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Music. Songs. Certain songs. You know them, the ones that make you remember a specific place and a time from the past when you hear them. Every time you hear the song, you remember the same event, the same moment in time. The music brings back the very memory.

There are several songs out there that instantly put me shotgun in the Delorean for that ride back in time.

What is it about the wonder of music? One time you hear a song, you switch the station. Same song, different time, you crank it to ten, eleven maybe if you need “that extra push over the cliff.” (1)

Federal government are you there for me to fund a 250K study of why this happens? It’s a bargain at 75K under ‘robo-squirrel’ project. (2)

It was once illegal to hit the radio button when “Stairway to Heaven” played. Since then they have relaxed the laws so that it is only a rock and roll misdemeanor provided you don’t listen to a Kanye West song for more than 2 seconds after switching. Listen longer, it’s a felony  And that’s a bad rap to get.

Today’s featured song is “All Right Now” by a band called Free. Released in 1970, it’s in the top three of all-time, one-hit wonder songs, (number one on many lists.)

It IS Free’s greatest hit. Don’t believe me, name another song that’s better by Free. Don’t agree on the one-hit wonder accolade, give me a better option.

First chord, first drum beat, first vocal hits with a BANG. Charged with lyrics of sexual innuendo, a rhythmic bass and pounding drums it keeps your toes tapping and imagination flowing.

Timely vocal inserts abound. “Oh whoa whoa”, “Hey”, “Huh” , “Let me tell you all about it”, “Yeah”.

The place and the time association for this one for me is a College Rec Room with pool tables, pinball machines and a Juke Box. (3)

Pool cues tapped the floor in time to the drum beat. Guys in flannel shirts who couldn’t sing, sang. Girls in short skirts who couldn’t dance, danced. The Rec Room rocked. First chord and I’m transported in time.

Maybe you have one, one of those songs that magically moves you to a memorable moment in time. Maybe.

1- Nigel Tufnel “This is Spinal Tap”
2- Type Robo Squirrel on your favorite search engine.
3- In the 70’s, a juke box was a machine that played 45 rpm records. You dropped in a quarter and got 3 songs. Not totally unlike downloading a song now, you just couldn’t keep them forever and had to live it the moment

Trivia: Lead singer for Free, Paul Rodgers would later be the lead singer for Bad Company.

Other One Hit Wonder Nominees:
Big Country. In a Big Country
Shocking Blue. Venus
Wildfire. Michael-Martin-Murphey
Soft Cell. Tainted Love
Looking Glass. Brandi You’re a Fine Girl

Do we need all 31 flavors?
Do we need all these flavored coffees?
Should our fruit juices really be flavored with mango?
(Sorry mango plantation owners, just picked an exotic fruit).

Artificial or natural flavors?
What’s wrong with the original?
Perhaps I am mistaken, but aren’t the REAL sources of the flavor out there?

Whenever I read a label that says “new improved flavor” I become apprehensive. How BAD was the old flavor? And, just what “flavors” did they add to it to make it “improved.” Is it REALLY all the way improved or will it be even better next year?

Do you need the factory to flavor your beer with lime? There is this quite acceptable fruit out there and its called … wait for it … a lime. People, you can buy them three for a dollar. Cut them and squeeze them into your beer. Do the same for your cola drinks. Not sure how that works for nacho chips, but there are lime flavored chips out there too.

And where do they come from, these artificial flavors?
Is there an artificial plant or flower that supplies the flavors?
There is an artificial plant in my doctor’s office. It has no fruit. If it did, I’m gonna guess it has no flavor.

Artificial flavors are merely chemical mixtures used to imitate a real flavor. Mmm, chemicals, scrumptious.

I know what you’re thinking, but my drink is flavored with natural flavorings. Sounds better doesn’t it? All natural flavors. Yum.

I was curious so I went to the FDA website and looked up the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 (but I’m sure you all have done that). Are you ready for this? The 66 word definition of a natural flavor is:

“… the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

Your “natural flavor” may contain meat, leaves, or bark. Perhaps that’s why you bark at the moon when you finish that lime flavored beer.

So artificial or natural. Chemicals or bark. The choice is yours. It’s hard not to succumb to the artificially flavored frenzy of food and drink. They’re everywhere. Just read the labels and you’ll be surprised.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAWe often hear the term “growing like weeds.” The cover photo was taken just 3 days after I cut the grass this week. Weeds, they grow.

Within the next 2 weeks, both my daughters will graduate from high school and college. It wasn’t 3 days. But it went quicker than I thought.

I have this 6 foot 6 inch poster we keep in the basement where you mark off a height as one grows. The very first marks are from 1999 (which is now 14 years ago). They are a tad below my waist. Today, the grown up version looks me in the eye.

So as we go through the celebration of their accomplishments, I am sure I will be teary eyed at the events.

The message here to them (and to all I guess) is: Be proud of your accomplishments. Follow your dreams. Embrace the special moment when it happens. Get over your mistakes, learn and move on. Have fun.

Do that and you are flowers, not weeds.