Sunday, July 12, 2009

Denny Duran: Humble Songwriter

Once in awhile you look back over your past and realize that people are not always whom you thought they were. This is not always a bad thing; rather instead at times it is a good thing, if not a great thing. Take for example an old friend of mine from high school, Denny Duran.

Denny and I were not always hanging out, but we did share some classes, talked from time-to-time, and graduated from the same class. I always thought he was a good guy. A couple of years ago we had a class reunion and Denny was there. I remember he carried a yearbook around that he had found at a garage sale or flea market from the same year we had graduated. Surprisingly the yearbook had remained unsigned through the years. Denny went around and ask each person at the reunion to sign the yearbook. I signed the book, feeling like I was giving out my autograph when little did I realize that I should have sought Denny’s autograph at that time. All through the reunion process, during the reunion and after, I never heard Denny brag or boast about his ability to write songs or play them. I really had no idea what Denny did and to be honest I did not seek him out to ask him. As it turns out, I should have.

Denny is one of those “undiscovered” songwriters. Once I questioned him about the music on his My Space page, I found out that he has written over one hundred songs in the past twenty-five years. A hundred songs would be significant for any current songwriter, so I was a little surprised when he humbly told me about his “hobby”, but that is the sort of guy Denny apparently is. He is not one to blow his own horn. So, I’m using my little place here in the blog world to promote Denny’s music. If you have time, go on over to his My Space page, take a few minutes to listen. You may be surprised to learn that some of his songs posted there have been listened to over four hundred times. And, if by chance you’re a producer or singer looking for a songwriter, it’s time to make Denny famous. Besides, I can always use a few more famous friends around me.

Denny's Music

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley

The sad news still seems to be racking up hits on all the news feeds from CNN to Fox, but the basic fact remains the same, Michael Jackson is dead. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a huge fan of the Michael’s, but I did like the music. I certainly questioned the man’s habits in private, but the fact is he was the King of Pop. People loved Michael, his style, his music and his passion when he performed. That all combined together with the fact that he took music to a new level (videos, moon walking, gloves – only one, etc) did make him the King of Pop.

Lisa Presley has been quick in pointing out that Michael thought he would die the way Elvis did. Like most people, when I sat down and thought about this, the similarities were simply amazing between the two men. I wanted to list a few from life and death:
Loved giving to others
Set new music standards
Danced in questionable ways on stage
Made television history (Thriller or Worldwide Broadcast from Hawaii)
Unique style of music
Had strong faith
Lived in fairytale type worlds they created
Created their own stage style of clothing
Loved performing
Gave 100% for all performances
Carried the title King

found at their homes
called cardiac arrest at start of investigation
alone when found
believed tied to prescription drugs
brought out fans because of death
setting record sales after death
dominating the news media
brought words from President
had police investigating their physicians
carried the title King to the grave
called one of a kind by media

Of all the things that are similar about the two men, one thing will always be the same. They were each loved by fans and they both made huge impacts on the world around them. While I liked Michael’s music, I already admitted I was not a huge fan, but for those huge fans out there, I ‘m truly sorry to see this legend die. On the other hand, can you imagine the concert going on in heaven now?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Analog Goes; 3 Million Watching Static

Okay, I usually don’t like to pick on people here, but to be honest I don’t think the people I’m going to write about will ever really know I’m writing this. For those of you that don’t know, and apparently there are around three million Americans, analog TV has gone the way of the dinosaur Going, going, gone digital. This happened faster than the transition from Beta to VHS to DVR. It happened faster than the, still slowly changing, transition from A.M. radio to F.M. radio. But come on, it’s not like there wasn’t any warning signs.

I mean, how could you miss all the warning signs of the change for crying out loud! They announced it during the last Super Bowel; it’s been on radio, TV, billboards, newspapers, flyers, store entrances, and even the convertor boxes themselves. You would have had to be living under a rock to have missed this. I mean, maybe if you are SpongeBob’s buddy Patrick Star (yes, I know their names) you might have missed the change. But, Patrick Star lives under a freaking rock! Where have these three million Americans been hiding for the last couple of years?

I guess, that if you ignored all the signs, did not listen to radio, turned off the commercials, and did not read a paper then you might have missed it. Maybe you just taped all your favorite shows and fast-forwarded through all the commercials for the last couple of years. Maybe someone picked up your food from the local store so you never had to see any signs. And, maybe you pay so much attention to the road when you drive that you missed the massive billboards. It just really seems odd to me that anyone would miss this transition.

Oh, well, I guess it happens. As for me, I’m going to tape MASH on my Beta VCR and watch it on my one hundred pound, fifteen inch television. I will just have to be careful when fast forwarding through the commercials, I bought the last beta tape from the discount shelf at the hardware store and no telling when they will get some more.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Long Hours

Long hours slip by slowly with each passing tick of the clock.
Time clicks.
Minutes seem to drag out toward an unreachable eternity.
Seconds, to minutes, and then hours
But when it is over
we are surprised at how
long hours really were with each passing tick of the clock.

© Clinton Thomas, 2009
(1st Draft)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Visiting at Section 60

I have to wonder, if sixty years from now they’ll still visit 60.
where those fallen for freedom lay sleeping and surrounded.
It’s called the saddest acre in America
with beer bottles, dog tags, hot sauce, and rocks.

Each stone tells a story as it stands shamelessly out of the ground.
A father, mother, friend, cousin.
A co-worker, son, daughter, but more a life.
I have to wonder, as small children leave their toys,
will they still come sixty years from now to sad section 60?

© Clinton Thomas, 2009 and dedicated to those who serve for my freedom.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Star Wars at the Drive In

My earliest memory of a drive-in movie was a history-making event. It was history making not only for me, but also for the world as a whole. We lived in North Little Rock, Arkansas and had a double drive-in movie between Kiehl Avenue and 167 (or 67) North. Unfortunately, today the area is home of the Links Apartments, but way back then it was home to a double drive-in called Twin City Drive In. There was a large Razorback painted on the outside of the screen facing 167. It was there that I enjoyed movie history with the rest of the world at the opening of Star Wars in 1977.

Star Wars had been highly bashed by critics as a bad overall movie, but I was determined to see it and convinced my parents to take my sister and me. We all sat in the car with small beads of sweat rolling down our faces as we listened to a crackling window speaker and watched Luke Skywalker save the galaxy from someone called Darth Vader. As most know, the rest is history and Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker became known (and renamed) as Star Wars: A New Hope. But, I'll never forget the first time I learned that critics are not always right and that space adventures did not always revolve around CBS, ABC or NBC's ideas of science fiction.

Note: the above was written for CNN.Com's I-Report.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Cover of A Book and Ms. Susan Boyle

For years the old saying "Don't judge a book by the cover" has been used for everything from people, to ideas, to animals, and yes even books. The other night the world was reminded not to judge a book by the cover by one Ms. Susan Boyle. Just do a Youtube search and you'll find out who she is quickly. What you really need to do though is look at the people in the crowd first. Everyone from the judges to those sitting in the crowd had a total negative judgement written on their faces. They judged the woman because she was slightly overweight, had a funny talk, joked about her age, and lives with her cat. She wasn't wearing fancy clothing and did not have a look of a professional singer.

Interestingly, when asked why she had never sang before, she flat said, "I've never been given the chance." The crowd continued to look at her with contempt right up to the moment she started to sing. From that first note the crowd started standing to their feet, the judges were in tears, and jaws dropped around the world.

Susan Boyle, you showed the world and good for you. Shame on the rest of us for trying so hard to judge the book by the cover. Ms. Boyle can out sing many so-called "stars" today. She can certainly out sing those lip-singing their way through songs on Saturday Night Live. Ms. Boyle can be proud of two things, first she has a fantastic voice and has shown the world she can sing, given the chance. Second, she is a bright shinning star in God's creation. I can just see God in Heaven sitting back laughing at all of the people for judging His creation before she even sang one note!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cartoon Vitamins

Below is Cartoon Vitamins. I prepared this poem after my doctor told me I needed some annual exams now that I'm... well, let's just say a little older. My doctor, whom I'm certain is younger than me, also recommended that I take a vitamin daily. I began to remember those various vitamins that I had taken as a child with all sorts of cartoon characters and dinosaurs on them. It actually started a flood of good memories going back to childhood and progressing through the years. This is a first draft that I wrote, made a few changes on and submitted here. I'd appreciate your review, input, and/or comments, but more importantly I am thankful and humbled that you have taken the time to read it in this crazy world we all live in. Thank you.

Cartoon Vitamins

One year, two year, three year
they pass so quickly,
it seemed I was a child,
young adult,
all before I knew what happened.

I wanted to be adult
and now I reach for childhood
Elementary, Junior High, High School and
a twenty-year reunion
a glance at the past that’s gone.

Nothing changes, everything changes
my hair changing now
my body changing too
vitamins the doctors recommend now with test
Invasive, odd, strange and reserved test for other, older people.

I am those older people now
it has all changed
but I still remember cartoon vitamins
they tasted grape.

© Clint Thomas, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Ends, The Debates Start

Battlestar Galactica came to a fitting end yesterday. I have to give the writers and cast thumbs up on a job well done. I don’t have to recap all the explanations that came out in the final episode, but I would like to point out that it had a very interesting twist with Galactica having been our past. It certainly ties with mythology, God, the thirteen tribes of Earth and other parts of our history. Now, I don’t for a second believe that Galactica is fact, nor do I believe that we should have a “Church of The Battlestar”. But, if you have not already drawn some associates with history and Battlestar, here is some to consider from a Christian or Jewish view:

Saul = possible prelude to King Saul
Baltar = possible Abraham from the Bible (one God belief)
Hera = already saw she may be Eve
Six = Sarai, wife of Abraham who couldn’t have a child
Adama = possible consider everyone’s father for leading them home “Adam”
Kara = Angels
Lee = could be “Adam” if Adama is Noah
Adama and Roslin = Noah and wife (big ship through storm to safety)

The possibilities go on and on and I believe that several great college thesis papers could be written from different points-of-view about Battlestar Galactica. However, here’s one more to consider, take a look at Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past. It was written in 1968 (long before the first Battlestar) by Erich Von Daniken. With the fine folks from Battlestar Galactica willing to help the local people of Earth it sounds an awful lot like the plot of Chariots. Take a read and then review Battlestar and you might just hit where the writers got some good material.