HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Saturday, May 7, 2011


I have taken quite a lengthy hiatus from writing here - mostly because of my annual Spring depression, which all but paralyzes me when it strikes. That coupled with our idiot governor completely destroying the afterglow of winning Super Bowl XLV with his Tea Party antics in Madison that are currently destoying our beautiful state, was enough to make me hide, whimpering, in a dark closet.

But the first real signs that Winter may have finally bowed out (I found a wood tick embedded on my back this morning), no snow for nearly a week, and being almost completely out of stove wood for the office, have lifted my spirits greatly.

But mostly my attitude has greatly improved because of the young man pictured with the pizza.

Jonathan, the older of my two sons, went through some very hard times this past Winter, but lately, he too, seems to be emerging into the light!

I got a call from him recently and he was feeling very, very good about a show case he had just finished playing for - Jon plays guitar and writes the music for a great new children's music group called "Shine and the Moonbeams". (If you have time, google them and listen to some of their great kids' music).

They showcased in Brooklyn at Kindiefest for agents from all over the United States and were very well received. In fact, their music is a fresh new approach to children's music, incorporating elements of blues, jazz, soul, and hip hop.

In attendance was Tor Hyams, who is THE man when it comes to the children's music industry. He is based in Los Angeles and in the past expressed some interest in the group from tapes they had sent.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Hyams:

Tor Hyams is a songwriter and Grammy nominated music producer whose roster of artists include Joan Osborne, Vivian Campbell, Billy Gibbons, Lou Rawls, Rachel York, Lisa Loeb, Perry Farrell and Deborah Harry. Most recently[when?], Hyams produced the Edwin McCain album Nobody's Fault But Mine.

Hyams has also worked on children's music, writing and producing the CD A World of Happiness for Disney's Buena Vista Records featuring performances from Samuel L. Jackson, Magic Johnson, Lou Rawls, Isaac Hayes, Deborah Harry, Gary Oldman, Perry Farrell, Lisa Loeb, Michael McKean, Annette O'Toole, Brad Whitford, and Jane Kaczmarek.] He also co-produced the music video for one of the tracks "The Patience Bossa", directed by Gary Oldman and featuring a duet by Perry Farrell and Deborah Harry.
In 2005, Hyams developed and presented the children's music festival, Kidzapalooza, with Perry Farrell at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. In 2009 Kidzapalooza was a stand-alone festival at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, again produced by Hyams and Farrell.] Kidzapalooza has run for six years with Hyams as producer and emcee. It will continue to at least 2015 and has spawned Kidzapalooza Radio on Sirius/XM and a compilation album. Hyams also produces the children's festival Austin Kiddie Limits as part of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Hyams formed Happiness Entertainment, a children’s music label with distribution through E1 Entertainment. In it’s inaugural year, Happiness has already released three albums, including a reissue of A World of Happiness with bonus tracks, The Kidzapalooza Compilation CD and an album by family hip hop act Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Tor has also encouraged families to the SXSW Music Festival and through this co-founded KindieFest, a family music conference featuring panels and performances with influential figures from the world of children’s music. The first KindieFest was held in Brooklyn. He has also been named a judge for the NAPPA awards for children’s audio products.
His other work includes a Diane Warren composition for MTV which involved Michelle Branch, Bubba Sparxx & Sleepy Brown, Monica and JC Chasez. He has also produced a number of artists and compilations for TVT Records and UMS Records in New York.
For television, Hyams has composed themes and music packages for NBC, ABC, CBS, TBS, Showtime, The History Channel, USA, FX, Bravo, MTV, Sony and Paramount Television. Additionally, he has scored several feature films, including projects for Miramax, Artisan Entertainment, The Shooting Gallery and Fox Searchlight.
Another of his projects is Chutzpah (the world's first Jewish Hip Hop Super Group). Their reality-based comedy short film, Chutzpah, This Is? (The Official Hip-Hop-U-Mentary),[6] stars George Segal, Gary Oldman, Debi Mazar and Vivian Campbell. It received accolades from the HBO Comedy Festival and the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival Audience Award and received official selection at 16 film festivals, both in the USA and overseas.[7] The group has since made several TV and radio appearances, including Fox TV LA and Good Day New York. Their second album Hip Hop Fantasy was released in July 2009.

After the show, Mr. Hyams sought out "Shine and the Moon Beams" and expressed an interest in producing their first album, hopefully by this coming autumn.

In addition, Jon has been performing with Corn Mo, an up and coming singer/songwriter - as his lead guitarist in the band .357 Lover. Some of their tunes can also be found on Youtube.

So I start each day with a prayer for Jon and success in his musical endeavors. I am very proud of the fact that he has suffered through some rough times to get to this point but has never given up on his talent or his dream.



The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Libya and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful
Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only
threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is canceled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.


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