Saturday, January 31, 2009

If two are better than one, how good be four B3?

Once you get past the windy intro by Paul Schaeffer, this is a rare specimen of musical awesomeness. The music starts at 2:05. Thanks to Bryan for leading me to this - ENJOY!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Shocking Amazon Purchase

I got this tip from Alex Ross' blog - The Rest Is Noise. I just purchased from Amazon UK the COMPLETE Stravinsky on CD - 22 CDs in all - on Sony, including shipping to my house from England for US $30.11. That's right: THIRTY DOLLARS. I'm in shock. The CDs are set to arrive next week. If you are a fan of 20th century classical music, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. When I was in college I drooled over the library's copy of this very set, which at that time would have cost several hundreds of dollars. If you're interested, check it out here. Thanks for the tip, Alex!

My brother and sister-in-law's photography

I hope my brother Matt and sister-in-law Enna will forgive me for lifting this amazing photo from thier blog - it is a picture from a bar in Anguilla where they watched Obama's inauguration. After all, I'm posting it here to tell all of you what wonderful photographers they are, and to go check out their work. I'm a very proud big brother. And this is an amazing picture of an even more amazing moment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road"

Late last night I finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In 2007 the book won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature - but don't assume it's a challenging read. It is beautifully written without being overly complex. And the story is compelling. The core of the book is about being a parent - in particular being a father - and therefore it resonated strongly with me. I won't spoil the book - go out, buy a copy (at RiverRun Books on Congress Street in Portsmouth if possible!), and read it before the movie comes out (I'm worried the movie will destroy it). In fact, I'll say very little about the actual story. What is facinating me at the moment is the book's structure, its form. What struck me is that the ending of the book was not very powerful for me - what was amazing was the journey that got you there. And as a parable on life, that seems fitting. So many books are driven by a constant buildup to an inevitable climax. This was far from the case in The Road. It is a story about a journey, about life, and while reading it you may think it is about the end goal - but then you come to realize, like in life, it isn't. And in that simple fact, it is quite beautiful.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New PMAC Radio Ad coming

This spring a new radio advertisement for PMAC will be airing on WFNX thanks to a donation by my brother, a photographer who shoots the WFNX Halloween Party every year. I am proud to announce that two well-known rock musicians have stepped up and recorded voice-overs for the radio ad - Al Barr of Dropkick Murphys and Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls. Amanda is about to head to Europe on tour for her solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, which I highly recommend. Al is also on tour, currently in Australia. AND, we are awaiting a possible third rock star to lend his talents - I've got my fingers crossed I'll have more on that very soon...

R.I.P. John Updike

John Updike has passed away at the age of 76 from lung cancer. Read more here.

Tim Webb and friends at The Press Room

Last night Katie and I caught bassist Tim Webb at The Press Room with three PMAC faculty members, Mike Effenberger on piano, Matt Langley on saxophones and Mike Walsh on drums. They were joined by saxophonist Titus Abbott, and both Jim Clark and Chris Klaxton on trumpet - though Jim and Chris shared one horn, never playing at the same time. We arrived for the second and final set of the evening and were treated to a solid 75 minutes of pure, free, creative jazz exploration - completely improvised. There were some stunning moments - Titus and Matt going at it in what was less a saxophone duel and more an intricate conversation. Throughout the evening, Webb laid down a foundation that provided just enought structure, yet plenty of freedom. His contributions were key.

It is exciting to hear this happening in Portsmouth - I'd become accustomed to such events when in Chicago or Baltimore, but it is an unfortunately rarer occasion here. An inspired evening to say the least.

And if anyone reading this managed to catch The Molenes' unplugged set at The Red Door last night, let me know how it went. I couldn't tear myself away from The Press Room, so unfortunately missed my good friends right around the corner.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spring Semester Begins Today

Today is day one of the Spring Semester at PMAC - which runs for 18 weeks and ends mid-June. We have a lot planned for this semester - here are some highlights:
  • Wendell Purrington will take the podium and lead the Portsmouth Men's Chorus this semester. This group is open to all adult men who wish to "raise their voice in song." No audition required!
  • The PMAC jazz faculty will present the second annual PMAC JAZZ NIGHT on Saturday, Feburay 7th. Two shows: 7 & 9 p.m. Get your tickets today!
  • In addition to being Music In Our Schools Month, March will feature our fifth annual Practice-a-thon. Sponsor a young student as they work to build solid practice habits!
  • The Bow Street Youth Orchestra will collaborate with Ballet New England in March to present a dance performance at Portsmouth High School. This is a first and is sure to be a wonderful time.
  • The second annual Spring Fever for the Arts will be at the Discover Portsmouth Center on Friday, April 3. Don't miss PMAC's marquee fundraiser!
  • The PMAC Youth Jazz Band will play this year's Jazzmouth Festival in Portsmouth!
  • Several of our adult ensembles will be performing at Kittery Estates this Spring!
  • The sixth annual Jumpin' in June faculty concert will be on Friday, June 5th at South Church.
  • AND...we have an exciting Summer planned for 2009 - details coming soon

This is just a small bit of what we'll be doing this spring. Come join us!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Theme Song

As I read rapidly through Cormac McCarthy's "The Road", I can't help but think that Yael Naim's song Lonely fits the story extremely well. It would be a great song to license for the upcoming film.

This book is an amazing, fast read. A very touching story about being a father. I'm nearly half-way through and just began it yesterday evening. I guess I really needed a weekend of pleasure reading.

A Sunday Morning Playlist

Song Title - Album - Performer

B.O.A.C. - Bicycle Operator and Coach - Chris Weisman
Dark Come Soon - The Con - Tegan and Sara
Cologne - The Way To Normal - Ben Folds
I Want You, But I Don't Need You - Ping Pong - Momus
20 Years of Snow - Begin to Hope - Regina Spektor
Motion Picture Soundtrack - Kid A - Radiohead
Lonely - Yael Naim & David Donatien - Yael Naim & David Donatien
The Point Of It All - Who Killed Amanda Palmer - Amanda Palmer
Unravel - Homogenic - Bjork
Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine - Elephant - The White Stripes
Girl Sailor - Wincing the Night Away - The Shins

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Simultaneous Reading

I can't seem to just read one book at a time. I get four or five going simultaneously and it sometimes seems like it takes forever to get through one - though I sometimes have spurts where the finishing of four or five books happens nearly simultaneously. So, as I continue to read Alex Ross' The Rest Is Noise (loving it) and Don DiLillo's Underworld (really enjoying it as, on pg. 350, I am approaching the half-way point), I've just added Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, I just can't resist apocalyptic fiction. Maybe I'll finish one of them by the end of February? I do have to say that reading Miss Liberty's twittering about all the reading she's been doing has been inspiring. But there are still only so many hours in a day and so very little I can devote to my love of reading.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ashlee Simpson would be proud

Yo Yo Simpson? Apparently, the weather on inauguration day was just too much. Rather than risk a snapped cello, violin, or piano string (what an embarrassment!) the inaugural quartet of Yo Yo Ma, Itzak Perlman, Anthony McGill and Gabriella Montero played along to a recording of the newly commissioned John Williams piece "Air and Simple Gifts" during Tuesday's ceremony. That's right, the instrumental equivalent of lip syncing.

Perlman told The New York Times: “It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way...This occasion’s got to be perfect. You can’t have any slip-ups.” Yada, yada, yada. Not the best symbolism for the occasion. It seems that how everything "looked" was of the utmost importance. In this age of amazing technology including jumbo trons and live feeds, why not honor the music and simulcast the performance from the congressional rotunda? I personally thought the setting, outside, high up on the Capital Building seemed a bit absurd. But I guess it is easier to take the relatively few snickers of musical purists like myself, days afterward, than the ridicule of a full nation (and world) in the moment. Though I like to think people would have been very understanding. I for one am disappointed that the use of Ma's exquisite instrument really was just for show - not even needed for the music. That, in my opinion, was a big mistake. Forgive me for expecting more from our classical icons.

See the full New York Times story here. Thanks to Katie for sending it along!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Amorphous Band at Muddy River

Caught The Amorphous Band at the Muddy River Smokehouse tonight with Dani and Michael. Small crowd - cold and mid-week - but they were rippin' it up. Great mix of funk, r&b and jazz. The guitar player in the picture is a former PMAC student, Charlie, who was sitting in for part of the first set. Charlie's new band, Superfrog, will be at The Blue Mermaid in Portsmouth this Saturday night, Jan. 24th. If you're out and about, be sure to stop by and hear whas going on with the next generation of local musicians.

And, lest I forget, the incomparable Mike Effenberger was on the keys tonight, wailin' away.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Simple Gift

In case you missed it, Yo Yo Ma (cello), Itzak Perlman (violin), Anthony McGill (clarinet), and Gabriella Montero (piano) perform at today's Presidential Inauguration. I'd be interested to hear this group play Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. I don't think it a coincidence that John Williams chose this instrumentation.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Emiliana Torrini

Somehow, Emiliana Torrini has eluded my radar for the past decade as she has built an impressive career. I came across her on the Brooklyn Vegan Blog. I can't say I'd never heard her sing before, since she is probably best known for singing "Gollum's Song" from Peter Jackson's The Lord of Rings trilogy. But that is not really representative of her music. She sounds like a cross between Bjork (but not as adventurous/experimental) and Feist (but not as upbeat/quirky). She, like Bjork, hails from Iceland. I'm going to need to spend some time listening to her music - not sure if it's for me. But I'm definitely intrigued.

Let Freedom Ring!

The full, historic speech:

Exceprt from the September 11, 2005 performance of Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait with President-elect (for 24 more hours) Obama as narrator.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Joke is on those "in the know"

Emanuel has an axe to grind...Emanuel Ax that is. The concert pianist and conductor recently devoted a blog entry to the antiquated tradition of audiences remaining silent between the movements of classical piece. Many of us have experienced this - the orchestra, or pianist, or chamber group finishes a magnificent, boisterous first movement of a classical piece of music, and then a small group of audience members bursts into enthusiastic applause, only to find the rest of the audience - those "in the know" - glaring back at them, letting them know quite clearly that a terrible faux pas has been committed. Yet in reality, this is a strange tradition that was adopted long after the lives of Mozart and Beethoven. The idea that one can not judge a work, or a performance, even with applause, until the final note falls silent is a construct of the late-Romantic period, when composers like Richard Wagner took their music far too seriously. Some composers such as Richard Strauss solved the problem by writing epic single movement "Tone Poems" rather than symphonies.

Well, in my opinion the tradition has become rather absurd. Particularly when it comes to the flashy showpieces that the opening movements of concertos are. But also in the world of symphonies. I agree with Ax - that the music should direct the response. Conductors can convey this to an audience - though some refuse to - showing when the silence between movements is really not a break, but part of the mood. And by welcoming the joy that comes with an appreciative audiences response to a spectacular performance - even between movements.

In the world of jazz, audience response often comes during the music - applause for soloists, shouts of appreciation for amazing licks, cheering for dramatic moments of ensemble virtuosity. This is a world where the audience is a part of the experience - not just a passive listener. That's the world I want to live in - even at Symphony Hall.

Read Emanuel Ax's blog post on inter-movement applause here. Read the Boston Globe article that further elaborates on the topic here. And thanks to Chip Noon for bringing this to my attention via a Twitter comment!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Let The Right One In

Katie and I just went to The Music Hall where we saw the Swedish film Let The Right One In. It was one of the best vampire movies I've ever seen - with an absolutely amazing and original screenplay. Brilliant! It's playing at The Music Hall for a few more nights, I think, so if you get a chance, check it out. Not one for the kids. While a bit bloody (it is a vampire flick, after all), it is not a horror movie so much as a drama/thriller/love story. It is about the relationship between a 12 year old and a "12 year old" vampire. (She says she's 12, but that she's been 12 for a very long time.) Beautifully directed, the script is so faithful to vampire lore, it is quite spectacular, without being grandiose. Second film I've been to this year, and I have to say the best by far. (OK, the first was Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler - one for the kids.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The final plane has left the island

Ricardo Montalban has passed away at the age of 88. Fantasy Island was required viewing for my brother, sisters and I in the 1970s - immediately following The Love Boat on ABC every Saturday night. Simpler times...Read more here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Release by The Bad Plus

The Bad Plus is releasing a new CD on February 3rd (the week of PMAC's Jazz Night, FYI), titled For All I Care with vocalist Wendy Lewis. I am really eager to hear this CD, as The Bad Plus are phenomenal. I'm a bit nervous as early reviews on the net are not great. But I'll wait to hear the recording before forming an opinion. They'll be at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston on April 3rd. If you haven't seen them live, I HIGHLY recommend it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Tan Vampires at The Red Door

The band and venue seemed a match in heaven. The Tan Vampires played The Red Door last night, and even though they weren't listed at the headliner, they closed the show in the Red Door tradition of the headliner having to travel farther, therefore playing earlier in the show. But for the audience, the ordering seemed correct, as the stripped down music of Pictish Trail and Viking Moses was a fitting prelude to the six-piece band. It wasn't until the band went on stage that I realized that half of the group teaches at PMAC. I knew Mike Effenberger was a member, but I didn't know the group also features Nick Phaneuf on guitar and Chris Klaxton on trumpet.

TV has a classic 21st century indie sound. Interesting layers and no focus on individuals other than the lead singer. There were no solos to speak of - Klaxton was underutilized in my opinion, but Katie pointed out that his role fit in the band as a whole, a cog in an intricate machine of sound. They'll be at The Barley Pub in Dover on January 27th - I highly recommend them.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gearing up for the 2009 RPM Challenge

This will be my third year participating in RPM. In 2007 I recorded my own album, Eclecticality, and produced the first Poo Poo Platters CD. In 2008 I was sick for much of the month, so I only produced the PPP, and never had a chance to record an album of my own. Hopefully the health gods will be on my side this year and I'll be able to both record the third offering of the PPP and an album of my own. I've begun the process of brainstorming what I want this album to be. I might even attempt to post my tracks here as I record them - like the much esteemed Kim Vermillion. We'll see. Regardless, the PPP, are in top form and will be posting their tunes on their MySpace page as throughout February as they record.

Annoying fact: The "N" on my laptop keyboard is starting to fail. Any advice for quick keyboard fixes? It is currently working only about 70% of the time and I have a hunch that it will quickly decline if not addressed.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kim Vermillions new songs

Kim Vermillion, one half of the sisterly duo Vermillion Lies, is writing and recording a song every day for the month of January. (Sound familiar RPM Challengers?) The first nine are posted on her blog and she adds one each day. I am planning on pariticipating in this year's challenge and, of course, The Poo Poo Platters will be recording a new CD as well. Listening to Kim's songs is a great way to get in the mood for another long month. (RPM always seems to make the 28 days of February seem longer than any other month of the year!)

1st PMAC Performance of 2009

Last night we had our first PMAC concert of 2009 - the make-up concert for the holiday show that was postponed last month due to the ice storm power outages. (Hard to believe that just 4 weeks ago much of NH was without power.)

The concert featured the PMAC Adult Jazz Band, The Portsmouth Men's Chorus, and the New Horizons Band. These three adult students ensembles are fun to listen to and an inspiration to all of us. Populated by adults who made music as a child, but stopped and have returned to music years later, or adults who never played a musical instrument (or sung), comming to music for the first time.

All of these adult groups, plus the Blues Band, string ensemble, flute choir, and saxophone ensemble will begin new sessions during the last week of January. If you have ever thought about trying music in an ensemble setting, maybe now is the time.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Amanda Palmer and Warner

Nine days into the new year - time for a diatribe!

Funny story - one I heard from Amanda Palmer (she told the entire audience from the stage, and also from reading her blog), and from various other blogs and people. I don't know every detail, but think I have the gist of the story - please correct me if I'm wrong.

Amanda's a musician - one-half of the punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, and currently touring her first solo effort, Who Killed Amanda Palmer? She has put out several CDs on Roadrunner Records, which was purchased a while back by Warner. It is therefore now a "Major Label," susceptible to idiotic ideas like forcing YouTube to remove videos of all of their artists by threatening legal action (Amanda's and the Doll's videos included).

Amanda and the label have been having a bit of a tiff lately. You see, the Label would like to see some "hits" written and performed by Amanda. I guess they want her to get some radio airplay exposure - like that is where it's at in the music business. Can anyone tell me (WITHOUT GOOGLING IT) who is number one on the charts this week? What song is at number one? I don't know who's been in the top ten in the past DECADE and I listen to TONS of music. I guess Coldplay's probably been there, but I don't know for sure. I just don't listen to the radio (with the two exceptions of NPR and our fabulous local community radio, WSCA 106.1 FM Portsmouth).

The label also got upset over a video in which Amanda's belly (her preferred term for her midriff) is exposed. Of course it's not because she's exposing skin - she keeps way more covered up than say, The Pussycat Dolls or Britney (ok, that's not saying much). They're upset because they think she could lose a bit of weight. Give me a break. She's TINY. What do they want, Lara Flynn Boyle?

What Roadrunner, and Warner in turn, doesn't get is that Amanda is actually DOING things to promote the CDs on their Label. Not just being ushered by handlers onto the sets of irrelevent MTV shows and DJ interviews. She has connected with a fanbase. Hasn't anyone at Warner taken a marketing class? She has LOYAL fans. They buy CDS - not download singles. They listen to and learn EVERY song. Buy concert tickets and merchandise. Why not work on building on her strengths? I'll tell you why. Because that's not where the instant buck is. Sure, a small team of people can make a decent living for a long time working together to connect with a finite fan base. But where are the big corporate dollars? What will be Amanda's "Who Let The Dogs Out?"?

This year we MIGHT get to finally see if a well-oiled machine can succeed doing what Amanda does, but on a larger scale. Without a Major Label. I'm eager to see what happens with Prince's new online effort. He's never been a friend to Major Labels. And this year he will release three albums on his own. Warner and every other label should be watching this story carefully. Because there are artists out there, signed by the labels already, artists like Amanda Palmer, who are poised to find success in this new paradigm. Will the labels help? Or will they die? We'll see.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Forever young

Larry Bell, my first composition teacher, once told me that the key to compositional creativity is never losing your youth. What he meant was never forgetting how to be young, fresh. Can you call back the feeling of college, high school, middle school, or younger at a moments notice? Can you look at the world as if you've never seen it before? Find wonder in things that have become familiar? It's easier said than done. And worth the effort. Never forget.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Some interesting concert possibilities for 2009

The Books are playing at Boston's ICA in April - that's where Katie and I caught John Zorn and Masada last year. I was introduced to The Books by PMAC piano department chair Mike Effenberger in this guest blog post.

Philip Glass will be in town with his ensemble at The Music Hall this spring. Still a chance some PMAC students may get to interact with Glass or one of his musicians during their visit.

Ani DiFranco will also be at The Music Hall - Katie will be there!

On March 29th, the wonderful radio/tv series "From the Top" will be at New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall in Boston.

On April 3rd, The Bad Plus will be at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. Would love to see them for a third time in as many years!

Prince is releasing not one, not two, but THREE albums in 2009. Could there be a tour in the works? Man, I want to be at that show, since I never got to see him in the 80's.

And I'll be regularly checking the calendars at some of the area's top live music venues: The Music Hall, The Space (Portland), The Press Room, among many, many others.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Klaxton at The Press Room

Katie and I made our first trip of the new year to The Press Room last night to hear Chris Klaxton and friends. It was amazing how different the atmosphere is when the entire band is under the age of 30. Monday night jazz is a staple of the pub, but it can be hit or miss. Klaxton's band was tight, and I was amazed at the subtlty of the drummer - I'll have to ask Chris who he is. The excellent guitarist was also unfamiliar. Jim Clark was solid, as always, on bass. Chris is developing into an amazing jazz artist. Each time I hear him he explores new ground with his trumpet. Last night he was definitely ON. It's great to see young performers grow into their shoes, and Chris has definitely arrived.

Looking forward to playing with Chris next month at PMAC's second annual Jazz Night at the West End Studio Theatre. Tickets went on sale yesterday - we sold out both shows last year so if you're in the area and interested, call PMAC at 603-431-4278 and buy your tickets ASAP. The shows are at 7 & 9 pm on Saturday, February 7th here in Portsmouth.

I won't give away our setlist, but I will say that at one point in the evening we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Miles' Kind of Blue. In addition to my contribution on saxes and Chris on trumpet, Nicole Hajj will be singing, Matt Langley will be playing saxes, Bryan Bergeron-Killough on guitar, Jeff Auger on keys, Nate Therrien on bass, and Mike Walsh will be manning the drum kit.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Volcano and Snow

Katie and I took the boys to an all ages show yesterday afternoon at the Brick House in Dover. The first band, one we've seen a couple of times, is really coming together - great job guys! They are "Man Down":

Next up, the band we went to see: "Felix and Volcano":

We love this band and their Cure influenced sound because they have a most special keyboard player/singer - our boys' babysitter Sydney:

And I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures of our New Year's Eve snowstorm. Not the biggest of the year, but big enough. Here are some street shots in front of the house:

Happy New Year, again!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Current Listening

Shamelessly Sassy recently twittered a request for new music, asking what people are listening to. I gave a brief twitter response, but have thought more about it since then. Here are some CDs I spent a lot of time listening to in 2008. They are not all new recordings, just recordings I've spent a lot of time with this past year. I highly recommend all of them (listed in no particular order):

Who Killed Amanda Palmer? - Amanda Palmer
Let Freedom Ring - Jackie McLean
Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys
No, Virginia - The Dresden Dolls
Widow City - The Fiery Furnaces
In Rainbows - Radiohead
The Way To Normal - Ben Folds
Soviet Kitsch - Regina Spektor
Rise Above - The Dirty Projectors
Viva la Vida - Coldplay
Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
The Odd Couple - Gnarls Barkley
The White Album - The Beatles

I'm eager for new listening - any recommendations?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Will the recording industry ever get it?

The latest in the ongoing saga of declining CD sales from MSNBC:

"Album Sales Plunge, Digital Downloads Up"

This is not the economy. This is the decline and immenent demise of an antiquated business model. The recording industry is still trying to behave as if they are selling vinyl in 1975.

Here's the problem: Popular music sales are driven by kids. When my mother was a teenager, she accumulated a large collection of 45s (for the kids out there, I'm refering to 7 inch 45 RPM Vinyl record singles). She would spend the week eagerly waiting for the weekend so she could go add to her collection with the latest from Elvis or the Everly Brothers. Like most people, she hit her music consumer peak in her early teens. Sorry, but adults make up a fraction of the music market. Sure, we buy CDs, listen to music, have collections - but it is not like kids.

My son took his Christmas money and went out and bought a dozen CDs. Why? Because he's my son and is not yet into downloadable media. (Yes, I'm old fashioned and severely limit his online time.) But most kids are already there, and he'll be there by the time we ring in 2010. And while he bought CDs this year, the new MP3 player he got for Christmas will change all that. He'll be downloading soon. And the CD sales numbers will decline again next year.

Sorry, but labels are quickly becoming a thing of the past. (I can't wait until they want a Congressional bailout!) The internet is here - no longer the future. They haven't figured out how to make money there because they haven't figured out how to identify talent the right way. Sorry, but while Katy Perry may move a ton of tracks this year, she has no legs in internet terms. Not unless she really becomes an "artist" and not just an "act".

I could ramble on forever, but I'll just say this: the time for independent artists has arrived. They will lead the way and show the corporate WORLD (not America, the world)how it is done.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Yes, I actually did this and I'm going to tell you...

It's a bit embarassing. Our family went to the movies today with another family, close friends. "Bedtime Stories" with Adam Sandler - not much to report there. Afterwards we all decided to go bowling. I took our car with all the kids and my friend (the husband) and my wife went in their car with our friend (the wife). When I got to my car I couldn't unlock any door. It was FREEZING out. Frozen locks. Lucky for cell phones. I called my wife to come to the rescue. We brought the kids into a local restaurant, out of the cold while we waited for them to return. When the wives returned with lock de-icer I discovered, much to my embarassment that my locks were not frozen. Since my car was actually about six parking spaces down the aisle from the identical make and model that I was trying to get into. Happy New Year.

p.s.- My wife and I first met in our college parking lot in 1989 as I tried to get into my car in which my keys were inadvertantly locked. Yes, she is very understanding.