Category Archives: Videos

Folk Thursday: Crosby, Stills and Nash

Have I already “Helplessly Hoping” somewhere along the way? Probably. Does it matter? Probably not. I’ve been doing this feature for so long, I’ve lost track of which songs I’ve posted and which I haven’t.

This is one of my favorites. That mournful guitar and those tight harmonies are just divine.


Sunday Self-Care: Take a load off

I try to be productive on my days off: Clean the house, do a home-improvement project or two, prep a few meals for the coming week, maybe go for a run.

Sometimes, though, it’s good just to spend a couple of hours wandering down various rabbit-holes to see where they lead.

A Twitter conversation yesterday got me thinking about musicals, which led to an Evita earworm, which sent me to YouTube to dislodge it by listening to Patti LuPone sing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.” Somehow LuPone led to Nicole Scherzinger, who led to Lea Salonga, who led to Bernadette Peters, who led to Joni Mitchell (I didn’t really follow what the algorithm was doing there, but when Joni Mitchell and Mama Cass show up in the sidebar, you don’t ask questions; you just say, “Thank you” and click on over), and Joni Mitchell led to The Band — and this incredible version of “The Weight,” featuring the Staples Singers.

Mavis is sublime here. I wouldn’t have minded if the guys all just piped down and let her handle the whole song.

I didn’t get as much done yesterday as I’d hoped. I installed a new composter, made a batch of soap, and got a fritatta ready to bake for this morning’s breakfast, but I didn’t do the paint touchups I’d planned, and I haven’t banked as many upcoming blog entries as I might have liked.

That’s OK. I didn’t have “sing along with songs I haven’t thought about in ages” on my to-do list, but it was something I needed to do; I just didn’t know it when I was making the list.

Sometimes it works like that. Sometimes you have to set your to-do list aside and give yourself permission to waste time. You can’t do that every day, of course, or you’d never accomplish anything. But now and then, it’s good to blow off a few non-essential projects and settle in for a little me time — and more often than not, I find that when I do, I end up working more efficiently and getting more done when I return.


Sunday Self-Care: It’s a beautiful day

I never liked Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood when I was little. I think it’s because I learned to read so early that by the time I was old enough to watch the show, I’d already outgrown it.

In fact, while most people my age talk about how soothing he was, how good he made them feel about themselves, or how much he helped assuage their fears about this or that, my earliest and most persistent memory of Fred Rogers involves a roughly 4-year-old me becoming irrationally angry about the fact I could make a much better construction-paper fish than the weird, angular shape he cut out and tried to pass off as a fish for some project he was doing on the show. I have vivid memories of shouting to my mom with barely suppressed rage: “I can do a better job than that, and I’M ONLY FOUR! He’s a grown man, getting paid for this, and that’s the best he can do?”

Mom gently explained that other little kids weren’t as coordinated as I was, and Mr. Rogers was screwing up his paper fish on purpose to make them feel better about their own work.

I was apoplectic.

“He’s a grownup, and he’s wasting paper ON PURPOSE?!!!?”

Preschoolers, as you may have surmised, possess neither a particularly nuanced worldview nor a great appreciation for the value of differentiated instruction.

I didn’t have much respect for Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in 1979, but 37 years later, I think I’m ready to move there.

Nobody in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood is afraid of immigrants. Nobody in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood is making fun of people with disabilities. Nobody in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood is fat-shaming anybody or gossiping about anybody else’s sex life. And there jolly well isn’t any wall keeping anybody out of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, because everybody there understands that other people are SPECIAL JUST THE WAY THEY ARE.

A couple of weeks ago, a Twitter conversation prompted me to wonder: How much better off would we all be if we spent more time listening to Mr. Rogers and less time listening to people who prey on our insecurities and encourage our worst instincts? I decided an experiment was in order, so for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been watching old episodes of the show on YouTube and paying attention to the message.

I was too old for Mr. Rogers when I was little. But in my 40s, I’ve come to the conclusion that a daily trip to that peaceful, accepting neighborhood might be just what I need as I search for an antidote to the anger, frustration, and disappointment I battle every time someone tries to defend a sexist dogwhistle, a xenophobic policy proposal, or any of the other myriad forms of bigotry that have shown themselves during this election cycle.

Won’t you be my neighbor?