wanna make the world dance,
Forget about the Price Tag

Ain’t about the (uh) Cha-Ching Cha-Ching.
Aint about the (yeah) Ba-Bling Ba-Bling
Wanna make the world dance,
Forget about the Price Tag.

“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”

That’s life today!

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One Of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong

In Children's Literacy, History, K-12 Education, Songs On Saturday, Television on April 2, 2011 at 9:59 AM

Hellooooo… Everybully!

once again to this week’s edition of Songs on Saturday!

This week… The Grrrrreat Debate!

One of these things just doesn’t belong…

Seems there’s yet another great Rap versus R&B debate raging. Does rap music affect the community more than R&B? Is R & B better than rap? Hmmm…

This recurring debate always makes Her think of Her Grandma. Her grandmother who was born in 1908. Her Grandma annually, deliberately and methodically relived the pain of the “disappearance” of not one but two of her sons, both of whom (in separate instances, six years apart) rose early in the morning to go to work at the steel mill in Charleston, South Carolina. They never made it back home and both men were neither seen nor heard from again.

She herself recalls the sneering, disdainful voices of men, (who knew if they were really police officers or not) as they reduced Her proud, educated  but physically small father into a puddle of mutter of “Yes sir” and “No sir” as She and Her family made their annual interstate journey by car from Bronx, NY to Charleston, SC to summer with the grandparents  and meet up with all the cousins there.

Her Grandma owned and operated a funeral parlor. Her Grandma’s venerated pastor, the Reverend Preleau, owned his church and  the corner grocery store. Grandma’s youngest son owned and operated the neighborhood juke joint. There was a church and a candy store on every corner.

There was a launderer, several obligatory beauty parlors; the obligatory numbers’ runners. Only time whites came into that little slice was to collect on the penny insurance policies everyone in the neighborhood seemed to have.

The teachers at the elementary school She attended, Mary Ford Elementary School, were surrogate parents. As were any and all neighbors sitting in pews or out on front porches, listening to Hers and her siblings and myriad cousins’ speech, and observing their behaviors. No one paid for child care.

Her Grandma’s neighborhood community was full of hustle and bustle and pretty much self-sustaining. Integration was not viewed as especially necessary– Opportunity was. Integration was not the topic de jour around Her grandma’s dinner table.

There was much more conversation whenever “colored” appeared on TV. People literally shouted from their windows to announce “Colored on TV! Colored on TV!” People stopped what they were doing and gathered to watch, mostly at Her Grandma’s house because back then owning a TV set was a luxury.

Her Mother and Grandma especially liked Moms Mabley, Nipsey Russell, Louis Armstrong, Judy Pace, Brock Peters, Flip Wilson, Nat King Cole, Bill Cosby, Diahann Carroll, Sammy Davis, Jr., Ivan Dixon, Georg Sanford Brown, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Joe Tex, Jackie Wilson, Scatman Crothers— Mahalia Jackson.

They listened intently to Tony Brown, Julian Bond, Jesse Jackson, Dr.King, Malcolm X, John Lewis, and Thurgood Marshall.

But the music–  the music was ubiquitous.  It was always, always, always on. Ever present. Everywhere. Accessible to everybody! She says She can’t remember ever awakening to a day without music. The music galvanized the community.  It was restorative and painful; inciting and exciting. Calm and impatient. It was fun and upbeat. Sober and melancholy. Silly and serious but most of all it was wholly and completely and uniquely ours.

Dr. Martin Luther Jr. opened the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1964 with this address:

“Jazz speaks for life. The blues tell the story of life’s difficulties — and, if you think for a moment, you realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music!

No one but a Black woman could sound like Aretha Franklin or Tammi Terrell or Gladys Knight or Chaka Khan. No one but a Black man could sound like David Ruffin, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson or Donny Hathaway.  R&B integrated and synthesized the best of jazz, blues, swing and gospel.  Anybody who wasn’t Black at the time could only try to imitate it and failing that, try to squelch it.

R&B will FOREVER be associated with the Civil Rights Revolution.  Indeed, R&B is its soundtrack. This is triumphant music, from “Patches” by Clarence Carter, to “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye and all the myriad voices before, during, after and in between.

To this day She can vividly remember where She was and what She was doing when She first heard “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud),” “Thank You For Lettin’ Me Be Myself,” “Hot Fun In The Summertime” “Respect,” “Ball Of Confusion,” “Respect Yourself,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler),” “Living For The City,” “Summertime” (Billy Stewart version)…  So, so, so many grrreat songs.

The power, the TRUTH, the authenticity of virgin instruments and real, passion filled voices influenced the consciousness of an entire nation and the world, and brought together an entire community who were largely collectively informed and encouraged by a uniquely shared experience– Like one big “Sunday go to meetin’.”

Rap music has its place. It speaks for a generation and an experience that is truth and authentic for many.  But it’s not spiritually or politically transformative. It’s not changing hearts and minds. It is not influencing the moral direction of an entire nation. It is not changing the world! All it does is shine a dim light on something. It does nothing to affect change. It looks after its own self interests. Rap’s focus is individual and narcissistic rather than universal and transcendent.

It invites others to merely listen to a chorus of complaints rather than empathize with them or it glorifies  goals, a lifestyle and gross consumerism unattainable fur the average Person. There is no narrative around growth and change. It’s all technique, technology and auto tune without the heart. Rap is the National Enquirier of “music” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Rap says ‘If you buy this, I get money,’ while R&B says ‘If you feel like I do, we will all be free.”

R&B is voice. It is a soul.  It is a living soul– with voice.  It is connected to a history that traversed continents and centuries, took lives and liberties,  and required legislation and the law (gradually, in fits and starts), to change.

One thing is not necessarily better than the other, but to use a line from Sesame Street “one of these things is not like the other.” Oil is not like water however both may successfully fulfill a specific purpose.

The question is not which is better, R & B or rap, but rather which is more effective. And the Jeopardy answer is: What is– the one that performs best when the need is most great.

Goodwill Energies I project
On each and every one of you
Each and every day!

“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”


That’s life today!