Archive for July, 2008

Song of the day

One of my favorite groups has always been The Mamas and The Papas and I have featured them in past songs of the day. The group’s success is partly attributed to the amazing skills of John Phillips in his arrangement of the music. Another major part of the success of the group was the incredible singing voice of Cass Elliot.

Cass Elliot was born in 1941 and her given name was Ellen Naomi Cohen. She took the name Cass Elliot as a stage name. She sang and acted for a number of years as a young adult and was part of a group called The Big 3. That group broke up and Elliot plus Jim Hendricks (also of The Big 3) teamed up with Zal Yanovsky and Denny Doherty to create the Mugwumps. That group lasted for only eight months when Yanovsky joined John Sebastian to form The Lovin’ Spoonful. Cass went solo and Denny joined John and Michelle Phillips to form The New Journeymen.

Denny tried for a while to get Cass to join the group but John was very reluctant as Cass had a weight problem and felt it would not look good for the group. However, Denny finally convinced John and in 1965 the group was re-named The Mamas and The Papas.

Cass’ voice was prominently featured in a number of the group’s songs, most notably Words of Love and Dream a Little Dream of Me. It was this last song that convinced Cass to want to embark on a solo career. She had a very successful solo career with hits including Dream a Little Dream of Me, It’s Getting Better and Make Your Own Kind of Music.

At the height of her career, Cass was playing two sold out shows at the London Palladium. She was very excited as she was very well received. After playing the second night’s show, she went to bed, and never woke up, having a massive heart attack in her sleep. Unfortunately there is an urban legend about her death, that she died choking on a ham sandwich (a half eaten sandwich was found in her room) but the coroner’s report was very specific that she died of a heart attack and that no food was found in her trachea.

This tribute song of the day is two days late, as the 29th was the anniversary of her death, and she will live on in her music.

Here is one more video of Make Your Own Kind of Music.


One Hit Wonder Wednesday

My kids LOVE Miley Cyrus. They watch Hannah Montana, they saw her concert on Disney Channel and I’m sure they will continue to watch over the next few years. Now, of course, Miley Cyrus has very little chance of being a One Hit Wonder. She already has had two songs in the Billboard top 10.

Her father, Bill Ray Cyrus, however, is perhaps one of the most successful one hit wonders. You can argue with his being a one hit wonder, but my definition of the terms means you have only had one song in the Billboard top 40. His one song is of course Achy Breaky Heart. I hate country music, but for some reason I seem to like this song. He has had many other hits on the country charts and his albums have gone platinum.

Billy Ray has released some new music recently, and given his popularity as a star of Hannah Montana, he may just get more music in the top 40. He did record a song with his daughter, Ready, Set, Don’t Go, which reached 37, but that was not just him, so it does not count.


Disney part 2

We are now one month from our trip to Mickey’s house (that is what Shayna calls it) and we are beginning in earnest to plan the trip. We actually planned one piece a while back. About two months back, I called 407-WDW-DINE and made a reservation for breakfast at Chef Mickey’s. This restaurant, which is in the Contemporary resort near The Magic Kingdom, serves only Breakfast and Dinner and both meals are character meals. Different Disney characters will come out during the meal and visit each table and take photos and sign the kids’ books. Everyone always has a great time at these meals, and the book up very fast which is why I reserved so early. We are going on Wed at 8:15 am. Early, for sure, but we will then have most of the day at The Magic Kingdom without losing much time.

Beyond that we have not made any meal reservations. One thing about staying at a time share resort is that we save money by doing our own dinners. We may have dinner out once and mkm and I are definitely going out for a meal one night, but the rest of the time we eat in house.

Part of planning out the week involves deciding which parks to go to on which days. Disney sells many different kinds of tickets. The basic ticket allows you entry into one park for one day. You can then purchase multiple days which allows you into one park on each day. The interesting thing is that when you get to a four day ticket, any extra days are about $2 – $4 per day. So we are purchasing 5 day tickets. We will have Tuesday – Thursday to go to parks and we are buying the 5th so we can go for a few hours on Sunday as well.

The next part of ticket purchasing is park-hopper or no park-hopper. Park-hopper is a $45 add on which allows you to move between parks on any day during your stay. You can go to The Magic Kingdom in the morning and Epcot in the afternoon. When you are staying onsite (on of Disneyworld’s resorts) this makes sense but when you are staying off site, it does not, so we are not getting it.

We will arrive in Orlando at about 9:30 and by the time we get our car and get to our resort; it will probably be about noon. We’ll give the kids some lunch and let them go in the pool while we unpack and then probably go to Downtown Disney for a few hours at the end of the day. If you have not been to Downtown Disney it is a lot of fun. It is mainly a shopping area, but at the different stores there are lots of things for the kids to play with, especially at the giant Lego store.

On Tuesday we will most likely go to Epcot. This way we will know if we want a second day there or not later in the week. Wednesday is The Magic Kingdom and the rest of the week is yet to be planned.

Come back to find out more!

Song of the day

It’s been a while since I have had any classical music in the song of the day. I want to remedy that right now.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. By the age of 5 he could repeat anything he heard played on the piano, and was even composing short pieces. His father took him around the world to show off his prodigy. Mozart later had positions in the courts of Salzburg and Vienne, writing over 600 compositions in his short life. He died a month and a half shy of his 36th birthday.

To this day Mozart is still one of the most influential composers in history and his music is staples in many orchestras’ repertoire.

There are many pieces in Mozart’s catalog that I love, and one of the best is the short Serenade No. 13 for stings in G major, K 525 (btw, in case anyone does not know, the K. number comes from a chronological list of Mozart’s work). This piece is better known as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (a little night’s music). He composed this piece while he was working on the opera Don Giovanni. It is not known for whom or why he composed this piece, but it remains as one of his best known compositions.


  1. Allegro
  2. Romanze: Andante
  3. Menuett: Allegretto
  4. Rondo: Allegro

Song of the day

Ok, no snickering! That is an order! Last night mkm and I went to see an ABBA cover band at the State Theater in New Brunswick. I had wanted to see the Beatles show they were doing, but that was on Friday night, so we settled for the ABBA show on Sunday. Well, we had a blast! ABBA is a very interesting group. They became one of the biggest superstar groups worldwide, yet in the US, they never achieved the status they had in the rest of the world.

When you talk about ABBA today, people will still say, “ewwww, you like ABBA?” But secretly, these same people smile when they hear an ABBA tune on the radio. I think ABBA is the most popular group that people won’t admit to in the US! Of course with the show Mama Mia! On Broadway they have gained a bit more status in the US, but still people just won’t admit to liking them.

Anyway, one thing about ABBA that is interesting is that they were producing music videos before most groups ever heard of the genre. Back then they were often called promotional films, but ABBA spent time and effort making these videos including simple choreography and wonderful 70’s costuming.

Below is the video for Mama Mia, and I think it is one of the more famous (just watch for the close-ups on their mouths!).


Happy Birthday Noam

Tomorrow is Noam’s 6th birthday. At his school the kindergarten class has parties for each kids’ birthday. Since his is in the summer, they had the party in June. This photo is from that party.

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