Touch of Grey will, well, touch upon the rainbow that is life. Good music, good times, and good friends combine to make all the splendid colors. Touch of Grey will celebrate this beautiful rainbow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scouting Memories...

Are some of the sweetest memories of my life.

Coming from a long line of Girl Scouts, it was probably inevitable I would be one too. My mother, my grandmother - both were Girl Scouts. Mother got so involved in it when I was a Brownie, she decided to become a leader herself.

My favorite "stage" was the Junior stage. Mother herself said it was the funnest age for a girl, around 8 to 11 or so. I think she was right. I remember vivdly the camping trips, the crafts, the songs, day camp, building camp fires, learning new skills, cookie sales, working on badges.

And, oh, the badges! I do believe they have changed drastically from my time in scouting. No longer do Girl Scouts have to earn badges for home-economics-type activities, like sewing, cooking, etc. It's been a long time since I've looked at a Girl Scout handbook, but the last time I did, I saw badges in there I didn't even recognize. Environmental themes, for example, and technology-geared badges seemed to be the norm. I know times change, but for me, the principle of scouting never will. It encourages girls to be strong, to be academically and socially responsible, and to be ethical and upstanding citizens. It's mighty good to know some things never really change.

Our troop, #154, was part of the San Jacinto council, and we had probably 12 or so girls. With my mom, the leader, and her friend, our co-leader, we had excellent guidance and lots of laughs as well. One particular example of what NOT to do came when my mother tried to make pancakes in a cast-iron skillet that was way past its prime over a campfire. Needless to say, the pancakes stuck like crazy, and we ended up with pancake pieces, or, as we came to affectionately call them, "scrambled pancakes". We would laugh about that for a long time. One overnight camping trip, we had tents, the old canvas kind, that were already placed on the campsites. All we had to do was roll down the canvas when we were ready for "lights out" and go to bed. Simple, right? Well, we never really looked up at the top rafter before, had no reason to. Once we rolled down the canvas and really started looking at the inside of the tent with our flashlights and lanterns, it occurred to us gals that we would be spending the night with many daddy longleg spiders. Cue the screaming. Of course, when one girl screams, then the others will follow suit, then from one tent to the other. Before mother could even get out of her and her co-leader's tent to see what was going on, she was rushed by about 10 girls trying to get into her tent all at once. Nevermind there were spiders in her tent, too. We were safe with our leader! I think we all slept in one (small, very small) tent that night, but wound up laughing about it in the daylight the next day.

Thanks to Truth Ferret, my favorite little ferret, for bringing up such great memories. Scouting wasn't just an organization for learning, it was a place where a girl could really be a girl and gain the skills to become a woman.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hell Has Officially Frozen Over

In a stunning upset, Republican Scott Brown has beaten Democrat Martha Coakley for the Senate seat vacated by Ted Kennedy in a special election in Massachusetts. There have been no Republican senators from this state in 38 years. The true-blue state of Massachusetts is turning a shade of purple today, and leaning ever more toward red.

I say this because, against all sentiment and logic, Senator-elect Brown carried even the Cape Cod region of the state, which was a Kennedy stronghold. With Brown in the senate, as the forty-first Republican, the Democrats lack a sixtieth vote needed to thwart Republican filibusters. The timing of this could not be more critical, with one of the largest bills concerning the future of healthcare coming down the pike. I cannot think of a stronger rebuke and denunciation of President Obama and his policies than the outcome of this election. The people of Massachusetts have spoken loudly and clearly. Read just how loudly and clearly here. See just how loudly and clearly here. This election will most certainly have repercussions for upcoming elections around the nation within the next year or so. I do believe this is just the beginning.

Folks, do not think for a moment that your vote does not count. Need proof? Ask anyone from Massachusetts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mercury Rising

Well, kiddies, you did it. There was SO much heat generated from the music on my last blog that you have managed to raise the temperature to a much more desirable level.

What?? You're not yet ready for summer? Well, frankly neither am I. It seems that this has been a rare year when we can truthfully say we've had a real winter. And I for one am enjoying it. Before you know it, the thermometer is going to shoot up to the 80s, 90s, and beyond. I just hope that this summer we will not be subjected to a drought to equal last year's.

WHEW!! Just thinking about those warmer temps is enough to make me shed the sweatshirt here for something....cooler. Hey, I know! How about some COOL music? Follow the bouncing ball (or just the cursor) around to access some supremely cool tunes. Ready? Here we go....

This time we'll start off gently. For me, a certain someone always comes to mind when I hear "Cool Change" by the Little River Band from their album First Under the Wire. Go here to see a meaningful video that surely gave me a peaceful feeling when I watched it.
Ready to ratchet it up? Okay, for you rockers, I have Foreigner's "Cold As Ice" from Foreigner, their debut album. I still remember when this came out on the radio, and still love the song. This video was made at a time when Lou Gramm was still healthy and whole, so enjoy it here. Foreigner made some great songs when they were newcomers to the scene, and were pretty hot for a while.

Next up is AC/DC ala Bon Scott once again. There is always an AC/DC song appropriate to the occasion. This cut is "Cold Hearted Man" from their Powerage LP. But this song is found only on the European release of Powerage and thank heaven somebody had the great taste to post it on YouTube, otherwise this gem could not have been included here. Any day I hear Bon Scott is a beautiful day, so check this rarely heard track here. You won't be sorry, I promise you.

So on to one of the greatest groups of the 1960s - 1970s, The Hollies. There are too many hits to list by this band, but "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)" was one of their bigger ones. Some songs just never show their age. This is definitely one of them, appearing on their album Distant Light. Scope it out here.

Are you getting colder? I am. I'm practically "Frozen". First off, let me say I am by no means a Madonna fan. This song, however, has always intrigued me and I think it may be my favorite on a short list of songs that I like by Madonna. It echoes with Middle Eastern influences, in my opinion, has a haunting quality, and was the best cut from her album Ray of Light. Listen here and see if you don't agree. Again, a certain (different) someone comes to mind, and like the song, the memories are bittersweet and haunting. Some songs have a power unto themselves, as do some remnants of our past.

Ready for something different? I wonder how many people remember this song from 1980 by a band formerly known as Flowers. I am speaking of "Icehouse" by Flowers who decided to rename their band "Icehouse" after the release of their debut album "Icehouse" that showcased their single "Icehouse". Confused yet? Well, just enjoy the video and song. This tune is sort of a rarity that not many people heard. To me, Icehouse (the band) came along just as the music industry was ushering in the age of new wave, and along with acts such as Gary Numan, Joe Jackson, Blondie, and Devo, bridged the gap between the punk rock scene of the 1970s and the bubble-gum pop to come in the 1980s. You may remember two Icehouse hits from the 1980s called "Crazy" and "ElectricBlue". off their album "Man of Colours". It's amazing to me that the band I was mesmerized by in 1980 enough to record their album on an 8-track so that I could take it with me in my portable radio/8-track would be the same band I would dance to gleefully years later in the West Key in a totally different city as an adult who could buy drinks for herself (or have men buy them for her!). Such is the arc that Icehouse has made in my life.

It occurs to me that I made a glaring omission on my last blog of "hot" tunes. It seems I forgot the hottest one of all sung by the HOTTEST fox ever - "Light My Fire", the second single off their self-titled debut album by the Doors. Here is a worthy video showcasing a man with talents beyond what even he could have imagined. Jim Morrison was a poet, genius, drug addict, alcoholic, musician, songwriter, husband, son, and brother. He was gone far too soon, but maybe Earth's gravity cannot hold all the beautiful people away from Heaven's pull. To balance out the heat from this fiery song, try cooling off with "L.A. Woman"off the LP of the same name. After all, it doesn't get any cooler than Mr. Mojo rising, does it? The supreme coolness of this song can be found here.

And there you have it. "Tasty freeze" songs for your chilling out pleasure. It has been MY pleasure bringing them to you. After all, it's merely the second week of January. Which means it will be summer in South Texas in, oh, about 3 weeks!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cold, Baby? Warm up with Music!

Cold enough for y'all? Not yet? Well, stand by, because the coldest weather of the last few years is about to be upon us. If you are like me, you are busy making preparations to protect pets, plants, and pipes. And, in interest of preservation of our own selves, a hunkerin' down inside, in front of the fire, or television, or computer seems our best bet for the next couple of nights.

What's that you say? Still chilled to the bone just thinking about ol' Jack Frost outside? Well, take heart, kiddies, for here I am to save the day (and night) with some toasty, tasty tunes to warm your soul. I guarantee that after you've indulged in these HOT songs, you'll be chilly no more.

How about starting things off with a little "Rock and Roll Stew"? Yes, I know the old holiday songs says "the traffic is terrific," but in this case, the Traffic really IS terrific. You can listen to this cool song here from their album "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys." The vid may not be much to look at, but the music more than suffices and warms the heart.

Next up is the one and only "Highway to Hell" from the album of the same name with amazing vocals by the one and only Bon Scott of AC/DC. Bon died much too young, but with this great vid here, and the albums lovingly treasured by yours truly, he will live forever.

Now that we're there (below, that is), could you imagine it could get hotter? Hotter than, well, Hell? I guess that calls for a song that reflects the heat around us: "Hotter Than Hell" off the album of the same name by none other than KISS. Enjoy these cool pics and the song here. I especially like the attention paid to Ace Frehley here, since I was and am a major Frehley freak.
Well, are you feeling the heat yet? Are you...."On Fire"? If so, you will enjoy the song here of the same name by Van Halen from their first (and best), self-titled debut album. This tune was an awesome finish to an awesome album. They never topped this album, in my opinion. It was all downhill from there. But the sweet thing is, we can listen to this anytime we please and remember a band that was at their prime strangely at their beginning.

Don't cool off just yet. It's gotten so hot in here, I think I may be "Burning Down the House"! In everyone's life a little Talking Heads must fall, and I think David Byrne's weirdness from the Talking Heads album "Speaking In Tongues" suits the mood we have going here perfectly, don't you? Check out a great vid here, and "hold tight - we're in for nasty weather"!

I can't imagine any of you would still be cold by this point, but just in case you still have a little chill, then go here and head south for a while. Some songs have the ability to transport folk, and this is one of them. How could you be cold while south of the border with the "Mexican Blackbird," who is rumored to be "hot as a pepper" and that little ol' band from Texas, ZZ Top? This is a fabulous, bluesy tunes from their album "Fandango", and I am on my second copy of that album, as I literally wore my first one out from too much play.

Lastly, if you're "full" from the feast of music I have laid out for you, how about just a little dessert to top it off? This time, it's the band's name that's hot, not the song title. Yes, I'm speaking of Hot Chocolate and one of my favorite tunes from them, "Every One's a Winner", again from the album of the same name. You can view a rather different video here. That song always takes me back to a certain place and time, and it's all good.

So that's it, kiddies. If you're not warm, or HOT by now, you never will be. Glad I could be of assistance during this cold, dreary week. Music always warms the soul, and now I hope yours is nice and cozy.