Sunday, January 18, 2009

One Nation Under a Groove

Last night I had the opportunity to see George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars for the first time at the Cubby Bear across from Wrigley Field. While I have primarily been influenced by classic rock growing up, I have had a soft spot in my heart for R & B and funk from the 60’s and 70’s. There is something about the music and its attitude that speaks to me.

With the inauguration of our first black president just days away, the show seemed to take on additional significance. I have never been to a George Clinton/Parliament/Funkadelic show before so I don’t have any points of reference, but it seemed as though the packed house had an impressive collective bounce in its step.

Back in 1993, Clinton put out the single/EP “Paint the White House Black.” He wrote it at a time when the thought of a black president seemed far-fetched. As I perused the souvenir table, the gentleman behind the counter declared, “get your P-Funk souvenirs, last night of the tour. Next stop, the White House!” He went on to say that Clinton and the P-Funkers will be playing one of the many parties on inauguration day in D.C. It was then that the historical significance of George Clinton’s music really hit me.

Now, more than ever, we need strong leadership in our country. We need a leader that can make thoughtful, educated decisions. We need a leader that can bring our country together. I don’t think there has been a president in my lifetime that I’ve felt this excited about. I know Barack Obama is no miracle worker, but under his leadership, I hope our nation can rebound from its current funk.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New Year!

Despite the uncertainties of the world, I am very hopeful for an upbeat 2009. I am preparing for a Toastmasters speech that I will be giving this week from the advanced "Storytelling" manual. My first assignment is to re-tell a folk tale. After taking out several books from my library, I settled on "Best Loved Stories Told at the National Storytelling Festival."

I chose "A Fisherman and His Wife" told by Carol Birch. The story is especially timely and is about a man and his wife trying to find contentment in their lives. The fisherman finds a magic fish that grants him three wishes. After asking to be a prosperous vineyard owner and the mayor of the village, the man and his wife still cannot find happiness. Finally the fish returns the man and his wife to their original life, but they now appreciate all that they have in their lives.

This is a lesson for all of us. We live in a society where we are told by advertisers that we need a particular item to be happy. Many of us, myself included, often compare our possessions with those of our neighbors and we feel like we don't have enough. Many of us are looking for answers from other sources when they are often right in front of us or within us in the first place. As we enter 2009, let us be grateful and have a deep appreciation for the bounty that we have in our lives.