Do you know where your chocolates are?

Many years ago, I got to announce news and run the [radio] board for the Paul Parent Garden Club at WBOQ 104.9 FM. Paul Parent has a syndicated radio show that runs on Sunday mornings. When you work at a radio station, you sometimes get to voice spots (radio commercials). So here is one of mine for one of my favorite places, Turtle Alley Chocolates in Gloucester.

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Frank’s Cough

Many years ago when I worked in a software company west of Boston, I worked with a product manager named Frank. Frank helped me navigate my new company, had an excellent sense of humor, and I am forever grateful to him for his wisdom and friendship.

When I first started, Frank sat in a cube next to mine, and he had a really serious cough. At the time, I was still working at WBOQ 104.5 FM Gloucester, and decided I would write him a funny spot (radio advertisement). The copy and cough are mine, but I needed a real voice talent, sportscaster J. P. Lewis.

Mrs. Highpants, who is a fan of James Horner, suggested we use the main title theme to Zorro, and the rest, as they say, is history.

So, here is “Frank’s Cough”.

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Die Gedanken Sind Frei

This is a story about a song I learned when I was a kid. The song is traditional, and I only heard it referenced one place. That was a movie. This story may also be about music education, as well.

To say my music education was esoteric would be an understatement. I played, not very well, drums and and autoharp in a youth band, and we sang during music class. You name it; we sang it, songs of the sea, classic songs, and songs from other countries.

One song we learned to sing was Die Gedanken Sind Frei , and I did not think much of its significance in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade, until I heard the song in a 1971 TV movie The Birdmen.

For years I’ve been trying to find the song, and finally I did. I forgot about the “Ge” in front of danken. Otherwise I probably would have found the song sooner.

It is a song of protest and, in the movie, was sung as a group of escaped prisoners flew a glider away from a castle into Switzerland. But my first memory is singing in Miss Jean McCauley’s music class in the early 1960s. My music education did not limit me to the enjoyment of classic older songs, but instead, I view it now as having taught history.

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Pookie The Cockatiel

Almost twenty-two years ago, Pookie The Cockatiel came to live with us. He was raised by a breeder near us, and hatched in an outdoor aviary, kept around fifty degrees. He was an only bird for just a few months, because Peachy showed up not much later, and then came Louie, and finally Zephy. People stopping by @ZephyLoveBird have seen Pookie in pictures and heard his name, but he has preferred the low profile life.

Pookie Getting February sun

Pookie Getting February sun

Pookie has spent most of his life living with at least one other bird, first Peachy The Lovebird and then Zephy The Lovebird, and for fourteen years a Quaker Parakeet, Louie. Now, Pookie is training us to be more bird-like, because with the loss of Zephy, we are stepping in to perform extra duties like preening and hanging out. It is not hard work; he is our friend.

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In Memorium: Zephy The Lovebird

It is with great sadness that Pookie The ‘Tiel, Mrs. H., and I wish to let you know that Zephy the Lovebird passed away yesterday evening. She had was recovering from a spill in liquid laundry detergent, and went into respiratory distress. We have asked Pookie, our 21 year old cockatiel to take over tweeting for Zephy as @ZephyLoveBird. He said he will consider it.

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O’Henry Got It Right

Whenever one of those strange life events happens, I think of O’Henry’s Gift of the Magi . That O’Henry story was not the only ironic story O’Henry wrote, but it always comes to mind when something weird happens.

My recent strange life event was having sustaining a knee injury two days away from picking up my 24-year-old Giant Rincon hybrid bicycle from its annual tune up. How bad or what the actual injury is I won’t know until I can get into a doctor. But I now have a knee brace and a cane, so things do not get worse.

Whenever my bicycle returns from Belmont Wheelworks, it is like getting a brand new bicycle, or at least a bicycle that has been to a spa. Sadly, although my bicycle is ready to go, I’m not, until a doctor clears me to ride. In other words, now I need a repair/tune-up.

If it could express its feelings, I am wondering how my bicycle feels about this.

Hopefully, neither my bicycle nor I will have to wait a long time.

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Mt Everest Revisited

Today is the 60th anniversary of the first known successful assent to the summit of Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay. The reason why this date is important is my birthday falls on this day. My father, not a mountain climber himself but an avid reader, remembered the two events coinciding.

My father was also pleased the day I was born, because he looked out a window from the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and saw William Penn’s statue. What William Penn and I have in common I am not sure, but that is what my father saw.

I am not a mountain climber, but did climb Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. They can make you do a lot of things in summer camp, you might never do on your own.

Well, there you have it. To me, Norgay and Hillary are heroes, but so are the many who tried before and after them and almost made it or succeeded.

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