Music Is A Time Machine

Next stop, Funky Town. Woot, woot!

Next stop, Funky Town.
Woot, woot!

I have discovered the secret to time travel.

I was in a store the other day when the radio played Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations.  I wasn’t the only person who started singing along.  I could hear some guy a couple of aisles over, faintly but clearly, “da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, WHY do you build me up…”

Build Me Up Buttercup is not a musically important song; in fact it’s pretty lame. That doesn’t matter.  When I hear that song I am 9 years old again, up in my bedroom listening to the top-40 on my sister’s transistor radio and singing along at the top of my lungs.

Music is a time machine.

Certain songs have the power to instantly transport us back to specific places in our past.  Whether the music is any good is immaterial – our memories are what matter. Take the song Mairzy Doats. You’d have to go a long way to find a sillier song. But when I hear it, I find myself back in Jeanne Cain’s living room the summer we were 10. Her parents had that record and we replayed the tricky parts over and over again, determined to figure out what the heck they were saying. I still know all the words.

I think the most powerful songs are those we learn during puberty.  Something about all the growth and hormonal upheaval going on causes the music of that time to become hardwired into our DNA.   It is a time for discovery, and finding “your” music is a big part of the process.

When I hear What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, I have to sing along.  Passionately.  My middle-aged, white, establishment self may be scrubbing pots at the kitchen sink, but in my heart I am a 12-year-old militant, looking for something to protest.  Right on, brother!

When I am old and senile, drooling in my chair at Shady Acres and unable to remember my own name, I will still know all the words to Stairway to Heaven.  When it plays, I will be in 7th grade again, playing spin the bottle in Keith O’Brien’s basement and experiencing my first kiss.

On my deathbed, moments away from meeting My Maker, if someone plays In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly (the first album I owned,) I will be back in the gym at a high school dance. I will rise up…then stand around and shuffle my feet awkwardly. Although it was great to listen to, you could never really dance to that sort of music.

My favorite song, Roundabout by Yes, transports me to college. I do believe that song would bring me back, even if I had already passed over to The Other Side. Yea, verily, it would tear the veil of death! But that probably wouldn’t work if I was already embalmed. And it would be a limited time thing that would only last the length of the song.  Then it’s right back to dead.

Music is a time machine and it doesn’t cost a thing to hop aboard. Your ticket is a pocketful of great memories.

What songs punch your ticket to ride?

*Special thanks to my good buddy, blogging goddess and PhotoShop pro Miss Darla from She’s A Maineiac.  She used her mad skillz to take the disco-Peg picture she ran in her 6/13 Blogger of the Month post (why can’t EVERY month be Peg-o-Leg month?  Just sayin’…) and drop it into this time machine picture.


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The Dark Side of Freshly Pressed: Handling the Highs and Lows


You may not know that I’ve had the honor of being Freshly Pressed a couple of times. You probably didn’t notice the pop-up box containing a list of Freshly Pressed posts that appears every 3 seconds on my blog, the fact that I use “Freshly Pressed” as a tag on 97% of my posts, and I bet you totally missed the 8-foot tall, flashing, neon sign that says “HEY, SUCKAS, I’VE BEEN FRESHLY PRESSED!!!” that lights up when you first arrive here.

You know I don’t like to brag – tooting your own horn is so tacky – but I am being forced to lay aside my natural modesty and reticence about this accomplishment because WordPress is covering the topic today on The Daily Post. Cheri Lucas Rowland’s article is a fascinating look at the Freshly Pressed process from the standpoint of both editors (yes, real people choose the posts) and bloggers. Yours-Truly is one of the bloggers who was interviewed for the article. Please go check it out.

Incidentally, I learned that, while they don’t really keep track of such stats, I do NOT hold the title for most Freshly Pressed posts. That honor apparently goes to some dude who has been FPd something like 16 times just because he takes pictures that are so beautiful they make people weep.


Originally posted on The Daily Post:

A roundtable of bloggers and editors:

Paula Reed NancarrowPaula Reed Nancarrow
Peg Schulte, Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings
Stephanie Summar, Listful Thinking
Krista Stevens, editor
Michelle Weber, editor
Cheri Lucas Rowlands, editor

The editorial team behind The Daily Post works on other projects such as Longreads and Freshly Pressed. On Freshly Pressed, which you’ll find in your Reader, we share top picks, community recommendations, and our favorite reads. Freshly Pressed has evolved over the years: it began as a developer’s Hack Day project to showcase user-made content on the homepage, and has become a favorite space to discover standout posts and new bloggers.

The So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed support page explains what we look for, although these are merely guidelines — there’s no magic formula to be featured. We, too, are people who love to read. We look for posts that are thought-provoking, inspiring, unexpected, unique, relevant, and resonant. We’re…

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Tupperware Party Hearty Without Me


Sprinting to Life’s End-zone with the Defensive Tackles of Home Shopping in hot pursuit.

I have a confession to make. I don’t want you to think less of me, but what kind of relationship can we have if it is built on a foundation of lies? The time has come to tell the truth.

I have never been to a Pampered Chef party.

I haven’t sniggered at naughty lingerie or sex toys from the comfort of a friend’s living room.   I haven’t bought Shaklee vitamins, purses, candles, jewelry, soup mixes, makeup, laundry soap, home interior or scrap-booking supplies across someone’s kitchen table. I have lived in American society my whole life, not on a deserted island, and have managed to avoid the arm-twisting-sales-pitch-masquerading-as-hospitality that is known as the home selling party.

Except once.

I waitressed at Big Boy the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college and was flattered when the head waitress invited me to a party at her place.   I’d been to lots of college parties – drunken affairs where the main goal was to avoid getting soaked by spilled beer – but this was different.  It was a grownup party.   She was vague on details, just that she was having some friends over for the evening.

Her place was a single as opposed to a double-wide, so the 10 of us were crammed into the tiny living room.   I hadn’t noticed all the stacked cardboard boxes until a lady so perky she must have been hopped-up on crack starting telling us all about the contents.  By then it was too late; there was no escape.


May we serve you a heapin’ helpin’ of burpin’ goodness?

I had been lured to a Tupperware party.

This was the most boring 45 minutes of my life (besides a time-share sales pitch I once endured in Branson.)   Worse than Microeconomics.   I was 18, I lived in a dorm, and I was flat-broke.  What did I need with a deviled egg container, even if it did come complete with a convenient carrying handle and the signature burping cover?   An item that cost more than an Intermediate Accounting textbook?   I drank her iced tea, ate her cookies and left as soon as humanly possible without buying a single thing.   That memory makes me squirm with shame.   In my defense, I was so green I had not yet learned the Unwritten Yet Unbreakable Code of Home Selling Parties:

You must buy something.

I’ve managed to avoid such affairs ever since.   I’m a running back in the football game of life, zigging and zagging, breaking tackles right and left as I sprint down the field toward the goal.

It’s not that I don’t want to deal with friends; I make it a point to support local businesses and charities.   I’ve bought plenty of stuff when people I know are selling.   My bristles go up, however, when someone who has never before invited me to her home suddenly can’t live without me.   Is it coincidence that the only time she’s ever wanted me over is for an event where I HAVE to whip out my checkbook or risk looking like a total, cheapo schlub?  If we’re such good buddies, why doesn’t she invite me to her house when she doesn’t have a 12-Piece Pantry Hostess Gift hanging in the balance?

Of course none of this applies to YOU, dear readers.   If you’re thinking of inviting me to your next home sales party, you know there’s nothing I’d like more than to come. Unfortunately, I just checked my calendar and it turns out I’m already busy that day.


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My Dad Has No Rhythm, Yet He Remains The Master Of The Dance

This post was my Father’s Day gift to my Dad several years ago.  It had the honor of being Freshly Pressed and remains one of my (and my readers) favorites.

My Dad is the one in the snappy, plaid jacket. I’m the blonde butterball in the back.

My Dad sired 9 children. He then topped that accomplishment by staying around, with our Mom, to raise every one of us. For that reason alone, he deserves to be Father of The Year.

Not convinced? Here are a few things you should know about him.

My Dad…

can clear a room quicker than you can say National Geographic. Not because of poor hygiene or a less-than-winning personality, but because of his TV viewing habits.

All us kids would be piled into our tiny sunroom watching The Monkees or Get Smart on TV. Dad would come in, squat next to the set and start flipping the dial. (This was in the dark days before remotes.) He would come upon a fascinating National Geographic special on plate tectonics and there he would stay. We all groaned, rolled our eyes, exclaimed “Da-a-ad!” and left the room. If we were old enough to do so, we flounced out.

As he squatted next to the set, chewing his nails and staring raptly at the educational program du jour, we would hear his voice faintly, fading as we scattered through our big, old house “Hey, don’t you want to watch this? This is really interesting!”

should have joined the Navy. He bought his first boat when we were young kids. This started a life-long love affair second only to the one he shares with my Mom. I loved the family trips, especially to Mackinac Island each summer.

Each new boat was bigger than the last, and all the early ones were wood. When I think of how much of my life was spent in the boat shed, stripping varnish off metal trim and sticking Coopernal-ed toothpicks into screw holes, all I can say is… Dad, I forgive you.

is one of the smartest people I know. Too smart. He was always ready to help with math homework, but his explanation would sail right over your head. After just a few minutes, your eyes would glaze over. We’d say, “Thanks, Dad, I get it now.” and he would walk away, mission accomplished. He never suspected we would call a friend for help as soon as he left the room.

He taught celestial navigation for The Power Squadron for years, a skill I greatly admire even though the topic makes me glaze over worse than math.

has no rhythm that I’ve noticed, but is the Master of the Dance. He is best known for The Mosquito Ballet.

On sultry summer nights when we were very little, the windows and the balcony door in our bedroom would be opened to catch any stray breezes. Somehow the mosquitoes always got in to plague us. Dad to the rescue. Wearing a sappy expression and brandishing a fly swatter, he would leap and pirouette about the room, chasing the pesky bugs. We stood in our cribs and beds, flushed and sweating in diapers and t-shirts, shrieking with laughter, the sound floating out into the hot, still nights.

is a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Not because of his patriotism, though he is a proud and loyal American, but because of his zeal for the 4th of July.

My Dad loves fireworks with the pure joy of a child.

As my brothers got older they bought fireworks, most from the lawless land of Indiana, to set off in the driveway. Dad half-heartedly endorsed Mom’s edict to stop because those things “were just too dangerous”, but you could tell only the strictest discipline kept him from elbowing the boys aside to light the fuses himself.

To this day, almost every 4th of July, Dad and some of the family take the boat down the river to watch the fireworks over the water. That’s the only way to see them.

tells a shaggy dog story with the best of them. There’s a real art to telling the long, involved joke known as the shaggy dog. Dad has great delivery, no doubt. The problem is remembering the whole story. Early on, he developed a system. He wrote down his best material and kept the notes tucked in the front pocket of his shirt.

Our parents used to host cocktail and dinner parties pretty often when we were kids. Dad would duck into a corner, surreptitiously refer to his notes, and then sally forth to slay the crowd with his latest gems.

All his shirts still have pockets, and they still bulge with papers. I know for a fact most of those papers are jokes, now sent by friends via that new, joke-passing technology, email.

is a devout man. He spent years in the seminary before deciding the priesthood was not for him. But his faith and devotion to God have been constants in his life; something he and Mom passed on to their children.

When we were kids, we said family prayers almost every night, kneeling in the living room. As I entered my teens, I must admit that I didn’t have quite the appreciation for this ritual that I have now, in retrospect.

Sometimes, in the middle of our devotions, one of my brothers would let one fly: pass gas, fart, release the Silent-But-Deadly hounds of hell. Of course we all started giggling, then looked guiltily to our parents. They tried to maintain the mood, but more often than not, Dad would lose it.  He’d start laughing.  It was that highly contagious laughter that you couldn’t resist. We all joined in, laughing until we were leaning on the couch, crying. When it was obvious this train was not going to get back on the holy track, he’d waive us weakly out of the room.

Prayers called on account of laughter. I think God understood.

At 87, Dad’s ballet jumps aren’t what they once were.   His health isn’t good, but his mind is sharp and he can still deliver a shaggy dog story with the best of them.  He and Mom are still together in their own home, and he still loves and supports God, his family and his country.   For these reasons and more, I’m sure you’ll agree that the Father of the Year Award should go to – my Dad.

What’s that you say? My Dad sounds great, but you’d like to nominate someone else – maybe your dad? Fair enough.

If you’re blessed to still be able to do so, join me in telling each of our nominees for Father of the Year:

Thanks Dad.

I love you.

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What To Do When Mother Nature Crashes the Wedding

Wedding season is upon us.   Once again, the fine folks at Peg-Co are standing by to help with your wedding day emergencies.

weddingnosepinCongratulations – you’re getting married!

One of the most crucial decisions you’ll make is where to have the wedding.   If you’re like many brides, you’ve tuned out advice from clueless old fogies (i.e. your parents) and listened to your Inner Disney Princess.  She says:

It’s MY special day; I’ll do exactly what I want.

That’s why you’ve decided on an outdoor wedding.

You can see it now: birds will soar lazily through a blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds, their chirping blending sweetly with your music.  A soft, gentle breeze will perfume the 75-degree air with the scent of flowers and freshly mown grass.


That was LAST weekend.  Time to deal with today’s reality.  The clever bride makes sure she’s ready for anything, with a little help from Peg-Co.  Our Wedded (Ignorance Is) Bliss line of wedding favors combines sentiment with practicality so you can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

We’ve got you covered for:

  • Stench: How ironic for a hipster like you to have her ceremony at a real farm!  But what’s a city girl to do when inconsiderate farmers have chosen today to fertilize?   Nosepins to the rescue. You’ll end up smelling like a rose with our customized clothespins to protect guests’ scents sense.
  • Noise: It turns out the Tri-state Harley Club’s “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Mufflers” competition is being held across the street.  Guests won’t be able to hear a word of the ceremony, let alone your $100/hour harpist.  Our Hear No Evil MP3 players with attached earphones save the day.  They’re just like the ones you rent for self-guided museum tours.   Instead of hearing the difference between Cubism and Pointillism, guests will enjoy a full wedding ceremony with your names prerecorded.  Please specify: Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Jewish, or New Age services.
  • Cold: Toast The Bride gloves and scarf sets embroidered with your names will bring this special day to mind long after the feeling returns to guests’ extremities.
  • Hot: Nothing puts a damper on a party like half the guests dropping from heat stroke.  When you’ve got 98 Degrees on the thermometer as well as the turntable, you’ll be glad you ordered Ice, Ice, Baby terry cloth ice-pack covers.  Just fill with ice and have guests sling them across the back of their necks.  Your names custom embroidered on the cover reminds guests who to thank for having a hot time in the old town tonight.
  • Rain: Personalized Pair-a-sols umbrellas are big enough to protect two lovebirds even if it’s raining cats and dogs.
  • More Rain: It’s been raining for 10 days straight, but you’re not worried; you’ve booked the Wedding Ark  Our rowboat is painted white and draped with tulle to provide a charming way to ferry guests across the Lake of Love (formerly the parking lot) to your ceremony site. (Please specify if you wish to hire Captain Noah to man the oars.)


  • After the Rain:  It finally stopped raining, but you’re still bailing out from last week’s deluge.  When the lawn at your venue has turned to swamp, guests will be thankful for These Boots Were Made For Weddin’ galoshes.  See-through, plastic boots personalized with your names slip right over guests’ expensive Manolo Blahniks.  Not only does this protect their shoes, it makes sure their 6” stilettos don’t turn guests into human lawn Jarts. (Be sure to pick up some Leg Savers to keep folding chairs from being similarly planted in the saturated ground.)
  • Plague: The weather is clear and warm, the ground is firm and dry, the air is sweet smelling and blessedly quiet.  Congratulations – your wedding day looks just like you dreamed!

I said it LOOKS great.weddingoff

But after all the recent rain and heat, setting foot on the grass is sure to raise swarms of mosquitoes big enough to carry the bride off like the winged monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.  You’ll be glad you ordered (Don’t) Bite Me personalized bottles of Deep Woods Off.  These are specially formulated to protect guests from Lyme Disease and Dengue Fever with the light scent of orange blossom.

Matchbook covers and personalized napkins are all very well for a “normal” wedding, but when you move it outside you need Peg-Co’s Wedded (Ignorance Is) Bliss line of products.

With Peg-Co on your side, when Mother Nature asks, “Can you take it?” you’ll respond, “Dish it out!”

*10% discount for combination orders.  After all, every one of these contingencies is equally likely to happen.  Please allow at least 6 months for personalization and to give your parents time to line up a second mortgage.  Peg-Co ( a division of Peg-O-Leg Industries) is not responsible for normal wedding hazards including, but not limited to, ruined shoes, malaria, or a drunken bride telling her new mother-in-law what she REALLY thinks of her.

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Love Takes A Dive

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Dance Like Nobody’s Watching


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