Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Genius of Dan Fogelberg

Daniel G. Fogelberg (08/13/1951 - 12/16/2007)

Today is the third anniversary of Dan Fogelberg's death from advanced prostate cancer at the age of 56.  His music lives on, and many people are listening today to the strains of "Leader of the Band" or looking for his song lyrics or biographical information on  My favorite song of his was a lesser-known gem entitled "Run for the Roses."  I've pasted the lyrics at the bottom of this article.

I loved "Run for the Roses."  Now they only play it on Derby Day.  Since I grew up around the racetrack (my dad was a trainer and farrier and my brother was a jockey), I know the life, the smells, and the excitement very well.  The life of a racehorse isn't all glory and roses, and not all of them get to experience bluegrass pastures and retirement for breeding purposes after their racing careers are finished.  The poignancy of the race itself was reflected in Fogelberg's voice on that song.  If you listen hard, you can feel the strength and valor of the colts and fillies striving for the win, but you will also feel the pain of those horses whose lives are filled with quiet desperation.  They race their hearts out for their humans, yet many don't often experience the thrill of the win.  They eventually are relegated to lives of duty, escorting the racing "stars" as they train, offering themselves as transport for humans, for work or occasional recreational riding.  In the worst cases, they are abused, neglected, or abandoned, and their bodies may be sold for meat or worse.  I believe Fogelberg captured all those feelings in his voice and in the lyrics.  I don't know how close he was to the racing experience, but his genius lay in his empathy and the ability to bring those feelings to life.  May he rest in peace, but his music live forever.

Run For The Roses 

Born in the valley and raised in the trees 
Of Western Kentucky on wobbly knees 
With mama beside you to help you along 
You'll soon be a-growing up strong 

All the long, lazy mornings in pastures of green 
The sun on your withers, the wind in your mane 
Could never prepare you for what lies ahead 
The run for the roses so red 

And it's run for the roses as fast as you can 
Your fate is delivered, your moment's at hand 
It's the chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of chance 
And it's high time you joined in the dance 
It's high time you joined in the dance 

From sire to sire, it's born in the blood 
The fire of a mare and the strength of a stud 
It's breeding and it's training and it's something unknown 
That drives you and carries you home 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Free Book Giveaway

Today's blog post is addressed to all my fellow yarn addicts (and to all those of you who ought to be!):

I got my newsletter today from and found an OUTSTANDING giveaway that I think everyone should check out.  I'm going to enter to win a copy of Vogue Knitting's "Stitchionary 5".  If you haven't checked out Vogue Knitting's Stitchionary online, you should definitely do so.  The giveaway link is at

And while you're at it, sign up for the free newsletters, free patterns, and free tutorial videos, diagrams, and instructions at  Did I mention that it's FREE??

Friday, June 18, 2010

Appalling Budget Decisions in Missouri

I just read a news article in the Examiner by Kelly Evenson titled Governor Announces More Budget Cuts for State.  Basically it offered a breakdown of an additional $301.4 million in budget cuts for the state of Missouri, which included cuts in the areas of health care, education and school transportation, complete elimination of the KCATA budget, and "major cuts to the Missouri Departments of Health and Senior Services, including a 10-percent cut to Area Agencies on Aging and to Mental Health."

The truly sickening part came next, however, as the article stated, "These new budget cuts follow an announcement by Nixon that he is considering calling a special legislative session this summer to consider two proposals that would expand spending on tax incentives for Ford Motor Company by $15 million per year for 10 years as well as pay for this increase through significant cuts to retirement benefits for state employees."

This should incite outrage among Missouri taxpayers.  When did it become standard business practices for cities and states to fork over millions in taxpayer dollars to invite multimillion dollar corporations to build (or keep) their factories nearby?  I know that TIF financing and various incentives exist, and I understand the rationale behind wanting a large employer to set up shop in your jurisdiction.  I also understand U.S. employees' fears of more and more jobs being outsourced overseas.  That does not mean that taxpayers should be complacent and blindly accept the situation.  With any business, there is a certain amount of risk inherent in setting up shop, and long-term capital investment may be necessary.  This does not necessarily guarantee a quick return or profit to the company.  In Latin America, historically U.S. multinationals have invested huge amounts, sometimes with minimal concessions on the part of those countries.  In fact, in many cases the companies also had to build roads, schools, housing for employees, and invest in creating the infrastructure necessary for the facility to function. 

Why, then, do local, county, and state governments here in the U.S. believe that we have to fork over millions in incentives to attract those companies or entice them to stay?  Why should the already-suffering taxpayers bear the brunt of huge budget cuts during this shaky economic recovery?  Why should state employees bear the burden of "significant cuts" to their retirement benefits in order to hand money over to a corporation that is clearly not in any economic distress? 

In essence, Missouri governor Jay Nixon's budget decisions would be similar to the U.S. government agreeing to pay all the costs of cleanup of the BP oil disaster, and then asking the American public to increase taxes to pay BP for the inconvenience of having its rig explode and buying them a new one!  Someone needs to wake up and pay attention here!!!  Missouri representatives and senators (and taxpayers) need to examine the issue carefully and act in the best interests of the PEOPLE of Missouri, and not follow blithely along because "this is the way it has always been done." 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Information Please

Found on the internet:

When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.

My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.

"Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear. "Information."

"I hurt my finger," I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.

"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."

"Can you open the icebox?" she asked. I said I could. "Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.

After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called Information Please and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, " Wayne, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in." Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please."

"Information," said in the now familiar voice.

"How do I spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest . When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston . I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall.. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me..

Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please..."

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.  "Information."

I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."

I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"

"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your call meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."

Three months later I was back in Seattle . A different voice answered, "Information." I asked for Sally. "Are you a friend?" she said.

"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this,"She said. "Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago." Before I could hang up, she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?"

"Yes." I answered.

"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you...."

The note said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant. Never underestimate the impression you may make on others.

Whose life have you touched today?
Why not pass this on? I just did....
Lifting you on eagle's wings.
May you find the joy and peace you long for.
Life is a journey.....NOT a guided tour.