Elvis and the Pandemic

Two songs sung by two Elvis’s are my go-to’s during this Pandemic. Both speak of driving through hard times with hope around the corner. They acknowledge the pain while seeking the future.  And my favorite part.  You can belt them out with a beer in hand after a hard day.

The first one is from that other Elvis, and truth be told my favorite Elvis – Elvis Costello.  Unlike his other hits, he did not write this one (Nick Lowe did) but Elvis does the best rendition – “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding” . For you have not hear it, here is the official version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssd3U_zicAI.

I once listened to this song on repeat at least 20 times after a hard week.  The first verse and the chorus tell the story:

“As I walk through this wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity
I ask myself, “Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred and misery?”

And each time I feel like this inside
There’s one thing I wanna know
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?
What’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?”  Lyrics Nick Lowe

Every time I read a friend attacking another friend on Facebook in some political fight or hear about the loss of another brave soul I ask myself the same question in the first verse. But then catch myself and realize that the peace, love, and understanding lies within me. Our soul longs for peace. We just need to cling to it and understand that everyone carries pain. It is up to you to bring inner peace, to show love to your friends and enemies, and understand the pain and hope of others. Rise to the occasion, extend a hand and be the peacemaker.

The second song is by the THE Elvis – Elvis Presley. This song was sung for the first time in Elvis’s Comeback Concert in 1968 at the end.  It was written by Walter Earl Brown and came 2 months after Martin Luther King’s assassination.  It also contains some MLK quotes.  Only 5 at the time, I still remember it.  Here are some of the words. 

“There must be lights burning brighter somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true,

Oh why.

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun appear

We’re lost in a cloud
With too much rain
We’re trapped in a world
That’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly”

The Elvis’s sang the truth!  What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love, and understanding?  Absolutely NOTHING!  Is there a light shining brighter somewhere? It is in our grasp.  If we choose to live, love, learn and lead!  

Here is my attempt at channeling Elvis.

Not Elvis but maybe not bad. Be the brighter sun! 

Why Not? I’m Singing in the Woods!

sunday morning comingIn my last Weight Loss blog, I spoke about the two essential questions to answer when losing weight Why? and Why Not?.  Here is a link to that one if you want to take a look.  Why and Why Not? – Two Key Questions for Weight Loss   In that blog, I described your Why Not? in the following terms:   “Your Why Not is to do something that you would never have thought to do.  It needs to be big to push you forward. ”  I forgot to add one other element.  Your Why Not?  does not necessarily need to be big to drive you forward.  It also can be crazy to keep you going!  That is especially the case with one of my Why Not’s that I call Singing in the Woods (and sometimes rain or at least mist!).

I love Karaoke and singing in general.  It reduces tension, relaxes me and therefore can defuse stress eating and lower cortisol.  Now when I want to belt something I belt out a tune!  I do this with one of my favorite applications Sing by Smule.  This app allows you to Karaoke with other people in real time and record it.  I have sang songs with people all over the world from France to the Philippines (I am particularly a hit in the Philippines where one of my duets trended for several weeks).

Now the only thing a little bit crazier than singing with other people you do not know is to do it on the Brushy Creek Trail on Sunday Morning just before the sun is breaking.  But that is exactly what I did one Sunday after an especially difficult work week and a hectic Saturday filled with work and family obligations.

I could not sleep that well so as day was breaking, I took my headphones, Iphone and Sing by Smule and went to the woods of Brushy Creek to commiserate with some friends and uplift with others.  I first while walking by the lake sang a song with a lady from Kentucky that was particularly fitting Sunday Morning Sidewalk, sang by Johnny Cash.  It starts off with “Well I woke up Sunday Morning with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt …  You get the picture.  The chorus goes “On a Sunday Morning Sidewalk, I am wishing Lord that I was stoned (in my case, I wanted a Krispy Cream).

After that song and getting it off my chest, I decided it was time to sing something uplifting.  So I took to the Meditation Labyrinth in the woods (I checked to make sure no one was around), and found some of my Christian friends in the Philippines.  I sang “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe and “Above All”.  There with the son breaking in the sky on a glorious Sunday morning under God’s watchful eye all was right with the world.

So the next time you are feeling blue and want to give up, instead get crazy and ask Why Not?


Dance the Night, Stress and Weight Away!

One thing that seriously impacts your fitness and your health is the reduction of stress. One of the things that I love to do to relieve stress and get a little exercise in to boot is to dance and Karaoke. These are two of my favorite past times and one week I got to do both of them.

Our team  had an informal outing to see and hear one of the musical institutions in Austin the Spazmatics. This group plays some of the best 80’s music that I have heard. It brings me back to my college years when I danced the night away to Hammer time, Devo, the Romantics and assorted new wave music.  Believe it or not, I had parachute pants at one time and could do a mean rendition of “Can’t Touch This”. At the time, I thought the music could not live up to my teen years filled with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. But it has! Anyway back to the story.


We all had a great time dancing to the music and ended the night at the Karaoke club were we had another classic, song contest. The time was a great way to get over some of the stress of the work week. And beyond that, it was a fantastic way to get exercise. I broke my record for the earliest time to get 10,000 steps done pictured below. Over 10,000 steps before 2:30 AM. It also helped my fitness that I forgot where I parked! This dancing extravaganza and car search also put me over the top in meeting my goal on JIFF, a health App that works with company fitness program.   I got 1,200 points on my company Accenture’s fitness program and earned a free Amazon Prime. I now get to watch NYPD Blue while working out on the Elliptical!



What are the key points for all those trying to get more active?

  1. Exercise does not have to be drudgery on a treadmill.  There are many ways to move and get your steps in!
  2. Life is too short not to dance.  Work hard but play hard also.
  3. Singing is good for the soul but also for the body.  The next time you feel beat, belt out a tune.  Here is me singing a Christmas song with a twist written by one of my Weight Watcher friends in Texas.

Life’s fun and attractive when you’re Active!