Musical Entertainment

During a recent American Idol episode, Randy Jackson (one of the judges) was asked about how he felt toward a particular contestant and whether they should be advanced to the next level — Jackson’s response, that he was “a billion percent” in favor of the contestant, demonstrated his continuation of the upward trend of overemphasis when it comes to valuing someone or something!

Keep in mind I’m not talking about money or wealth — It is possible to acquire more than 100% more of whatever you started with. Whether it is cash, property or goods that you are measuring. However, if you lost 100% of your assets you’d have no assets left!

How truly capable is anyone of giving more than 100%?

I can remember back to my early life when it was inconceivable that anyone could give more than 100% of themselves… 100% was all they had!  There was nothing left over.

However, you could question them as to whether they were giving, or had given, 100% at the time.  Most people will never come close to a 100% effort when doing something, unless it involves a life or death situation — even then it would be questionable without a personal relationship to the outcome!

Perhaps this trend of overemphasis and exaggeration regarding amount of effort began with sports.  That is the first place I remember hearing about someone giving  more than 100%  — “He gave 110% that time!”

Truthfulness is reaching new highs!

References to being certain of the truth have also escalated above 100% — It’s possible to hear people being interviewed during news coverage saying things like, “I’m a 110% sure what I saw!”  Or, “I’m sure I heard him threaten to do it… 150% sure!”  Come on… what kind of nonsense is that!

Politicians, junkies, celebrities and everyday-citizens have fallen into the trap — Where will it end?

Will those of us with saner heads, lacking a need to embellish, be forced to inflate our values of events and actions in order to simply avoid hurting peoples feelings?  Only time can show the result…

However, I do expect Randy Jackson to get to at least 1 Trillion percent before the current season of Idol ends!  😎


I believe I first became aware of the song Talking Wheelchair Blues during this past summer — probably while running a search on wheelchairs and cushions.  I remember playing a link I found at the time — I seem to recall the singer was a woman, but I haven’t found her since.  I didn’t do anything else about it at the time, except I told my wife about the song.

Recently, a friend lost her father, following a lengthy illness.  My wife has been requesting my help in finding humorous, light-hearted, songs to play and leave as messages on the friend’s cellphone.  So, as I was digging around on Rhapsody, my wife remembered the Wheelchair song and asked me if I could find it.  Not only did I find the song on Rhapsody, I searched Google and found the lyrics, which I’m posting below.

I feel a close connection to events in this song — I recall times, from my personal experiences, when I had to use service entrances or service doors (as described in the song) in order to gain access to a building.  Even today, more than 15 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if you are in a wheelchair you may still have to travel through the kitchen, housekeeping or delivery areas to get into/out-of a specific building. I’ve also had many parents and waiters (waitresses also) react to me like those in the song.

Talking Wheelchair Blues by Fred Small — from his album, “The Heart Of The Appaloosa”:

I went for a jog in the city air
I met a woman in a wheelchair
I said “I’m sorry to see you’re handicapped.”
She says “What makes you think a thing like that?”

And she looks at me real steady
And she says, “You want to drag?”

So she starts to roll and I start to run
And she beat the pants off my aching buns
You know going uphill I’d hit my stride
But coming down she’d sail on by!

When I finally caught up with her
She says “Not bad for somebody able-bodied.
You know, with adequate care and supervision
You could be taught simple tasks.
So how about something to eat?”

I said, “that’d suit me fine,
We’re near a favorite place of mine.”
So we mosied on over there,
But the only way in was up a flight of stairs.

“Gee, I never noticed that,” says I.
“No problem,” the maitre d’ replies;
“There’s a service elevator around the back.”

So we made it upstairs on the elevator
With the garbage, flies, and last week’s potatoes.
I said “I’d like a table for my friend and me.”
He says “I’ll try to find one out of the way.”

Then he whispers, “Uh, is she gonna be sick,
I mean, pee on the floor or throw some kind of fit?”
I said “No, I don’t think so,
I think she once had polio.

But that was twenty years ago.
You see, the fact of the matter is,
If the truth be told,
She can’t walk.”

So he points to a table, she wheels her chair.
Some people look down and others stare.
And a mother grabs her little girl,
Says “Keep away, honey, that woman’s ill.”

We felt right welcome.

Then a fella walks up and starts to babble
About the devil and the holy bible;
Says “Woman, though marked with flesh’s sin —
Pray to Jesus, you’ll walk again!”

Then the waiter says “What can I get for you?”
I said “I’ll have your best imported brew.”
And he says “What about her?”
I say “Who?” He says “Her.”

“Oh, you mean my friend here.”
He says “Yeah.” I say “What about her?”
“Well, what does she want?”
“Well, why don’t you ask her?”
Then he apologizes.
Says he “never waited on a cripple before.”

We immediately nominated him for Secretary of the Interior.

Well, she talked to the manager when we were through.
She says “There’re some things you could do
To make it easier for folks in wheelchairs.”
He says “Oh, it’s not necessary.
Handicapped never come here anyway!”

Well, I said “goodnight” to my new-found friend.
I said, “I’m beginning to understand
A little bit of how it feels
To roll through life on a set of wheels.”

She says “Don’t feel sorry, don’t feel sad,
I take the good along with the bad.
I was arrested once at a protest demo
And the police had to let me go.

See, we were protesting the fact
That public buildings weren’t wheelchair accessible.
Turned out the jail was the same way.

Anyway, I look at it this way —
In fifty years you’ll be in worse shape than I am now.
See, we’re all the same, this human race.
Some of us are called disabled. And the rest–
Well, the rest of you are just temporarily able-bodied!”

Rhapsody music service offers a trial program which does not require any sign-up.  If you’d like to hear Fred’s song, clicking the link below should give you that opportunity!

Enjoy  😎

Talking Wheelchair Blues

Looks like digital music downloads on computers, MP3 players, iPods, smart-phones and the like are altering the music industry more dramatically than the cassette tape ever could.

Compact Disks (CD) came into the marketplace about 1982-83.  And, by the end of the 1980s CDs had just about replaced cassette tape and records as the format of choice for music.  Today, I read that Linn Products (based outside Glasgow, Scotland) is preparing to discontinue manufacturing CD players; the reason is declining sales of CDs!

Although the article I was reading, and its associated statistics, were focused on the United Kingdom (UK) I’d be surprised if the results were much different (on a percentage basis) in the US.   According to The British Phonographic Industry trade body, more than 117 million tracks had been bought by the end of October this year.  And, that is before the popular music gift giving season of Christmas.  Looks like 2009 is set to be a record year for single sales.  No doubt the economy has driven some cash-strapped music fans to economize.

Market share for albums was still dominated by CD sales but it is slumping.  In 2008, there were 137 million album sales, made up of 123 million CDs, 10.3 million digital downloads;  vinyl records, cassettes and other formats accounted for around 300,000.  In 2007, only 2.7 million albums were sold via download, while 151 million CDs were purchased!

My earliest recollection of music was watching people singing; either family or friends.  Then, I can remember AM radio and the black & white TV.  When I was about 10 years old, my father got a hi-fi (high-fidelity) radio with turntable; he was a carpenter and had done some remodeling work on a store in Newark which sold just about everything associated with music.  As part, or all (I don’t remember which), he exchanged labor for components and some LPs (33 1/3 rpm albums).  That’s when I became aware of FM radio and “longhair” music (classical music was popularly known as longhair or longhaired from about the mid-1930s until the Beatles landed).  Pop built his own cabinet and speaker boxes for his newly-acquired stereo system.  I can remember trying to listen to opera… I never did get into that stuff!

So, since the late-1950s what formats were/are available to the average music enthusiast: vinyl record singles & LPs (not to be overlooked are the large and heavy old antique 78 rpm records, which are spinning so quickly they finish in the same time as the much smaller vinyl single for sure); various tape formats – reel-to-reel, 8track and the shorter-lived 4track stereo cartridges, cassettes; CDs; and now digital downloads to the device of your choice.  And, let’s not forget listening to AM, FM and now satellite radio. 

What’s in the future?  Something mind-blowing I’m sure!  😎