Sunday, June 21, 2020

Crate Digging with Ernie

So, back in early March, before the world shut down, I traveled to Florida to attend my daughter's national dance competition in Orlando.  We left on March 4, returned home on March 9, and then everything closed.  Had the competition been a week later it would not have been at all.  Apart from the cobbled-together (although very well done) graduation-related events, that competition was the last hurrah for my daughter's Senior year in high school.

Since I don't get to Florida often, I had been planning to meet Ernie of Ernie (Not Bert) fame, well known to (nearly, I'm sure) all the regular readers of this blog.  Ernie drove to Orlando from his side of Florida, and off we went in search of Christmas music treasures to unearth.  Der Bingle and Ernie, together, scouring the crates.  The Christmas music force was strong in central Florida that day.

First item on the agenda was lunch.  We found an empanada place near a giant thrift store, so went in there for some food.  The cafe workers spoke Spanish, Ernie and I did not.  But through pointing and a mutual understanding of "beef" and "cheese" we each got a delicious plate of empanada-type cuisine.

Then it was off to the crates.  We hit up, if I recall right, three thrift stores and three record stores that day.  The record store folks were all wonderful.  They may have looked at us a bit quizzically when we said we were after Christmas music, but they all accommodated.  One in particular, Retro Records, hauled out multiple crates full of Christmas albums and CDs for us.  Ernie and I each scored a few great additions for our collections there and in the other stores.  I held back a bit, knowing that I had to haul them all back in my luggage, but still came away with some great stuff.

I've (of course) listened to all the CDs.  "Antlers" by Melanie is the best of the lot - a really good Christmas record.  Dion's is pretty solid, too.  Really, all are good, though the "Twelve Songs of December" is a promotional mix with just a couple Christmas songs on it.  Was only a buck though, so, ya know....

And, just a few vinyl records, too, some as a "Welcome to Florida" gift from Ernie the Man himself.  If you look closely you'll see vinyl Christmas favorites Lester Lanin, Williams Brothers, Norman Luboff, and Giselle.  There's an album from Lou Monte,  Christmas in Zitherland, the Trapp Family Singers, and the Trappist Monks of Gethsemene.  A good haul, natch.

But the best part of the day was meeting Ernie, a brother in Christmas music, and hanging out, driving around, getting to know one another, and sharing Christmas music knowledge. Although, the Christmas music knowledge flow of information was heavily one-way - lemme tell you - Ernie knows his stuff.  It was a really great day.

At the end of the day Ernie dropped me off at Animal Kingdom Lodge where I met up with my wife and we feasted for an hour at Boma, the best buffet in the world.

I hope that someday I can return the favor to Ernie and show him around Kansas City and hit up the local record stores.

In some ways, because we were all quarantined with shelter-in-place orders only a few days later, this trip seems so very long ago.  But as Christmas music season approaches (well, it never really goes away) and I throw these records on the turntable, I've got some great memories to go along with the music.

Thanks Ernie!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Yawn...Stretch...What's Up 2020?

Yawn!  <smack> <smack>  streeeeetch.......

Coming out of hibernation here since New Year's Day...

<eye rub>

What's up 2020?




Hello my good readers.  There's no intent to downplay the serious stuff that has come our way in 2020.  I'm certain that everyone reading this has been impacted in some way by the Covid-19 pandemic and/or the protests triggered by the death of George Floyd. 

I sincerely hope that Covid-19 has been more of an adaptation than a tragedy for you.  My family and I have had to work from home, teach Kindergarten from home, and finish high school and college from home (graduations included).  My daughter who works in an autism services agency has continued to work with children in-office, without incident.  So we have adapted, and are thankful that the impact has been minimal.  I'll be working from home until after Labor Day, most likely, so the changes continue.

I know you don't come here for political opinion, but I want to share a brief word regarding the protests that are occurring nation and world-wide.  I do fully support Black Lives Matter and the peaceful yet passionate efforts for change that are occurring, and am saddened by the hostility brought to the protests by those who intend to do harm.  I invite your comments, whether you agree or disagree, as long as they are civil.  At my discretion I'll remove any comments that stray from reasonable discourse.

So - back to the usual stuff...

I'm waking up the blog just a bit here for the next few weeks.  Nothing major, no big Christmas in July extravaganzas or music sharing.  But I'll bring you up to date on a few Christmas-related items here and there, just to inject some of the ol' Spirit of the Season into our 2020 existence.

And, keep an eye out here for an announcement of a July online event featuring yours truly.  Nothing to change your vacation plans over, but it should be fun if you can join in.  More to come...

Thanks for reading - I hope that all of you are well.  Stay safe, and avoid the Murder Hornets.

Speaking of Murder Hornets, there's a little beastie called the Executioner Wasp whose sting makes the murder hornet feel like a drip of ice cream.  If you have some spare time and dig science, google the executioner wasp.  When you see its picture, remember that nature colors things yellow and stripey for a reason.  Cool stuff...