Something Learned From Monty Python

The other morning I could overhear my wife telling the kids “sit down and eat your breakfast”. She must have said it 10 times before they finally understood. It reminded me of one of my favorite clips from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

In the clip the king orders the guards to do a simple thing: “Stay here and make sure he doesn’t leave”. In just over 104 seconds, the king repeats the order to the guards 15 times before they finally understand.

This clip reminds me of being a parent. Like the king in the clip, you must repeat yourself to your children so they will understand what you want them to do.  Why? Because as John Prine sang, “kids don’t know, they can only guess”. They look to us to get a sense of what is true.

The clip also reminds me of being clueless. My life is riddled with guard-like moments where I’m unsure, even though I know what to do and know the truth.

So how do you know the truth?

In the last few years I identified some areas of focus in my life. There are others, but here are three which require me to know the truth:

  • my faith
  • being a husband
  • being a father

In each of these areas, I strive to be the king (certain of the truth) but other times I slip and am the guard (struggling). No matter if I am striving or struggling, here are three things I do to stay centered on truth:

  • spend time in prayer.
  • spend time in scripture.
  • spend time with like-minded people.

When I am engaged and doing these things, I am at my best. When I am not doing these things, I struggle. What about you?


The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down – Fare Thee Well

Just a quick post to remember the great Levon Helm – one of the most distinct voices in music and the best drummer/ singer (apologies, Phil Collins) in rock and roll history. In 1994 I got see him up close in Nashville at 328 Performance Hall. He still had it.

He played with Bob Dylan, performed at Woodstock,  sang  “The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down” and “The Weight” with the Band, was in movies, won Grammys, performed his Midnight Ramble concerts….a life in full to be sure.

You will be missed and thank you for the music. May your soul find rest and God Speed to your family.

Writers Block, a Monte Carlo and Music Videos From My Teen Years – Part Three

Here are my final videos for your consideration. I found that most of these are still visually powerful in helping  frame a time and place from my past, and maybe your past too. I added an honorable mention section at the bottom. Enjoy and let me know what yo think by replying to the post!

Don’t Come Around Here No More – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,  1985

You either got this video or you dismissed it. I think I got it – Tom Petty made good music and had a sense of humor. A lot of people dismissed the video and him, until Full Moon Fever came out in 1989.

Money For Nothing – Dire Straights 1985

Behold the future! Computers? Microwaves? Sting? This video had it all and was the high water mark for Dire Straights.

And She Was – Talking Heads 1985

Maybe not their best song – or even video from 1987 – but in 2012 it’s still pretty cool. Weird cool.

Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel, 1986

Before Sledgehammer, all I had to judge Peter Gabriel on for videos was Shock the Monkey. I am glad this video came along because Shock the Monkey was weird.  Bad weird.

With or Without You – U2, 1987

The Joshua Tree tour made a stop in Lexington, KY. Four of us piled into a 78′ Camaro and made the drive from Hopkinsville. On our way out-of-town, we had a brush with disaster: the drivers ed teacher from my school pulled up next to us at a stop light. It was a Ferris Bueller moment and did I mention we ditched school that day?

We ducked, he turned, and we were on our way to see U2! The concert was great and it’s a lasting memory from high school days.

Honorable Mention

Better Be Home Soon – Crowded House, 1988 – Not a big hit, but the effort is worthy of mention.

It’s the End of the World As We Know It – REM, 1987 – This was the first REM song I liked and gave me a reason to give them another listen.

(Get It On) Bang A Gong – Power Station, 1986 – Robert Palmer was on a roll! Who knew the guys from Duran, Duran could tear it up!

Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer, 1985 – Didn’t see this coming, but “Palmer Girls” became iconic.

Rain on the Scarecrow – John Mellencamp, 1985 – There was an interview with some farmers who were going under at the beginning of this video. We lost our farm a couple of years before, so I connected to this song/video/plight. It also reminds me of Farm Aid.

Stand Back – Stevie Nicks, 1983 – Most remember her for Fleetwood Mac, but Ms. Nicks was HUGE in the early 80s.

Legs – ZZ Top, 1983 – Cars. Chicks. Beards. Riffs. Perfect.

Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran, Duran, 1983 – Is the wolf hungry enough to eat Simon Lebon? Regrettably, the wolf is not up to the task.

Waiting on a Friend – Rolling Stones, 1982 – While watching this one you’ll see a wasted Keith Richards shuffle through the Village, fall down on a guy sitting on some steps, then shuffle off to a bar with Mick to join the rest of the band (along with some women of ill repute) and to “pretend”  play the end of the song as it fades out. I don’t think they knew what they were doing, but it was the early days so they get a pass.

Writers Block, a Monte Carlo and Music Videos From My Teen Years – Part Two

The list continues. These videos mostly come from 1984 and are “concept videos” – the video interprets a visual story of  the song.

Rock Box – Run DMC,  1984

Well, this one might be a stretch as a concept video, but it was different. It was rap. It was metal. It was good. If there is going to be one rap/hip hop video on my list (there doesn’t have to be any), this is it. Still run to this one.

Drive  – The Cars, 1984

“Who’s going to tell you it’s too late? Who’s going to tell you things aren’t so great?”

The party is over and it is time to go home. I love this video and song because it’s honest. You can sense the agony, helplessness, patience and love that make a relationship. Sometimes folks go into dark places and true friends do the hard things to help pull them out. At least that’s what I think.

Boys of Summer – Don Henley, 1984


Boys of Summer was the first time I heard the term “dead head“. It was also the first time I heard of  “Wayfarers”. I need to get a pair of those, because they are cool.

Say, you know what else would be cool? If the video was on You Tube…that would be cool…but it’s not.

Very uncool.

Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams, 1985

By my count, Bryan Adams would have been 10 years old in the summer of 1969. If he was rockin’ that early he was either a prodigy – or – this song is in reference to something else entirely. Anyway, I was 13 when this video came out I knew I just had to have a guitar. I bought one with money I saved up from working at a restaurant. After a few months…I smashed it, Pete Townsend style, on the driveway because I didn’t know how to play guitar. Go figure.

More to come…..

Writers Block, a Monte Carlo and Music Videos From My Teen Years – Part One

1980s Monte Carlo

1980s Monte Carlo

The following is an example of how my mind tends to wander:

Recently I had writers block, so I went on a run to get some clarity.  While running, a guy drove past me in a  Monte Carlo, t-tops out (a popular choice among many young Kentuckians – THAT was the car of my teen years). I was listening to Road to Nowhere from the Talking Heads on my run and remembered liking their videos in a weird, cool way. That got me thinking about other videos I liked in my teen years. Visions of Friday Night Videos danced in my head but that was OK because now I had something to write about!

So here is a list of videos I liked. It’s just my opinion. Some of these songs were Top 40 hits, while others were not. There are many guitars, synthesizers, an accordion and even a sitar. You won’t see Madonna, Michael Jackson or Human League. No New Addition or Fat Boys. No Poison, Van Halen or Hank Jr (why would there be ANY Hank Jr?). Also, nothing after 1987/1988. So, without further delay, here is my first installment:

Subterranean Homesick Blues – Bob Dylan, 1966

To build something that will last, you need a strong foundation. At the time MTV launched, I remember my mom telling me videos were not a new thing and she had them in the 50s.  I dismissed this only to be stunned by videos of Elvis followed by Bob Dylan on an MTV segment called Closet Classics. That was the foundation.  Subterranean Homesick Blues  made an impression, because in 1987 Inxs had a video for a song called Mediate, that ripped off/ paid tribute to Dylan and that early video. Nothing new under the sun…..and that led me to the next video on the list.

Far Away Eyes – Rolling Stones, 1978

This one came from Closet Classics as well. I had watched other Stones videos but this one was different.  They looked like the Stones, but they were just kind of hanging out performing  a honky-tonk song in a studio. Straight forward and relaxed. No yelling, dancing or jumping.  These guys were  so cool…what a gem!

Heat of the Moment – Asia , 1982

In 1982 I was 11 years old. I wasn’t sure what the lyrics were getting at, but the video was cool and the guitar was loud. I remember taping it off the radio and playing it over and over and over and over.

Faithfully – Journey , 1983

My sister liked Journey, so I learned to like them. Separate Ways was my first choice for this post.  When I watched that video, I decided it did not stand the test of time – too much air key board and wall key board – so Faithfully makes the list by default. Also, this was a good one for middle school dances.

More to come……