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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

TL@50 - A time to ? Life and Times

Here are TL's recommendations on Life & Times @ age 50: Learn and enjoy life in the formative years; Take stock at age 27 and take a MAJOR look at age 50. When in doubt, turn to Rock music.


The pages of the calendar are turned one at a time. The second hand of life keeps on ticking and the seconds become minutes become hours become days, then they become weeks and months and years before decades pass by one grain of sand at a time through the hourglass of our very lives.

With that in mind just yesterday, I took a good look at TL@50. And, looking within, I asked myself some pretty tough questions. Not all of the questions had answers, and, many of the answers hopefully will come in 2010. I can live with that.

Overall, the message I send out to one and all from my 50 years on this earth is this: "I feel very, very fortunate." I have a great family, great Mom and Bro, tremendous wife and kids, and so many friends that I can really count on - with dozens of friends living all over the globe. I've learned so much through all of them. I've travelled the world, spreading the gospel of NBA basketball and I am now embarking on an amazing journey to build a business and tackle new opportunities as a true entrepreneur, albeit during one of the toughest times in American business history. I am happy to face a gallant and challenging task. Need I ask for more?

The microscope lens underneath all of my questions provided one clear answer: "The best things in life are free."

That's what they say, anyway, and I believe it to be true. But those "free" things come with a pretty serious price tag. They come with a price tag of passing time, of aging, they come with a lot of stress, frustration, worry, disappointment, and, sometimes, failure. The rewards far outweigh the cost and its nasty, toxic by-products. The big paybacks in life come wrapped in wonderful, living, breathing packages.

For me, those packages are named Victoria and Alexandra, and, it's just great to see them grow and to let them flow.

After 50 years on this planet and countless opportunities in my own personal wacky, revolving world which includes so many wonderful relationships, family, friends, religion, education, sports, business and everything else you can dream up, I took a little stock yesterday afternoon and quickly realized that the best things in my life were my two daughters and their wonderful but amazingly different personalities. As they go out to the world, their lives reflect everything about my own life.

So I started to ask myself a million questions.

Did we bring them up the right way?
Are they happy?
Are they healthy?
Are they well educated?
Are they good kids?
Will they be ready for life?
Will they succeed?
What hurdles will be thrown our way?
Will I see them grow up?
Will they meet great guys or creeps?
Will they choose to be married?
Will I walk them down the aisle?
Will I see them turn 50?
Will they find true happiness?

Many of those questions already have answers while most do not.

My mind drifted to an exercise I sometimes play: Let me pose the questions of life and turn to music to help me seek the answers, and find some insight and maybe even discover some comedic relief along the road. To assist, I sent an e-mail to a few trusted friends of rock 'n roll. And, as I so often am reminded, my friends came through for me in a huge way and with tons of info and support.

The simple e-mail was this: "I am writing an essay on the "great questions posed by Rock n' Roll artists and their lyrics (or song titles). Please send any and all suggestions.

The answers were terrific and I thank Spy, Howie, Chris, Jan, Mike, Ian (from Britain) and a few others.

One theory proved out, in spades. The big questions of life are nearly all addressed in some shape or form, in rock music. However, the answers are never written in the lyrics but are hidden between the lines. So, without further adieu, here are the important questions of rock n' roll which can be pondered for eternity: (I will first list my personal favorites, then a bunch of great suggestions sent in by the boys).

TL Favorite All-time Questions of Rock n' Roll:

"Crossroads, will you ever let him go?
Will you hide the dead man's ghost,
Or, will he lie, beneath the clay?
Or, will his spirit roll away?"
- The Allman Brothers Band, with the song, "Melissa" - written by little known Steve Alaimo and very well known Gregg Allman.

And, here's a few other gems... my 'runners up' of the lyrical questions of life and times in rock:

"What's going on? - Marvin Gaye

"Who are you?" - The Who

"Woah, oh, what I want to know, will you come with me? ...
Woah, oh, what I want to know, where does the time go? ...
Woah, oh, what I want to know, how does the song go?" - Grateful Dead

"Have I told you lately that I love you? - Van Morrison

"How long has this been going on?" - Van Morrison

"Do you want to know a secret?" - The Beatles

"Should I stay or should I go?" - The Clash

"Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?" - Chicago

"Lord, lord, Miss Sally..why all your cryin'? - Allman Brothers Band

"Can you see the real me, can ya, can ya?" - The Who

"Do you think it's alright?" - The Who

"Tommy, can you hear me?" - The Who

"(Goodbye Ruby Tuesday) - Who could hang a name on you?" - The Rolling Stones

"Angie, Angie, when will all those clouds disappear?" - The Rolling Stones

"How bad do you want it?" - Don Henley

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn't the same
Livin' on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,
All a friend can say is "Ain't it a shame?" - Grateful Dead

And now, a full list of great suggestions from the boys:

"Why do fools fall in love?" - Dion

"Who wrote the book of love?" - The Monotones

Why does love got to be so sad? - Derek and the Dominos

"Who'll Stop the Rain?" - and "Have you ever seen the rain?" - Fogerty for Creedence Clearwater Revival

"Do you want to dance?" - Beach Boys - "Do, ya, do ya, do ya - do you want to dance?"

"Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadow?"

"Is a dream alive if it don't come true, or is it something worse?" - Bruce Springsteen

"Are you experienced?" - Jimi Hendrix

"Is there anybody out there?" - Pink Floyd

"How long, how long must we sing this song?" - U2

"Whose gonna ride your wild horses?" - U2

"What difference does it make?" - The Smiths

from the Scottish band, Travis, courtesy of Ian W:
Why does it always rain on me?"

"What's the frequency, Kenneth?" - REM

"What is Hip?" - Tower of Power

"What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?" - Nick Lowe

"What ever happened to those good times we used to have?" - The Buckinghams

"How can you mend a broken heart?" - Al Green, who posed a number of other questions, like:
"How can you stop the rain from falling? How can you stop the sun from shining? What makes the world go 'round? and the all important... How can a loser ever win?"

Of course, rock n'roll posed some pretty silly questions, too. For example:

"Why don't we do it in the road? - The Beatles

And, as I often do, I will leave you with the lyrics for an important message on an important day in my life. Here's Eric Clapton to sum it all up:

Standing at the crossroads
trying to read the signs
To tell me which way I should
go to find the answer
And all the time I know

Plant your love and let it grow.

Let it grow
let it grow
Let it blossom
let it flow
In the sun
the rain
the snow

Love is lovely
let it grow.

Looking for a reason
to check out of my mind
Playing hard to get
a friend that I can count on
When there's nothing left to show
Plant your love and let it grow.

Let it grow
let it grow
Let it blossom
let it flow ...

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