Quote for Today – December 15, 2017

You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.  ~ Charlie Parker


Using Your Gift

Each of us has an amazing gift. Gifts are meant to be given to others for their benefit. When we give the gift of our talent, we touch someone in a special way. We may get no recognition for our gift, yet, the person receiving our gift knows we made his or her day better. Today’s video is the inspirational performance of Andrea Bocelli and Katharine Mcphee singing “The Prayer.” Let their gift of song uplift your spirits.

They’re Playing Him Like An Accordion

Chapter 21

Tony Gallino got up and began pacing around the small room. The pizza delivery thug and the driver thug stepped back and let Gallino pass. Once he passed, they stepped forward, one on each side of the boys. Gallino made the circle clockwise four times. Each time he made the circle, he stopped behind his desk, turned and starred at Zeke and Mickey. He shook his head and started pacing. After his fourth pass. He stopped, turned toward the boys, placed his two hands palm down on the metal desk.

“You know what I should do with you guys? Do you know what I’m think I should do?”

Zeke kept quiet. Mickey didn’t. He said, “I don’t what you want to do with us, Tony. But if I were in your shoes, I’d tell Gus to make sure we get a free beer every time we come into this place. It’s not like we never been here before. People see us and they feel comfortable. They think two stand up guys like this place. Know what I mean?”

Gallino lifted his head and looked at the two thugs. “You see what’s happening here?”

Neither thug moved. They had no clue what Gallino was thinking and they didn’t want to be wrong.

“I’ll tell you what’s happening here,” said Gallino.

This made the two thugs happy, if they listened they had a good chance at passing a pop quiz.

“This is what’s happening. These two idiots are not idiots. See what I’m saying?”

Both thugs nodded, even though they did not see what Gallino was saying.

Gallino continued, “They are playing me. I do not like it when somebody plays me and I don’t know they are playing me. Nobody dares to do that, but these two, the did it. They played me like an accordion, which I used to play as a kid. This is not common knowledge, so do not say anything.”

The two thugs nodded.

“Gallino continued, “They suckered me into believing they were so dumb they would do me this favor and not look in the package. I, like a fool, believed them. I remember the lesson, Mario Zito taught me. He said, “Antonio, don’t believe nobody, even yourself. Because sometimes yourself lies to you.” Now I know what he means.”

The two thugs nodded.

“So, this is what I am going to do. First, I am going to leave the room while my two thugs mess up your face. Then I’m gonna come back to make sure they did it right. Then I’m gonna leave the room while the two thugs break your legs. Then I’m gonna come back to make sure your legs are broken. Then I’m gonna …”

Gallino paused his sermon on medical malpractice procedures the two thugs were going to inflict on Zeke and Mickey to answer his cell phone and its special ring tone, the Sinatra classic, All The Way. Gallino answered his cell, “Yah, baby.”

Gallino rolled his eyes while he listened to the phone.

“That’s not true, baby. Listen, I got work to do. Can we talk later?”

Gallino paused.

“Don’t you bust my smart TV. You already did? You got my laptop and you’re gonna take it to cops? I thought your sister was you. She tricked me.”

Gallino paused.

“She’s pregnant? She, I mean you, told me you were on the pill.”

A knock on the metal door interrupted Gallino’s phone conversation for a moment.

The pizza delivery thug answered the door. He turned to Gallino and said, “It’s Gus. He says it’s important.”

Gallino nodded to the thug and motioned with his hand to let Gus in the room. Gus entered and said, “Sorry to disturb you Mr. Gallino, but there are three women out there saying they’re going to newspaper saying you made unwanted sexual advances toward them.”

“I do that all the time, what’s their beef?” said Gallino. He realized he hadn’t covered the cell phone. The female voice on the other side of the cell phone connection was letting go with a series of colorful words that might make a hard boiled homicide detective blush.

Zeke said, “If I may, I believe I know a way of your predicament.”

Gallino said “What?”

Zeke answered, “Nonna put a curse on you. The only way to get the curse off is to apologize to her and Mickey and me. I’ll put in a good word with Nonna if you’ll take us to her house.”

Gallino threw his cell against the wall. He picked up a bottle of wine and threw it at Gus, who deftly sidestepped the errant throw and watched the vino splatter against the wall and the shattered bottled lay a mosaic on the floor.

“Okay, but I don’t like it,” said Gallino.

Will Nonna take off the curse? What’s in the package? What’s going to become of Zeke and Mickey?

You Are Strong – Hang On

Every adult person I’ve met has suffered at some point in his or her life. Life demands us to be courageous. It demands us to reach down and find an inner toughness. It demands that we take a leap of faith into the unknown with the belief that we’ll come out better than we went in. It’s not easy. It can seem overwhelming at times. Be strong. Be of courageous heart. Even if it’s one moment at a time, take it. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Hang on. Hang on. The following YouTube video is a performance by Josh Groban singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Get inspired.

Turning Tragedy Into Triumph

Have you ever been knocked down? Knocked flat on your back? There is only one option, get back up and get going. It’s hard, really hard. And, at times, seemingly impossible. When we get up off the mat, rise, and begin again, it is a personal triumph. The following  short YouTube video tells one man’s story of getting up and going on. Get Inspired by his story.

Bring Back Spontaneity

When was the last time you were spontaneous? You know, did something fun, on the spur of the moment. It’s what children do. It’s time to put a little more fun and joy into our lives. Acting spontaneously to fill up a moment with joy and laughter, song, and dance are good starters. The following video begins with a person playing a piano in the park, a stranger joins in on the same keyboard. Both people joined in the spontaneity of moment and brought fun to their lives and all who watched them. Enjoy.  

One Hand Washes The Other and The Feet Too

“How’s the singing career going?” I asked La Flor. It wasn’t nice of me, but I couldn’t help myself.

La Flor looked up from her iPhone, “Better than expected.”

“Better than expected?” I was taken aback. I asked, “What do you mean?”

“I mean Cher called me personally and said she loved the song.”

“She did? You spoke to Cher? She called on your cell? ”

“Yes to all the above. Actually, I put her on speaker phone so LC and Big Carmen could hear it. Big Carmen is Fed Ex a speciality pizza to Cher with all her fav toppings. BTW, she wanted permission for Sonny and her to so a duo with our song,” said La Flor.


“Are you listening, Sonny is what I said. We’re taking a few months off, so we don’t get burned out. Besides, LC gets bored easily. He mastered the air guitar and now he’s going to master the air piano. He promised to practice every day for an hour. He’ll master it by Christmas. We’ll be working on a Christmas album in the meantime. It’ll be out for the Black Friday hoo ha.”

A Christmas album. The Black Friday hoo ha? La Flor likes wine, but she doesn’t do drugs. LC likes beer, but he doesn’t do drugs either. I don’t know where La Flor and LC come up with this stuff. I’m a bit worried about me, I’m listening to them as if it’s true, and I’m clean.

“Excuse me, is that an iPhone X? You can’t pre order them for a couple of months. How did you get it? Can I see it?” La Flor hands it to me. I turn it over. I stare at it. I take a selfie. I want one. “How much did it cost?” I asked handing it back to La Flor.

She deleted my selfie, “I only have photos of me on my iPhone X. I didn’t pay anything. It was a gift.”

“A gift? From whom?”

“Big Carmen. LC and me sang our song at the pizzeria last night and BTW, we got a standing O. Big Carmen asked us to sing it three times. Each time we got a standing O. LC went crazy at the end and I let him. He let go with the best riffs anybody ever heard from an air guitar. I couldn’t help myself. As soon as he put his air guitar down, I did the leap, hold and kiss. Another standing O.”

“The Leap? A standing O? You know anyone?”

“The place was packed. It was mostly a family gathering. Lil Carlo, Vinnie, the 5th, Pepper, Whale, Tony, Fredo, TT and the tramp Carmela, and a couple of FBI agents.”

“FBI agents? This worries me.”

“Not to worry. They’re good friends with Big Carmen. They love pizza and cannoli.”

“How did Big Carmen get ahold of an iPhone X? Never mind, I don’t want to know.”

“Know what he said when he gave it to me?”

“No, what?”

“Big Carmen said, beautiful, tough, and edgy make my heart flutter, use voice makes my heart do palpitations. I gots a gift for use, I happen to have a friend of a friend of a friend and they all owes me big time. I says to the third friend. That is the friend of a friend of a friend, ‘I knows a sweet angel that woulds like the iPhone X’ (he actually said x, not ten). Like I always says with this original Carmen’s Pizzeria quote: One hands washes the other, and the feet too. Now I gives use the iPhone X with a special bonus, much like the added pepperoni I puts on my pizza every other Tuesday for the low price of seven, twenty-two with the purchase of a bottle of the house wine. Here’s the bonus, ‘If use don’t asks questions, use don’t get answers, and use never have to give answers use don’t have because use didn’t ask questions.”

“That’s deep,”

“He said more.”

“He did.”

He said, “When the FBI is eating your pizza, you eat pizza too; so’s use don’t talk with food in your mouth about what chu not supposed to be talking about.”

“Big Carmen is brilliant. I think he’s a philosopher. They’ll write books about him one day.”

Right after they throw the book at him, but I left the thought unstated.

La Flor’s staring at her new iPhone X, then shrieks, “How dare she. This does it. Ray, don’t let me out of your sight, I may do something you’ll regret.”

“Not you?”

“No. She’ll have it coming?”

Who’s La Flor talking about? Why is she upset? What will I regret? Come by tomorrow.


Are They Serious?

La Flor sports an assortment of arm candy given to her by her main squeeze, LC, is serious about this venture. The first time I’ve seen her really trying to make something work. Let’s listen in . . .

“We’re going to be big stars LC. Me, I’m beautiful, tough, and edgy. You, LC, you’re handsome, muscles in all the right places, and you hold me on a pedestal. I’ve been thinking about the lyrics for a hit song.”

“Whatcha thinking? Because I been thinking too and when I plays me air guitar, I puts music to my thoughts.”

“I wish I learned to play an instrument, like you, LC, but Ray never let me,” whined La Flor.

I take it all back. This isn’t going to work. Maybe I should have some faith, give them a little rope, see how they work it out.

“How’s this for an idea, beautiful, tough, and edgy one. When you come up with use brilliant words, which I already knows will be more brilliant than my brilliant words, I will puts them to music with my air guitar, which, by the way, I have right beside me.”

Is he nuts? An air guitar? Surely La Flor isn’t going down this road.

La Flor bends over the edge of the table and stares for a moment, “It’s beautiful. It must have cost you a lot.”

“Tanks, but it didn’t cost me a cent, Vinnie saw it laying around when he was doing a night time job for Big Carmen, so he picked it up for me.”

“Vinnie is a such a darling, two bad he’s got six months in the slammer,” said La Flor.

“Big Carmen’s working on it. He said, he’ll have Vinnie out in no time,” said LC

“How so?” said La Flor.

“Seems Big Carmen had Lil Carlo follow the D.A. around and it seems the D.A. didn’t play Monopoly. Instead of going directly home, he went directly to his girlfriend’s house and Big Carmen asked him if he should put the photos on Instagram or what? As the case may be, the DA all of a sudden found evidence that clears Vinnie.”

“I always thought he was innocent,” said La Flor. Then she looked into LC’s eyes, “Don’t move you handsome, muscular, one of a kind man. I feel an inspiration coming upon me.”

“Sings it sister,” said LC.

“Here goes, first line. They say we’re young and we don’t know. 

“I got the second line wit a rhyme,” said LC. “Listen, We won’t find out until we grow.”

“We’re on a roll. The third line is coming to me,” said La Flor, Well I don’t know if all that’s true.

“I’m on fire beautiful, tough, and edgy pop star, If I may,” said LC.

“Take it home, my hunk,” hollered La Flor.

“I gots the rest of the song. A sure fire hit. ‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you – Babe. I got you Babe, I got you Babe.

What will Sonny and Cher say? Sonny will be quiet, I don’t know about Cher. I’ve got to step in before they’re sued.

“I think someone already has done that song. Sonny Bono wrote the words and music,” I said trying my best to put my diplomatic foot forward.

“Impossible, Ray. We just thought of it. Let Sonny Bono get someone else’s music. LC, put some music to it,” said La Flor.

LC reached for his air guitar, He moved his hands this way and that way. “How’s it sound?”

I want to say ‘It sounds like you’re both nuts,’ but I hold my tongue.


Are You Ready For Your Moment?

Are you ready for YOUR MOMENT? No one knows when it will happen. Or, if it will ever happen. Are your READY if and when it happens? It’s takes a heap of faith, a big dream, and a heart filled with hope knowing that if you keep on working, keep on studying, keep on improving you’ll be READY. Don’t let your moment pass by. Be ready to grab hold of it with a grip so tight nothing will shake you loose. Enjoy this YouTube video where a young singer was ready for his moment when called to the stage by Josh Groban.

Lesson For Life

Wondering when your turn will come? Wondering if someone will ever recognize your talent? John Legend, the famous pianist and singer gives us a two-minute lesson on hard work, commitment, and persistence. Don’t quit on your dreams. Don’t give up when it seems all you’re doing is running in place. Keep working, keep learning, keep dreaming. It is only impossible when we quit. Enjoy John Legend’s short, but powerful lesson.