Since yesterday was Father’s Day in the United States, today’s Music Monday celebrates the special bond between dads and their kids.

There are many songs that capture this unique relationship, but a song that was always powerful and poignant to me was one of Paul McCartney’s lesser known pieces: Put it There. Released in 1990 as a single to McCartney’s 1989 album, Flowers in the Dirt (affiliate link), the song reached number 32 on the UK singles chart.

flowers-in-the-dirt

McCartney’s eighth solo studio album, Flowers in the Dirt was considered a major return as its release inaugurated his first world tour since his Wings Over the World tour in 1975/1976. The album’s musical quality was widely celebrated, earning McCartney his best reviews in years.

I share the same thoughts as those reviews, having always found the album beautifully written and masterfully performed. Notably, the album has added meaning because I attended the April 1, 1990 show of the Paul McCartney World Tour at UC Berkeley‘s California Memorial Stadium. I even found a setlist from the concert (complete with links to YouTube clips of each song performed)!

Having always found “Put it There” a touching tribute to a unique father/son relationship, the track took on added meaning when I became a dad to my two sons. If you listen to the lyrics (and/or read them — they are included below), you will understand the sweet, yet understated emotion of what the song is communicating: unconditional love.

Sometimes, as the song explains, simply having someone to hold your hand can fix any problem — or at least make you feel better while you confront it. Shamefully, the importance of fathers is often overlooked, but at least in my experience, my father (and, in fairness, my stepmother too) has made all the difference in my life recently.

In my own experience, knowing someone is unconditionally in my corner has made all the difference. My grandfather filled that role for me and I plan to do the same for my sons. Surely as they grow older their problems won’t be as easily resolved as they were as they are as children, but knowing they are loved and supported without question will always be essential to their well being.

Although my connection with my Dad was, unfortunately, interrupted for several years, I am grateful to have a renewed relationship with him. I am also thankful my sons can “put it there” — not just with me, but with my Dad as well.  Likewise, I look forward to continuing this tradition with my son’s children in the future.

And so, if you are thankful for your father, put it there!

Put it There Lyrics

Give Me Your Hand I’d Like To Shake It
I Want To Show You I’m Your Friend.
You’ll Understand If I Can Make It Clear
Its All That Matters In The End.
Put It There If It Weighs A Ton,
That’s What The Father Said To His Younger Son.
I Don’t Care If It Weighs A Ton,
As Long As You And I Are Here, Put It There.
Long As You And I Are Here, Put It There.

If There’s A Fight I’d Like To Fix It,
I Hate To See Things Go So Wrong.
The Darkest Night And All It’s Mixed Emotions,
Is Getting Lighter Sing A Song.

“Won’t you please, won’t you please, Please won’t you be my neighbor?”

Today’s Music Monday was inspired by a viral video currently making the rounds — from PBS of all places: “Mister Rogers Remixed: Garden of Your Mind” by Symphony of Science’s John Boswell.

The video is a tribute to the iconic show Mister Roger’s Neighborhood — which was created and hosted by its namesake Fred Rogers. Mister Rogers was always intriguing in his own unique way, but he was never this cool!

The video, which was originally uploaded on Thursday, June 7 to the YouTube account “PBSDigitalStudios,” had already received more than 1.4 million views by the end of Friday, June 8 (and had reached more than 3.4 million by the morning of Monday, June 11) — that’s viral! Someone has even already registered the domainGardenOfYourMind.com!”

How did this video come to be? Here is a bit of background on it (from the video’s page on the PBSDigitalStudios YouTube Channel):

“When we discovered video mash-up artist John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep, on YouTube, we immediately wanted to work together. Turns out that he is a huge Mister Rogers Neighborhood fan, and was thrilled at the chance to pay tribute to one of our heroes. Both PBS and the Fred Rogers Company hope you like John’s celebration of Fred Rogers’ message. This is the first in a series of PBS icons remixed.”

Mister Roger’s NeighborhoodFor those who remember watching Mister Rogers as children, this video has special significance. The show initially aired in 1968 and rand for 895 episodes, with the final episodes having been filmed in December 2000 and airing the following August. It reached its peak viewership in 1985, when 8% of households in the United States were watching the show.

For those less familiar with the show — and even for those who are, but who might appreciate a walk down memory lane — here are some fun facts about the show and Fred Rogers (courtesy of Wikipedia):

  • Each episode began with Mister Rogers coming home, singing his theme song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?“and changing into sneakers and a zippered cardigan sweater.
  • In a typical episode, Mister Rogers might have a conversation with his television audience, interact with live guests, take a field trip to such places as a bakery or a music store, or watch a short film. Typically, each week’s episode explored a major theme, such as going to school for the first time. He even break-danced!
  • Each episode included a trip to Rogers’ “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” featuring the ever-famous trolley with its own theme song, a castle, and the kingdom’s citizens, including King Friday XIII.
  • Mister Rogers often fed his fish — originally named Fennel and Frieda — during episodes.
  • Originally, most episodes ended with a song entitled “Tomorrow”, and Friday episodes looked forward to the week ahead with an adapted version of “It’s Such a Good Feeling.” In later seasons, all episodes ended with “Feeling.” Speaking of the song “It’s Such a Good Feeling,” consider this unique cover of the classic Mister Rogers’ song.

“Would you be mine, Could you be mine…”

Given that it’s Memorial Day in the United States today’s Music Monday post is the appropriately titled song “Memorial Day” from the album “Going Out in Style” (affiliate link) by one of my favorite bands — Quincy, Massachusetts’ own Dropkick Murphys:

Of interest: the album on which this track appears, “Going Out in Style,” is a concept album combining the band member’s experiences and family folklore into the story of a fictional character named Cornelius Larkin.

According to the band’s bassist/vocalist, Ken Casey, “Cornelius has passed on to the other side, and the album becomes a retrospective of his life”.

If you’re not familiar with the band and their unique sound, Dropkick Murphys are an Irish-American Celtic Punk band that formed in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1996. Quincy was also the birthplace of former U.S. Presidents John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams, in addition to statesman John Hancock.

It is also adjacent to Braintree, Dropkick MurphysMassachusetts — which is where I lived for the first three years of my life.

As for the band, you might be familiar with their 2004 single “Tessie” — an EP release (affiliate link) which was their first and one of their biggest charting singles.

The original song on which it was based is the longtime anthem of the Boston Red Sox. The Dropkick Murphy’s EP of the song was used as a fan anthem for the Boston Red Sox historic 2004 and 2007 World Series victories.

If you’re not familiar with “Tessie” you have almost certainly heard the popular track off of “The Warrior’s Code” (affiliate link) and one of the band’s biggest singles: “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”

Notably, this song was featured in the Academy Award-winning movie “The Departed“(affiliate link). It is also frequently used as an anthem for Boston sports teams.

Wishing you a wicked pissah Music Monday!

If you believed they put a man on the moon…

Today’s Music Monday is inspired by celestial events that occurred yesterday evening: the “ring of fire” solar eclipse! What was this?

According to an article about this event (which hasn’t happened since 1994), ” the moon will cover up to 94 percent of the sun at the eclipse’s peak, leaving a bright ring of light – called an annulus, which means ring-like — around the moon’s disc, NASA scientists said.”

I experienced the eclipse near my home in Southern California and, while I couldn’t actually see or get detailed pictures, the sun was significantly dimmer and, unsurprisingly, the temperature was much cooler than the near 100 degrees it had felt like prior to the eclipse. One of my photos follows below:

Solar Eclipse Over Suburbia #3

“Skyshine #Eclipse”Interestingly, although I was unable to see the eclipse, I can partially make it out in a refraction in the picture to the right (which I posted via Instagram).

Just as this “ring of fire” eclipse hadn’t happened for 18 years, the next one also won’t occur for quite some time: 11 years from now in 2023. As explained in a Reuters article, the extended time delay between these events is due to a phenomenon that requires a particular set of orbital dynamics.

Some additional information from the Reuters article: “An annular eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit is at its furthest point from the Earth and closer to the much larger sun. That juxtaposition allows the moon to block more than 90 percent of the sun’s rays when the two orbs slide into alignment in space.”

The eclipse was quite a captivating and compelling event; something unique that brought people together.  Social media was abuzz with information and imageryTwitter search is a great way to virtually experience the solar eclipse while viewing a variety of photos and videos documenting it.

In celebration of this unique and engaging event (and the memory of something personal that occurred on this date), the classic 1980s power ballad “Total Eclipse of the Heart” seemed like an appropriate selection:

Written and produced by Jim Steinman and recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler for her album Faster Than the Speed of Night (affiliate link), the song was first released as a single in 1983.

The song is Tyler’s biggest hit reaching number one in the United States and several other countries, making her the first and sole Welsh singer to reach the top of the Billboard Charts.

Maybe for the next lunar eclipse I will feature “Moonshadow” by Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) — or perhaps “Moon River?” 😉

A classic proverb states that two heads are better than one, so in that same spirit, two songs must be better than one. Accordingly, today’s Music Monday presents a double header.

David ByrneToday’s first selection is “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads. This was chosen to celebrate the 60th birthday of David Byrne (who co-wrote it with Brian Eno, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth).

Originally released on February 2, 1981 as the first single from the Talking Heads’ fourth studio album Remain in Light (Affiliate Link), the song has since received critical acclaim. Notably, it was named as one of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century by National Public Radio (NPR).

The song is existential in meaning, especially with the main refrain asking “And you may ask yourself / How do I work this? / And you may ask yourself / Where is that large automobile? / And you may tell yourself / This is not my beautiful house! / And you may tell yourself / This is not my beautiful wife!”

I believe this song tells the story of a man finding himself a foreigner in his own life; having having accumulated a certain degree of wealth and comfort, yet feeling fundamentally unfulfilled.

At the same time, it is also a recognition of that discovery and the possibility of progressing towards a positive change it represents.

For quite some time I related to the first part of this song — I felt like that man. But then, after some self discovery, I took responsibility for my choices and changed the direction of my life. As a result, I am now heading positively “into the blue again/after the moneys gone.”

In an unrelated yet equally interesting TEDTalk, Byrne discusses the influence of architecture on musical composition. He offers compelling examples of various types of music throughout history such as African music, classical music, opera, jazz, rock, hip-hop, and nature itself.

Today’s second selection, “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” by The Beatles, celebrates the 28th birthday of Facebook Chairman and Mark ZuckerbergCEO Mark Zuckerberg. The song was featured at the end of  the Facebook-inspired movie The Social Network (Affiliate Link).

Long before Facebook was programmed the song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded on May 11, 1967 (45 years and 3 days ago). It was originally released as the B-side of the single “All You Need Is Love” and was also included later that same year on the US album Magical Mystery Tour (Affiliate Link).

Beyond the convergence of Zuckerberg’s birthday to today’s date, Facebook is representative of my aforementioned change of course and journey into the blue again (see Once in a Lifetime).

Personally, my life has been both challenged and enriched by Facebook (and social media in general). Professionally, now almost all of the courses I teach include elements of social media directly or indirectly.

One course — MGMNT X 460.394, New Media Marketing at UCLA Extension — provides an overview of leading social media tools including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.  If you’re interested, an online offering of this course begins on July 5, 2012 — you can enroll online here!

Fittingly, and in thematic accordance with this song, later this week, once Facebook’s IPO takes place, Zuckerberg will need an even bigger brown bag in which to keep all of his money. Netting at least $21 billion in stock might just be the best birthday present ever!

Although Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, whose struggle with Zuckerberg was portrayed in The Social Network (Affiliate Link) and who has renounced his US citizenship, might just get the last financial laugh as his renunciation of his citizenship will likely save him tens of millions of dollars in capital gains taxesor will it?

Baby, those are rich men!

Sometimes music makes the moment.

If you’ve ever earned a degree you have most likely celebrated your achievement by parading to the music of a rousing march while dressed in a cap and gown en route to your waiting diploma. But, what is that march called? Today’s Music Monday explores and answers this for you.

The march you almost always hear is one part of a series of marches composed by Sir Edward Elgar that is most commonly referred to as “Pomp and Circumstance.” More specifically, the “Trio” portion of Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D (also known as “Land of Hope and Glory“) is the part of the composition to which graduates traditionally march.

Video of Elgar conducting a performance of it follows:

Why did I feature this piece today? For starters, this is the time of year when graduates celebrate their achievements by enduring commencement speeches of often questionable candor.

I also chose this piece because on May 7, 2005 I participated in graduation ceremonies for my MBA program at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA (although I completed the coursework in August 2005).

Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA -- Graduation Ceremony with then Woodbury University President Dr. Kenneth NielsenNotably, while earning my MBA at Woodbury University I also received the “Outstanding MBA Scholarship” award in the process.

My time at Woodbury was incredibly formative — equal to if not more so than my undergrad years at UC Santa Barbara — because experiences in and out of the classroom compelled me towards my current career as an educator.

Despite being one of the oldest business programs in Los Angeles (Woodbury was founded in 1884 as Woodbury Business College) it is lesser known than other Southern California schools. But I believe there is sometimes strength in smaller stature.

Case in point: my experience as a bigger fish in a smaller pond was one I could have never experienced at a larger school. And, I believe, it was precisely because of my more personalized engagement with professors that I took the first steps necessary to get where I am today.

Specifically, it was due to the direction of Satinder Dhiman, Ph.D., Ed.D. — a Professor of Management and Accounting, Associate Dean of Business, and MBA Program Chair — that I submitted my first academic paper to a conference.

The paper, “Intranets: Catalysts for Improved Organizational Communication,” was accepted by the International Academy of Business Disciplines (IABD) and was published in Vol. X (pp. 221-225) of the organization’s Business Research Yearbook.

Over time I would go on to attend nine such conferences and publish eleven papers! I look forward to future opportunities to publish and present.

Through my participation in these important events I perfected my presentation style and learned about the inner workings of academia. I remain friends with many people I first met at academic conferences and treasure the relationships I share with these unique individuals.

Given my experience, I encourage those of you evaluating educational programs to first consider your goals in enrolling and, second, the overall experience you might enjoy. Don’t buy on brand name alone so to speak — consider the holistic education you will receive during your matriculation.

One of the most important lessons I have learned about learning is that it is often less important what school you went to than it is what you got out of that experience and how you applied the knowledge you gained after graduating. Often the School of Hard Knocks is the best teacher of them all — Steve Jobs is proof of that!

At the same time, wherever you go, consider a degree that is universally recognized and understood — or one that is at least directly related to your reasons for having pursued higher education. That is one of the reasons I chose an MBA program and not others that I was considering.

In closing, for those of you graduating this year I congratulate you. For those of you just beginning your journey I applaud you.  And, for those about to rock, I salute you!

One of the reasons I enjoy being a teacher is that, in ways large and small, I can make a positive difference in the lives of others — just as many of my own teachers have done for me. Today’s Music Monday investigates this idea.

For me, one teacher — Professor Eloise Hay — who I only knew briefly in 1996 during my last class at UCSB made an impact on me, though I wasn’t initially aware of her influence when it happened. (I was too concerned with graduating).

William BlakeIt was in this class — English 40, English Literature 1800 to 1900 — that I was first introduced, at least academically, to William Blake.  Since then I have always felt an emotional and creative connection with Blake, and his imaginative interpretation of humanity.

My interest in Blake inspired me to launch “WilliamBlake.com – Cybersongs of Innocence.” While it has not yet evolved into the resource I envisioned, I hope to eventually expand it into a user-created Wiki (as time and resources allow).

Why I mention this is that it was on this date  — April 30, 1996 — that Professor Hay died of inoperable brain cancer. Although I only had her for that one class, and never knew her beyond the 12 weeks of my last quarter at UCSB, I remain grateful for the opportunity to have learned about such a wonderful craftsman of creativity as William Blake.

One of Blake’s more famous works is a short poem titled “And did those feet in ancient time”  which can be found in the preface to his epic 1804 work Milton a Poem, one of his collection of Prophetic Books. Today this short piece is more commonly known as the anthem “Jerusalem” — for which, in 1916, Hubert Parry wrote the music to accompany Blake’s words.

The theme of the poem is that, during his lost years, Jesus travelled to (what is now) England and visited Glastonbury. The song is a popular English anthem and is performed at various events each year — including the April 29, 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton (another coincidence and reason why I share this song on this date).

Although I am not religious, I appreciate the works of Blake and find the song based on his poem inspiring and uplifting. There are many versions of it available online, but I selected a more modern version of it as performed by the English rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer below:

For reference, the text of Blake’s poem follows:

And did those feet in ancient time.

Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land.

To blog, or not to blog: that is the question.

Edutopia: Teachers Shake Up Shakespeare with Digital MediaSince William Shakespeare died on this date in 1616 — and is widely thought to have been born on the same date in 1564 — it seemed fitting for today’s Music Monday post to shine the spotlight on the famous Bard of Avon.

After some searching, I discovered the TEDxTalk Video below that features hip-hop artist and founder of of the The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company, Kingslee “Akala” Daley.

While not entirely music in the true sense of Music Monday, in the video, Daley connects modern hip-hop music with Shakespeare’s melodic rhymes and also discusses the wider cultural debate about the power of language.

Similarly, a recent Edutopia article titled “Teachers Shake Up Shakespeare with Digital Media,” explores how teachers are now using digital technology and social media to help their students understand and embrace Shakespeare. In response to a subject students typically bemoan as boring, they are eagerly creating raps, podcasts, and short films.

According to the article, “Teachers are finding that allowing students to emulate the playwright and make the text their own gets them more excited to learn the plays…Having students perform is the key to learning Shakespeare effectively, and video and audio tools enhance that performance for today’s learners.”

Given the above, it is only fitting to proclaim: if music be the food of love, play on!

Sometimes you can say more with music than you can with words.

In that spirit, I am today launching a new feature on this blog in which I will showcase a musical selection on Mondays appropriately titled Music Mondays.

Cover of the Carmina Burana Score (Showing the Wheel of Fortuna)Due to the nature of my schedule, there might not be an entry here on every Monday, but whenever the mood strikes, there is some thematic relevance, or some especially poignant purpose in doing so, you will find music here for your aural enjoyment.

This selection — the opening movement of German composer Carl Orff‘s “Carmina Burana” — is a “scenic cantata” and is based on 24 poems from the medieval collection Carmina Burana.

This piece — which deals with the idea of fate (fortuna) — was chosen because today is the 60th birthday of Bill Belichick, the head coach of my favorite NFL team, the New England Patriots.

According to his official biography on the Patriots website, Belichick, who is in his 37th season as an NFL coach, is:

Bill Belichick (Darth Hoodie) Prowls the Sidelines“The only head coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowl championships in a four-year span. He currently ranks 10th all time with 177 total victories as a head coach. His winning percentage of .639 ranks third in NFL history among coaches with 150 or more wins, trailing only George Halas (.682) and Don Shula (.666).”

How’s that for good fortuna? Of course, there have also been struggles, but, Belichick took a team from the bottom of the NFL and made it a championship contender. This piece is also played at each Patriot’s home game as the players enter the field.

Lastly, Belichick casts a rather “ominous” presence while on the sidelines during games and, due to his frequent wearing of hoodies, has often been called “Darth Hoodie” (a reference to Darth Vader).

And so, without further adieu, here is O Fortuna for you to hear: