What Does Elvis Presley Mean?

Elvis Presely playing guitarMost Americans and music lovers worldwide acknowledge Elvis Presley as “The King” of rock and roll. But some people have no idea who Elvis Presley is or what it means to be “The King” to millions of loyal fans.

This is what I learned from Cindy, the foreign exchange student from China that I hung out with for a few weeks.

I was taking a class on multi-cultural competency as part of the process towards my master’s degree in counseling. Our instructor, Vince Noble asked for volunteers to escort foreign exchange students and ease their transition into the USA. He may have even offered extra credit, I can’t remember. But I volunteered and was paired up with Cindy from China.

One day, Cindy and I went an art show at Cal State Long Beach. There were many paintings and several rooms filled with original art pieces created by students. We came upon a portrait of Elvis Presley. I admired the creativity of the piece. Cindy pointed at it and asked, “who is that?”

I was stunned. It was as if my life was flashing before me. I could not imagine how to describe who Elvis was. He is so many things to so many people and I couldn’t imagine what the world, or at least my world, would be like without him.

I managed to mumble out some answer about how Elvis was a rock legend and I hummed a few bars of Blue Suede Shoes and Jailhouse Rock to see if it would ring a bell.

Nothing.

I was speechless.

I had been slapped aside the head once again and reminded that just because I have an experience or a social construct built up around a certain object or person, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this, assuming the person you’re talking to knows something when really they don’t; assuming that everyone knows all the same things you do?

Story is Editable

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Music and the Brain – Free Podcasts on iTunes

If you’re a music freak like me, you have found that rhythm and beats are more than just a form of entertainment.

Listening and dancing to music can be healing to the core. A series of podcasts by the Library of Congress explores the power of music and how it interacts with the brain.

Music and the Brain

Use sound and brainwave technology to reach guru-like meditative states, try Holosynch from Centerpointe Research.

I Used Punk Rock and Hip Hop Lyrics in My Toastmasters Speech

Words and environment impact your life. In this speech from the Toastmasters manual, The Entertaining Speaker, I outline a musical anthology of my life from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. Influences include weekly immersion in Soul Train, Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, Rapper’s Delight by Sugar Hill Gang and People’s Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm by A Tribe Called Quest.

In the 80’s there was fun to be found in the punk rock scene. Songs mentioned and sung in this speech: California Uber Alles and Police Truck by The Dead Kennedys and New Dreams by Naked Raygun. I finished up with my theme song: Galvanize by The Chemical Brothers with Q-Tip on vocals.

Warrior Woman Workout Playlist

Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated for your workout. Especially if you feel bad about your body or you’re in boring surroundings. I have a cure for you: The Warrior Woman Workout Playlist.

I’m warning you, this music is extremely high-energy and you will probably notice a difference in your body right away as you listen. Rather than drag your body unwillingly and lethargically through your 30 minute workout, why not glide like a gazelle or command your space like a warrior (or warrior princess).

This playlist will help set the tone for just that type of workout. I was on the treadmill at 3.0-5.0 miles for about 42 minutes with these tunes and I had a rockin’ good time. The majority of the time I was jogging, I only used the fast walk for warm up and cool down. All links go to iTunes.

Propellerheads Decksanddrumsandrockandroll I started off with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (feat. Propellerheads) – Shaken and Stirred – The David Arnold James Bond Project This really set the tone for feelin’ a little James Bond meets Samantha Stevens. I was ready to raise the roof after this one. The song is 9:20 so it’s almost ten minutes of total starpower. Here are the songs that followed. I was in the zone!

Demons by Fatboy Slim

In Britain – Punk and Disorderly (Deluxe Edition)

Bodhisattva Vow by Beastie Boys

You’ll Never Change Me by Chron Gen

Drop That Thing by Groove Armada


Teenage Kicks by The Undertones


Annalisa by Public Image Ltd.

Cool down song:
Believe it or not, Playpen by Social Distortion. This band is kinda “slow/fast” I imagined one of the slow mosh pits I used to see develop at their live shows.

As a side note, many of the samples that iTunes chooses for these songs is the set-up leading to the intensely fast part, don’t let that fool you.

Stay Positive by The Hold Steady on DJ GAL-VanIZed Jukebox

I learned a lot about people, life, power and music by being involved in the punk rock scene throughout the 80’s. The scene was relatively small compared to everything else that was going on in mainstream metropolis so you would usually see the same people over and over again at shows and it was pretty common to hang out with the people on stage after the show. The musicians and the fans had very little separation or distinction.

I have first hand experience seeing everyday blokes get high in the garage in the daytime and stand on stage in the night time. Some of them painted houses by day and played for admiring fans at night. They usually didn’t get much sleep or even have a place to sleep and food was somewhat of a luxury. I admired their determination and was entertained by their music but I didn’t really idolize them as people because I knew they were the same dudes who were dope sick in the morning and threw their smelly socks on the floor.

Stay Positive

Musicians are just people who are really creative and determined and many of them are humble enough to know that. They want to make a mark on their listeners and they want to be a spark of light for the youth. Now that the youth of the 80’s are old enough to have kids and grandkids, some long-time musicians are aware of their influence and their staying power and the ability to use music to teach and preach.

Stay Positive by Hold Steady is about that aspect of music and musicians, the undying and uniting force of music and music culture that gets passed on from generation to generation.

Read Lyrics to Stay Positive by The Hold Steady

I’ve got a lot of old friends that’re getting back in touch
and it’s a pretty good feeling yea it feels pretty good
I get a lot of double takes when I’m coming around the corners
and its mostly pretty nice its mostly pretty alright
’cause most kids give me credit for being down with it
when it was back in the day
back when things were way different
when the Youth of Today and the early Seven Seconds
taught me some of life’s most valuable lessons

There’s gonna come a time when the scene’ll seem less sunny
it’ll probably get druggy and the kids’ll seem too skinny
there’s gonna come a time when she’s gonna have to go
with whoever’s gonna get her the highest
there’s gonna come a time when the true scene leaders
forget where they differ and get ‘big picture’

cause the kids at their shows, they’ll have kids of their own
the sing-a-long songs’ll be our scriptures

We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive

Musical Interlude

When the chaperone crowned us the king and the queen
I knew that we’d arrived at a unified scene
and all those little lambs from my dreams
well they were there too

’cause its one thing to start it with a positive jam
and its another thing to see it all through

and we couldn’t of even done this if it wasn’t for you
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive
We gotta stay positive

—–

An iPod allows you to fit 1,000’s of songs in your pocket; whereas a Jukebox stays in one place and your selections are limited. What would you do if you only got to choose 52 songs to put on your iPod? What would the list include?

Jukebox Mary

Toastmasters Theme: Your Favorite Music for Holiday Cheer

I was recently the Toastmaster of the day at Agape Toastmasters and it was only a few days before most major December holidays. Since I’m such a music freak, I chose the topic “Your Favorite Music for Holiday Cheer”.

I created a playlist for the meeting on my iPod and brought my speaker doc to the meeting. At various points throughout the meeting I would play a snippet of music that was holiday oriented and coincided with something else going on in the meeting.

Our Table Topics master, Rhonda Fields was great about integrating music into her table topics of the day which included:

1. “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light. From now on our troubles will be out of sight…” What would it be like to have your heart be light this Holiday season? What creates that lightness for you? Are there any troubles that you would put out of sight?

2. When you were a child do you remember your senses reacting to the holidays? Please share with us any smells, sounds, songs, images that you remember and how you felt about them?

3. What can you tell us about Rudolph the Reindeer’s background, his relationships, that glow thing going on with his nose – and anything else you know that might give us the true story about him…

4. If heaven and nature were to sing – as they do in the lyrics of the song “Joy to the World”– what would that look like, feel like, sound like to you…

5. If you were the God-parent to a 5 year old child who had not been around music much, what holiday song might you teach them to sing with you and why? What would that be like for you?

6. The first time you heard the lyrics to “Jingle Bells” – where might you have been? What was your world like at the time? How did you feel about that song, or any holiday song – and what was it like to be you back then?

7. If you were to pick a subject for a new holiday song that might open your heart, what would it be about? Tell us more about that song – the lyrics, the sound, the feeling…

8. If you could create the sounds, smells, images of a holiday afternoon that personally brought you joy, no matter what the rest of the world was doing – what might that be like? Please tell us about it…

9. If you could have a well-known singer, or any other person, (dead or alive) sing a holiday song to you, who would that be? What song would you choose? What locale would you choose and what would that experience be like for you?

10. In the lyrics from “The Christmas Song”, we are told: “Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe help to make the season bright. Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow will find it hard to sleep tonight.”

What might make the season bright for you? What makes your eyes all aglow? Has there ever been a holiday season that was brighter or more “all aglow” for you – and why?

I’d like to use music again next time I lead table topics. I was thinking I could play a snippet of music and speak some lyrics to get the topic started then let the unsuspecting Toastmaster get creative and add her/his own twist to finish it off. Have you tried using music in your table topics or speeches? If so, let us know about it.