HEY HEY VA!!

imagesVSo….here we go. Another spoke in the big wheel of playing therapeutic healing music for patients. This time it’s the VA facility here in Denver and another step in trying to bring a little joy and ease the pain for those who have done so much for us for so little thanks.

Honestly, it feels like a very strange tradeoff, walking into a patients’ room with my guitar and offering to play my little tunes to someone who put his life on the line in a strange country in order to make folks like me feel safer here at home. On top of that, with all the negative news that has swirled around the VA this last couple of weeks, I begin to wonder if my timing isn’t totally upside down and after all, shouldn’t listening to someone play “healing” music be a little further down the priority list in the minds of these patients right now?

imagesoldvetOh well, I hope Tennyson wont mind if I steal some of his lines and go forward with the idea that, “Ours not to reason why, ours but to do or die” might be in order. I’m not sure if that’s exactly what Tennyson wrote or had in mind but you’ll get the idea. One thing is for sure, my feelings in all of this don’t amount to much. These men (and women) have put a hell of a lot more on the line than I have, and one thing seems common in a great many of them. In times of loneliness or heavy stress, many will turn to music just to ease the inner pain, or maybe just pull away from reality a little bit. Some will put the head phones on to escape, others will pick up the closest instrument that’s handy to bang away on a little bit, and still others might find their own form of escapism in writing their feelings down in song form on a piece of paper. Any way you look at it, it’s music, it’s therapeutic, it helps them through a long day and I’m going to use it to help in every way I can!

 

indexvetThere’s something else I need to mention here. Every week on a new blog, I always offer to feature anyone or any organization on this post if they have something to say that might be relevant. A week ago, I was contacted by an organization who calls themselves W W I N or Wounded Warriors Impacting Neighbors. This worthy organization knows and understands the feelings of esteem and self worth that can be attained by having a steady job and so their mission is to solicit the help of any organization who might be able to put a Veteran to work and regain their confidence and a spot in the community

They are local, at 6446 E. Hampden Ave. Suite 250, Denver CO and the contact person is Sarah @ 720 279-8044. This is an organization trying to do the right thing for Vets and they are worthy of your support.

While we’re at it, allow me to say a huge THANK YOU to all those of you who have contributed so generously and allowed me to get started on this journey. To all those of you who are thinking about donating some money to this worthy cause, please allow me to say thanks in advance for anything you can do. IT WILL BE APPRECIATED!

To make a 501(c)3 tax free donation to help Rod Taylor play therapeutic, healing music for needy folks, please mail your check to;

Our Musical Heritage
C/O Denver Musicians Association
1165 Delaware St.
Denver, CO 80204-3607

At the bottom of your check in the memo line, please write, Rod Taylor CMP fund.

That’s it! Have a great week everybody! Send me those comments and critiques. If I can use them I certainly will.

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 5/21/2014 5:11 AM | Add Comment

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Springtime in Denver..Yeah Right!

BrrrrThere’s nothing that quite compares with Colorado in the springtime. Beautiful balmy days, the whisper of new life as the birds build their nests and call to each other across the balmy breezes while we, the privileged ones bask in the sunshine and thank our lucky stars that we’re allowed to live here in paradise. NOT!!

Right now, as I look at the thermometer on my balcony, the temperature says 34degrees, it’s snowing, the roofs on all the houses are white, and the squirrel who lives in the tree outside my living room is on the phone with his travel agent trying to book a flight to anywhere he can get warm! Poor little guy…somebody probably told him the weather in Colorado was gonna be perfect and now he has icicles on his little skivvies! Supposedly we’re going to get three feet of snow up in the mountains, oh well…that’s Colorado in the springtime!
imagesThis week, the only thing colder than springtime in Colorado is Cliven Bundy’s political career. Poor Cliven, he went from being Nevada’s number one deadbeat rancher and Fox News political darling, loved and revered by conservatives everywhere, to Nevada’s number one cowboy deadbeat and despised political pest that everyone wishes would just go away…period! The only thing in the universe that might have lower current approval ratings than Cliven, would be the congress of the United States and it’s orange tinted leader (and I use that word loosely,) John Boehner.

This week Boehner, who normally moves about as quickly as glaciers melt, got it in gear and announced a brand new and exciting congressional investigation committee (number 14 I believe) to find out once and for all, what the hell happened at Benghazi and by God, this time we’re gonna get the truth out no matter what! Since I hadn’t seen a proper name given to this committee and since Republicans were jumping all over this puppy to raise some money, and in a charitable effort to boost Cliven Bundy’s tanking political ratings, I decided to name it the; ClivenBundyLatest&GreatestBenghaziPoliticalInvestigationSubCommitteeHearing&PoliticalFundraiser or, CBL&GBPISCH&PFR for short! Kind of makes your heart flutter doesn’t it?

McCain1Unfortunately, this week, another case of political heartburn came screaming to the surface when it was revealed that returning Vets who needed, and had been promised, prompt medical treatment were being caught up on the endless treadmill of red tape, denial and delay that seems to occur all too often at various branches of our VA. Unfortunately for some, one of the most egregious examples of this neglect was revealed in Arizona and the Senator from Arizona who promptly got himself up in front of a TV camera to vent his rage was non other than our past presidential candidate, John McCain.

I don’t know about everyone else but John McCain always reminds me somewhat of Mr. Magoo, the nearsighted cartoon character who spends his life falling off tall buildings and marching into oncoming traffic only to be saved by chance or circumstance or whatever else comes along that saves people from things like that! Whatever it is, it’s Karma and McCain seems to have plenty of it! Can he do anything about the sorry situation at the VA? I doubt it. Will he make a lot of noise before marching into an open elevator shaft? No Doubt! Will that be the last we’ll see or hear of him? Probably not, …and the beat goes on!

One last thing. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has shown an interest, or sent a check to help cover me and my music practitioner expenses while I try to bring some brighter days musically to those who could really use them. Thanks gang! I really appreciate your efforts!

To make a 501(c)3 tax free donation to help Rod Taylor play therapeutic, healing music for needy folks, please mail your check to;

Our Musical Heritage
C/O Denver Musicians Association
1165 Delaware St.
Denver, CO 80204-3607

At the bottom of your check in the memo line, please write, Rod Taylor CMP fund.

That’s it! Have a great week everybody! Send me those comments and critiques. If I can use them I certainly will.

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 5/14/2014 4:22 AM

Veterans, Hurry Up and Wait!

imagesfilesSo here it is, the beautiful month of May, springtime in all it’s glory. Finally, it’s time to put away the parkas and snow shovels and heavy clothes and drag out the cutoffs and Jimmy Buffet shirts and begin thinking about all things summer!

As I said in my most recent post, this summer I have decided to put my brand new Certified Music Practitioner certificate to work somewhere I think it will do the most good and let the money end of things take care of themselves….sort of.

The “somewhere you think it will do the most good” part isn’t too hard to find. It’s in every hospital in this town and all the other towns where those who need your help the most, can afford it the least. While we’re at it, why not stop by and take a look at the Veterans Administration where a great many of our nations young men and women started their adult lives doing the honorable thing by signing up to serve their country in combat on foreign soil. Now, following those nightmarish years, they spend long hours cooped up with with their combat buddies in some stark, bare room on little rickety folding chairs in an overburdened VA hospital waiting for treatment to aid their recovery from battle scars they certainly didn’t ask for.

imagessoldierPlease don’t get me wrong, I’m not dogging the VA. It’s just that your heart breaks when you see all these people looking for an answer from overworked and sometimes underpaid staffers who quite frankly, may not have much of an answer to give. The old phrase, “war is hell” is just as true now as it’s ever been, and the fact that a great many people, veterans included, eventually turn to their musical instrument of choice in order to give vent to their feelings is no accident. It’s been going on for centuries! Music is funny that way!

As most of you know, down through the ages, even biblical times, music has has been looked upon as a healing tool. Kind of a metaphysical escape hatch to soothe the mind and ease the pain when reality feels like it just might be a little too heavy a load for one person to carry. Classical composers used music to unburden their hearts and it’s been going on forever as a balm, a soothing salve to cover emotional scars and we all use it today in different ways to carry us away momentarily from problems we’re just not quite ready to look in the face.

This brings me to the present moment and why I chose this particular direction to try to bring healing music to many folks who need it, can’t afford it, and what you might be able to do to help me change that.

My decision to try to bring music to these people was met with the same old money problem that’s been around ever since time began. If I hired on with a medical facility who could afford me, would I be maximizing my training? Or, looking at it the other way, if I maximized my training, would I go broke playing in places that can’t afford me? Here’s the answer I came up with;

I’m asking all my friends out there who know of someone in a hospital right now or someone who is having a rough time overcoming the traumatic experience of combat to dig down and help a little bit. No, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage on the house or sell your car, but if you have a few bucks you can spare to help cover the costs of helping these folks get back on their feet and get a fresh start, it sure would be appreciated.

To make a 501(c)3 tax free donation to help Rod Taylor play therapeutic, healing music for needy folks, please mail your check to;

Our Musical Heritage
C/O Denver Musicians Association
1165 Delaware St.
Denver, CO 80204-3607

At the bottom of your check in the memo line, please write, Rod Taylor CMP fund.

That’s it! Have a great week everybody! Send me those comments and critiques. If I can use them I certainly will.

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 5/7/2014 4:48 AM

A Change is Gonna Come!

MusisiswhatFSL5“A change is gonna come,” is a song released into the music marketplace fifty years ago in 1964 by singer-songwriter, Mr. Sam Cooke. If Mr. Cooke could still be with us, I believe some folks today might say the change he’s talking about is ‘way overdue and needs to get a move on! Since we’re talking about changes, this might be the time and place for me to write about a few changes of my own.

As you may recall, I recently graduated a course provided by an organization entitled MHTP in order to become a Certified Music Practitioner. My graduation was a welcome thing simply because I have an intense problem with books and boredom and although I may not have Attention Deficit Disorder, I’m close enough to it to have shaken hands with it a few times!

Graduation created some problems for me. Not that I wasn’t ready to go out and apply for work, it’s just that all the time I had been studying to become a CMP, I had also been quite diligent in building up a very nice, stable clientele in the local retirement communities where I work as a seniors entertainer! Not only that, but I have become friends with a good number of these folks and giving up on them now, in order to begin something new is just not cool! It would be a stab in the back to those folks who have become friends and are there every time I show up. I just can’t do that!
imagesvetThe problem seemed to manifest itself in two important ways. Time and money. The time problem was obvious. Everyone I spoke with who could possibly use me even on a part time basis, also wanted to put me on call in case they needed me to fill a slot for someone. The problem with that idea was that it would cut into my retirement community schedule and I have already stated how I felt about that.

The second problem is money. Everywhere I have been, people have expressed a need for therapy music in a “healing” mode, especially Vets and those suffering PTSD. The problem is, finding facilities with the money to pay for it! In the small segment of Denver I have managed to cover, the story is almost universal, those who need it the most can afford it the least! This led me down the long, twisty, “Wizard of OZ” path looking for the wiz, only my wizard isn’t the guy behind the curtain, my wiz is called MONEY and the never ending lack of it!

The solution to my problem came, as they have many times, from a totally unexpected source.

I was at the Musicians Union office moaning and groaning to the president, Mr. Pete Vriesenga, about my woes and seeking advice about what it might take to start a 501(c)3 non profit organization. This would be necessary in order to legally solicit tax free donations from outside sources that would provide me with enough income to apply my teachings where I felt they would help the most and do the most good. His answer was short, simple, and and to the point.

“Forget about starting your own non profit organization. The Union already has a 501(c)3 entitled “Our Musical Heritage” with all the necessary filing done and office backup already in place!” Start here and if you’re successful, someday you can set up your own. You know, sometimes life does throw you an ace or two, and I can’t thank Pete and the Union enough for jumping in, and for all they’ve done!

So, this is me for the first time in my life publicly coming out and asking for money in order to play my music to help and heal. I’m doing this for those who can’t afford it and can really, really use it. No doubt you will hear about this from me until you’re sick of it, but all I can do is ask, and so here goes;

If you would like to make a 501(c)3 tax free donation to help Rod Taylor play therapeutic, healing music for needy folks, please mail your check to;

Our Musical Heritage
C/O Denver Musicians Association
1165 Delaware St.
Denver, CO 80204-3607

At the bottom of your check in the memo line, please write, Rod Taylor CMP fund.

That’s it! Have a great week everybody! Send me those comments and critiques. If I can use them I certainly will.

Thanks again
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 4/30/2014 5:43 AM

BIRDS OF A FEATHER STICK TOGETHER!!

ClivenBundyAlBundy

This week, the whole TV watching world got treated to a slice of political pie by two of it’s more stalwart citizens, Cliven and Al Bundy. First up is Cliven, a deadbeat cattle rancher from Nevada who says every blade of grass his cows have been munching on for twenty years should be free since it doesn’t belong to anybody anyway. Number two is Al, deadbeat shoe salesman from Chicago who claims that fate cruelly robbed him of his rightful place in history because he did throw four touchdowns in one game and now he’s serving a life sentence selling shoes at the Mall! In order to make sure that fair and balanced reporting of this story gets to see the light of day, it’s being covered by those paragons of TV news broadcasting, Fox News and news sleuth, Shawn Hannity. Hannity says he’s going to see to it that no stone gets left unturned on this one and just because Cliven Bundy is a deadbeat, how dare the mean old government send the BLM out there to seize his cattle and collect their money!

0f2ce1f0989011e0906812313b10052dsmallHere’s where the plot thickens. The government says Cliven’s been a deadbeat 20 years and says he owes them somewhere in the neighborhood of a million bucks for their grass! Al on the other hand, says he doesn’t recognize the government or their grass and hasn’t bothered to pay his taxes to the IRS ever since he married his wife Peggy. This was when he was robbed of his blossoming football career and became a shoe salesologist at Gary’s Shoes. Adjusting for inflation and any other legal wrinkle he can hide behind, he probably owes the government upwards of twenty bucks by now and if the government wants it, they’re just gonna have to come down to the Mall and get it! Fox News has remained strangely silent on this story and offered no opinion.

Cliven says he has no idea who’s grass his cattle are eating but he’s quite sure it doesn’t belong to the government or the BLM and for sure he doesn’t recognize any of them so they can put their million bucks where the sun don’t shine and he’s not gonna pay without a fight! Al on the other hand, says the only way he gives a rip about paying taxes or Cliven’s cattle would be after they’ve been processed and transformed into his favorite tubed meat product, “Weenie Tots! Personally, he’s a lot more interested in what the centerfold of this months issue of “Big’uns” looks like and by the way, did you know he once threw four touchdowns in one game? Somehow, that one-of-a-kind sports highlight slipped past and got totally away from, the guys at Fox News!

imagesfballBy the time this weekend rolled around things had escalated somewhat. Cliven and his buddies had run the BLM gangsters off, declared victory, made some more “drop your guns” demands of the county sheriff, and had their status raised to domestic terrorists by Senate Majority leader, Harry Reed!

Obviously, Cliven’s supporters liked being called domestic terrorists so they showed up Saturday night for the free Bar-B-Que armed to the teeth and ready to shoot anything that moved! Since there wasn’t a whole lot left to shoot at but a few grasshoppers and prairie dogs, they kept their big signs up and wore their flak jackets and other armor just in case one of those prairie dogs wanted to put up a fight!

Meanwhile in Chicago, Peggy Bundy, (the former Peggy Wanker) said she’d be happy if Al wanted to be her domestic terrorist, but she wished he’d do his terrorizing more than one Saturday night per month! Al didn’t pay too much attention either way because his own domestic terrorist group, the gang from “NO Ma’am was getting ready to go down to the “Jiggly Room” and do a little terrorizing of their own! Fox News missed that story entirely!

So there you have it, the tale of two domestic terrorists named Bundy, Cliven and Al. I don’t know what Hannity is going to do with this story, but my new book, “Nutcases with Guns,” will be showing up on the news rack of a grocery store near you any day now! Get ’em while they’re HOT!

As usual, send me your comments and critiques. If I can use them I certainly will.

Thanks and have a great week everybody,
Rod

Posted by All Around Seniors at 4/23/2014 5:51 AM

Better Living in Boulder

BoulderMeridianThis week I took another trip to Boulder which meant another run up the gauntlet of the repair work on highway 36 and another assault on my poor little car. The destination was another first for me and, as it turns out, another one of Boulder’s stellar retirement communities named Boulder Meridian. This just happens to be the place where Theresa Reed coordinates the activities and she is the one making sure that I show up ready to entertain and make the residents happy!

As you drive along the humps and bumps of the Boulder Turnpike your mind goes back to a time when the pioneers first put everything they had on the line and joined wagon trains heading out first across the prairies and then the rocky mountains to find the promised land on the other side. Or, even before that when Lewis and Clark ventured out to find a pathway to the great ocean in the west and used the services of a young Indian girl named Sacajawea to guide their expedition across this huge, unending wilderness. I wonder if she knew that the men on this expedition were getting paid 23% more than she was, and that the work she was doing wasn’t considered valuable enough to warrant equal pay for protecting the lives of the men she was guiding? How about this? Move the year up to 2014 and the characters of Lewis and Clark are replaced by a couple of our more “conservative” presidential candidates, and Sacajawea wants to talk about woman’s equality in the work place? Can you imagine the response? Can you imagine what that response would be if those “conservative” candidates also found out that a few thousand of Sacajawea’s relatives were also sitting on the other side of the hill? I’ll bet they’re glad she wasn’t overly emotional! I wonder why they didn’t ask for her birth certificate?

I know I’m being silly, but sometimes silly ideas have their day, and this week when politicians of all stripes were sitting around on their fat behinds, expounding on, and judging the value of, women in the workplace, your imagination goes wild and sends silly messages to your brain that tend to get skewed, and it’s not long before they take on a logic of their own. Even so, I can’t help but wonder how a good many present day hospitals and care facilities would even function if it wasn’t for the Sacajawea’s of this world and all the other dedicated women who come to their jobs every day and make miracles happen. When you meet them, please look them in the eye and say Thank You. Maybe that will make up for all the politicians who don’t seem to know how.

The world I work in currently, has a great many more women than men holding down the fort and making sure that seniors in retirement communities enjoy living their lives in a wholesome environment that inspires both mental and physical activity. Women are making sure these are places where each person’s life is treated with respect and dignity which, after all, is what we want, right? I ask you this. If everybody’s Mom is so important, why are we allowing them to be cared for by people we don’t want to pay equally and offer them the dignity and respect they deserve? Something’s wrong with this picture!?
So that’s it. If you’re not into considering women as equals in our workforce, then don’t bother thinking about Surpreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Sonia Sotomayor, or Diane Feinstein or Billie Jean King or Eleanor Roosevelt or Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi, or another zillion women not mentioned here who have made their mark as well. Last but not least, let’s not forget the original trailblazer, Sacajawea!

Will Rogers once said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts!” If Mr. Rogers could be here and watch the circus we’ve got going on today, he probably wouldn’t be able to stop laughing long enough to write anything down!

As usual send me your comments and critiques. I’ll read them all and use them if I can.

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 4/16/2014 3:45 AM

Money Doesn’t Talk…It Roars!!

imagesmoneyRecently, the Supreme Court of the United States sent a little message home to those of us who thought we were living in the land of the free and the brave where every honest person who can get up and go to work in the morning has an equal shot at the brass ring. That’s true. One person, one vote and all that. It’s just that, now, if you have a lot of money, or if you work for a group or corporation willing to spend a lot of money to buy more than their share of equality, the door to that equality is wide open and the Supreme Court says “Come on in!” How equal are you? Depends on how much money you have doesn’t it? Thanks a lot Supreme Court!

During our recent presidential election campaign, one of the candidates said at a political rally that, “Corporations are people my friend!” Hell, he wasn’t a candidate, he was a prophet, and his words never had greater impact than they do today! For the Exxon’s, the Koch Brothers, Citizens United, even WalMart, our Congress has just turned into their private piggy bank and Jack and Jill Citizen have just been thrown into a fight they’ve tried to avoid for years and no longer can.

Campaign finance laws go back at least a hundred years when our government first became leery of large corporations and their ability to influence politicians. Fancy that huh? Later on in 1947, the Taft Hartley act was born in order to restrict influence peddling by large labor unions and other entities. Still later in 1971, the Federal Election Campaign Act was born so that all citizens great and small felt that their vote meant something and each had an equal slice of the pie in deciding Federal Elections. This week, the Supreme Court of the United States threw the whole thing out, opened the hen house door, and let the wolves in with the chickens!

1Timothy 6:10 said “For the Love of money is the root of all evil” and that’s never been truer than it is now. The big money monopolies who already own certain politicians are wielding their power and telling them where and how to reshape and suppress voting in their districts. How equal are you going to feel knowing that the slimy tentacles of the mega rich can reach into the smallest cracks of your city government, your city council, your school board, and yes, even your churches. No one is immune. Down through history it’s been proven time and again, no one escapes money’s insidious crawl and we’ve already had graphic examples right here in Colorado of what lust for money and power can bring.

Common sense in many areas, just as in gun control, is at present, among the missing. After the Sandy Hook massacre, the President and others made common sense proposals that might have curbed the growth of illegal gun ownership in the United States. No sooner had those proposals been made than the powerful NRA lobby with all their millions of dollars shouted down and intimidated any and all politicians (even had a couple of them recalled right here in Colorado) who had a counter proposal to offer.

Our Vets returning from two unnecessary wars are burdened and left untreated with a myriad of ailments by a VA that is understaffed and underfunded. This means that we now have a country full of mentally unstable veterans and a country full of loose weapons. It’s only a matter of time to see who will resort to gunfire if they’re pushed because, in their present condition, that’s what they know and understand. Another case of big money talks and the powerless public just listens.

That’s a short synopsis on the Supreme Court’s rape of our campaign finance laws and to tell the truth, it’s left me a little angry and disgusted. The only real weapon we have left against this mountain of financial power and might, is the right to vote and some states are trying to restrict that. I hope everyone gets out and uses their weapon wisely. Good luck!

As usual send me your comments and critiques. I’ll be sure to read them all and use them if I can.

Have a great week everybody,

Thanks again,
Rod
Posted by All Around Seniors at 4/9/2014 3:00 AM