King of the Five String World

“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.”
Steve Martin

Steve Martin

Steve Martin, banjo artist, song writer, play write, author, actor, comedian and singer. A pure genius of an entertainer.

Today while I drove around town taking care of all my chores, I was listening to my favorite music. Well, not only my favorite music but also one of my all time favorite performers. I’ve been a fan of Steve Martin since I was in my teens.

This past July 4th my dear son bought tickets for us to see “Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers” perform at the Hollywood Bowl.

My son knows who Steve Martin is, but he was unaware of the banjo musician side of the man. He had a great time and we both were thoroughly entertained by not only the great music, but by his comedy throughout the performance. A great evening was had by all.

Recently it was announced that Mr. Steve Martin will receive the 43rd AFI Life Achievement Award, one of the highest honors for a career in films. He also just received a Grammy this past week for Best American Roots Song. The song, “Pretty Little One” is from his current album Live (with Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell) and is such an amusing song, everyone should check it out.

I love all his bluegrass music that he has produced the last few years. But the one CD I listen to the most is, “Live”. Not only because it reminds me of the Hollywood Bowl performance, but because each and every song is true perfection. Listening to this CD can even bring tears to my eyes when I listen to the song, “The Great Remember”. It amazes me that one person can have such talent in so many areas of entertainment.

I play the five string banjo and enjoy listening to all kinds of banjo music. I’m thrilled that banjo music is making a huge comeback. I even noticed that recently on “American Idol”, they had a very skillful young female banjo player. You can be sure I’ll be cheering for this gal to win this season.

There was a time when people I knew looked down on banjo music as just silly hillbilly music. But with entertainers such as Steve Martin, Bela Fleck, The Steep Canyon Rangers, and the recent interest in Pete Seeger, I’m glad to say it’s making its way back up the music charts.

In a sea of six strings, in my opinion, Steve Martin is king of the five string world.

Shine On

He’s Got Star Quality

“Horses are amazing. They have their own personality
and their own way of doing things. They make up their
mind whether they like you or don’t like you, and I got
along terrific with almost all the horses I’ve ever had.”
Burt Reynolds 

Jimmy aka, James Dean RIP 1986 - 2013

Jimmy aka, James Dean
RIP 1986 – 2013

Horses, just like humans, have personalities as unique as their owners. In the fifty plus years of riding, training and giving lessons, the one thing I’ve learned is that no two horses are similar in their personalities. A horse’s personality is molded as he grows and matures. His experiences with trainers, handlers and owners form his mind into what he is today. The horse memory can exceed ours for past bad experiences and, unfortunately for the horse and human, the horse can’t delete those bad experiences from his brain.  You can attempt to breed in traits, or even clone a horse, and you will find that each horse stands alone.

A few years back I was trail riding with a friend. She has one of the most beautiful reining horses at our barn. As we rode side by side out on the trail, we were discussing different topics. I commented to her how beautiful her horse was. She was a little taken aback by my comment and immediately began to point out some of her horse’s flaws. Disagreeing with her opinion of her horse, I continued to tell her that if her horse were a celebrity he would be Hugh Jackman. She thought that was the funniest comment she had ever heard about her horse. Explaining to her that the reason I saw the similarities in such a famous and talented actor was because her horse not only possessed such handsome good looks, but also had talent, perfect confirmation, brains, athletic ability and was charismatic to boot. Yep, her horse undeniably could win a Hugh Jackman look-a-like contest.

We both laughed and discussed this in great detail, comparing other horses in the barn with celebrities. She asked me what celebrity I thought my horse resembled. After thinking about this for a few moments, I replied that he sure wouldn’t be Charlie Sheen. My horse has too much common sense and class.

My horse Jimmy is a twenty-six year-old paint gelding. Smartest horse I’ve ever known with a great deal of bravery for a horse of his stature. Easy on the eye, he stands just 14.2 hands and he weighs in around 800 pounds. He’s a Tobiano Dun with a long flowing white mane and tail. On sunny days, his white coat shimmers and twinkles like the tips of his coat are lit up by tiny light crystals. He’s an ex-cutting horse who’s not quite as athletic as he used to be, but what he lacks in athleticism, he makes up in honesty and trustworthiness. People young and old are drawn to his good looks and then fall in love with his tricks and antics, which he is famous for at every stable we’ve ever boarded or visited. He is a celebrity in his own right and often friends and acquaintances will ask me, “How’s Jimmy”, long before they ask about myself.

No, Jimmy wouldn’t be a George Clooney or a Russell Crowe. He’s more of a classic celebrity like John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart. A much more rugged and sturdy character of a horse. He also is quite charismatic for a horse. Sticking his tongue out at people as they walk by, which is his attempt at getting their attention. Jimmy’s extremely intelligent, he knows 18 word commands and several hand commands without touching him to perform his array of tricks.  He’s more of a superstar, a horse that everyone enjoys and wants to be around.  If I could compare him to a Hollywood Horse, he would definitely be compared to Roy Rogers’ horse, Trigger.

As my friend began to name one celebrity after the other, I told her that the only celebrity that came to mind was Burt Reynolds. With his confident demeanor, nonchalant attitude, and charismatic personality, Jimmy could only be compared to Burt Reynolds.

What celebrity does your horse resemble? It’s kind of a fun question when you think about. Is your filly more of a Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie?  Is your stallion a Sylvester Stallone or Bradley Cooper?  Whichever superstar your horse resembles, you know he will always be your favorite star and you will always be his biggest fan. Why? Because he’s got star quality.

Shine On

Funny at any Age

“Keeping an active mind
has been vital to my survival,
as has been maintaining
a sense of humor.”
Stephen Hawking

Harpo, Chico and Groucho Marx = Lots of Laughs

I’ve always been a sucker for a man or woman with a sense of humor.

You had to have a good sense of humor in my family. There was always some form of humor. Whether my parents or siblings were doing pratfalls, jokes, imitations of movie stars or comedians, or just listening to comedy albums, all was part of my growing up.

I grew up watching the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, W. C. Fields, Judy Holiday, Abbott and Costello, Danny Kaye, Red Skelton,  I Love Lucy, Looney Tunes, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, and Martin and Lewis.

In my teens I was a huge fan of sitcoms, musical comedies, and comedians such as Steve Martin, David Steinberg, Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams, The Smothers Brothers, Carol Burnett, Flip Wilson, Dick Cavett, Don Rickles, Robert Klein, Albert Brooks, Dudley Moore, Soupy Sales, Steve Allen, Rich Little, Johnny Carson, and Woody Allan just to mention a few.

In my 20’s through my 50’s the comedians and the type of humor I’m drawn to are not much different from the one’s I enjoyed in my youth. Some of my favorites are thankfully still alive today.

As a senior citizen, I still enjoy a good joke, a great sitcom and a romantic comedy. There are a lot of great comedians around today. My taste in humor hasn’t changed much over the years. Funny is funny at any age.

Shine On

Happy Birthday Mozart

“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame.
I simply follow my own feelings.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Young Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart born January 27, 1756 and died on December 5, 1791

He was the most prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He began composing and performing before European royalty at the age of five. Composing over 600 works of music, he is among the most enduring and popular of the classical composers.

Happy Birthday Mozart.

Shine On