Friday, July 29, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday! (Vol. 9)

Last Friday, my little bro Bob was feeling weak, and had been having high blood sugar readings all day (highest was 394 mg/dl). The nurse suggested we take him to the emergency room, as she thought he was dehydrated from an infection. It's a good thing we did: tests showed a blood clot in his right leg! So now he's back home, with yet one more pill to add to his regimen.

 With all the megillah of getting Bob to the hospital, I thought that I would miss meeting my buddy Steve at WinStar Casino for a concert featuring Yes and Styx. However, my older brother Ted stepped in and made sure my mother got home from the hospital after Bob was admitted (her car was not road-worthy). So with only a minor qualm, I hied me off to Thackerville, Okla., to rock out to the music of my youth.

WinStar has to be the oddest casino I've ever seen. The exterior has façades from several different cultures and time periods, from the Circus Maximus in Rome to a tower of pagodas from China. Inside, the walk is extremely long; Steve and I joked about needing people-movers and trams to get around. And while I'm quite sure there are table games there, I saw nary a one: massive room after massive room stuffed to the rafters with slot machines. It's just as well, as I didn't have any extra change for a round of craps or blackjack.

I don't own the rights.
The last time I saw Styx in concert, they were on the Kilroy Was Here tour in 1983 ("Domo arigato Mister Roboto /Mata au hi made /Domo arigato Mister Roboto /Himitsu-wo shiri tai" apparently means: "Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto /Until we meet again /Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto /I want to know your secret"). Since then, there have been changes in the lineup. Instead of Dennis DeYoung on keys, Chuck Panozzo on bass and John Panozzo on drums (he died in 1996), we saw Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips and Todd Sucherman, with James (JY) Young and Tommy Shaw providing guitars and continuity. However, if I shut my eyes, I could never tell; their vocal harmony is just as tight as it was when "Come Sail Away" hit the airwaves in 1975.

I don't own the rights.
I've caught Yes live a couple of times (the last on the Big Generator tour in 1987), and seen a couple of other televised and taped concerts, the most interesting of which was Symphonic Yes. Yes is practically known for their lineup changes, with only master bassist Chris Squire present in every incarnation. Their new lead singer, Benoît David, is a Canadian Squire and guitarist Steve Howe discovered on YouTube with a Yes tribute band, and who sounds like the signature voice of the band, Jon Anderson. Once again Alan White was at the drums as he has been since about 1974; Geoff Downes, who briefly appeared with Yes in the very early '80s, played keys.

Yes has always been more of a band whose music one wants to sit down and absorb rather than get up and dance to; along with Jethro Tull and Genesis, they're more of my idea of progressive rock than Styx. Stylistically, it's hard to find two bands in the same genre more different in style. However, since I like both bands, the transition from one to the other was very easy. Besides, you can dance to "Roundabout" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart".

*sigh* No, I don't own the rights.
Yesterday, while helping Bob with some things, I briefly caught a bit of Everyday Italian on Food Network. And for the first time, I actually paid attention to what Giada De Laurentiis was making: a raspberry pound cake with Vin Santo cream. Oh, sounds heavenly: a dash of cinnamon, a little orange zest, a touch of vanilla extract and whole raspberries folded into the batter. Instead of the Vin Santo cream, I suppose you could put ice cream or even just plain ol' Cool Whip ... the pound cake itself would be divine!

While Steve was in town — he lives in Omaha, and his wife and daughters had gone to the water park in Kansas City — he and I decided to attend Mass at the Cistercian monastery of Our Lady of Dallas in Irving. Although the Mass was the Novus Ordo, the monks accompanied it with Gregorian chant, which gave a much greater depth to the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrament.
I say "the Eucharistic sacrament" for a specific reason ... I could swear the Mass schedule said it began at 9:30! As it was, Steve and I hove into the doors just as the priest was intoning, "Pray, my brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to the Lord our Father." I still feel sheepish ... and not a little mortified.

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And that's it for this week. With the summer doldrums, it may be harder for me to come up with seven items of not-mind-croggling-dullness the next four or five weekends. But, as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans." Have a great weekend, and God bless!