Electric Guitar Star Spangled Banner – Who Did It the Best?

The best, IMO, is Joe Satriani. He just nails it. Everything is perfect. He captures the essence of the song. He nailed it in front of 50,000 people outside at the Raiders Colliseum.

Zakk Wylde form the Ozzy Osbourne Band is amazing and fast. It’s a metal version and awesome.

Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock is the most creative. It really captures the American society during the Vietnam War. It was a time when the country was torn in two parts.

Ted Nugent is excellent….and nuts.

Slash’s version is very tight. His cords are deliberate and sound great.

Santana’s version is very somber and I love it.

Honorable mention is an unknown solider in the Middle East playing his version:

Honorable mention Jeries Alfeih in San Francisco with his own unique version.

James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica is good, but man, if James Hetfield say….now that would be something.

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When Your Thoughts Start Working Against You

If you think about your life, most of us feel that we’re not there yet:  career, relationship, status, money.

Our minds are clouded by the 1%.  I call this the life lottery people.  Our minds, the Greeks called this the ego, second guess everything we do.  The reality is that it’s not as simple as putting in the work.  A lot of stars must align.  I’m not saying that you can’t be successful.  Everyone can be successful.  I’m just saying that you can’t be Bill Gates because Bill Gates was in the right place, at the right time, with the right idea.  And….no one has invented a time machine.  What he did is in the past, so it’s too late anyway.

But how about feeling good about what you have or who you are?  Not feeling good enough has been a driving force for many of us.  It’s forced us to work harder, but does that really get us ahead?  The real question is “Ahead of what?”

The obstacles we create in life.  No one in your life can harm you more than your thoughts can harm you.  You may think your mother, brother, neighbor, co-worker are your biggest problem.  They’re not.  It’s your thoughts about these people that can make you unhappy.  You may have a poor relationship with one or more of these people, but it’s thinking about it that makes us miserable.  It’s rare that these people are out to get us.  Ironically, they probably think you are their problem.  These thoughts, in conjunction, is what creates animosity and forces these relationships into a downward spiral.  How do you stop this?  First you stop thinking about it.  The easiest way is to come to the realization that what’s happened is in the past.  You can not change the future either.  You can only change now.  Can you make it right with this person?  Maybe?  Maybe not?  If you can’t just move on.  Drop the problem and move forward.  Some problems never get solved b/c they’re not real problems.  They are problems we create for ourselves to suppress the real problem.  Only you know what you’re real problem is.  If you ignore that, you’ll always look for something else to be unhappy about…a distraction.

So can you fix these relationships?  Probably not.  The reason being is that you can only control how you think or feel about a person.  They may never get past that.  I will guarantee when you put you feelings and thoughts down, so does your angst about the person.

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The Secret Success Behind the “Guardians of the Galaxy” Soundtrack

What is value?  Value is when the benefit exceeds the underlying cost.  Get it?  Valuable?  It’s the reason something very expensive may not be valuable.  It may cost more than it’s worth.

Guardians of the Galaxy went gold.  It is a marketing perfect storm:

  • Successful movie.  Without a successful movie it would be hard to succeed at this level.
  • It’s contagious.  Chris Pratt values his mix tapes so much, he’s willing to die for them.
  • Who buys music?  Not millennials.  They’re streaming music.  It’s us relics from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

So what’s the biggest reason people buy the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack? It’s the emotional connection.  It makes people feel good.

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. Hooked on a Feeling Blue Swede 2:52
2. Go All the Way Raspberries 3:21
3. Spirit in the Sky Norman Greenbaum 4:02
4. Moonage Daydream David Bowie 4:41
5. Fooled Around and Fell in Love Elvin Bishop 4:35
6. I’m Not in Love 10cc 6:03
7. I Want You Back The Jackson 5 2:58
8. Come and Get Your Love Redbone 3:26
9. Cherry Bomb The Runaways 2:17
10. Escape (The Piña Colada Song) Rupert Holmes 4:37
11. O-o-h Child Five Stairsteps 3:13
12. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell 2:29


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Finding Your Purpose

I was moved by this video on Youtube about Nisargadatta Maharaj – Awaken To The Eternal.

His teachings seem very similar to Christs.  The common thread is the enlightenment.  Christs’ teachings have resonated for so long because his Crucifixion left an imprint on the people he influenced that has resonated over 2,000 years later.  Unfortunately, his teachings have filled the space where earthly power exists……that has existed since mankind made the big evolutionary jump.  It has been converted to the same thing that all dominant past religions were….mostly a dominant system.  It’s inherent in our human-ess.  We can’t not remove it as long as we identify with our egos…what makes us human  It’s part of us the process.

When you can look at something that is “good” and believe it is nothing and something “bad” and believe it is nothing…you’re there.  You can allow everything outside of you to pass through you without creating a mental fingerprint.

“You want what you don’t have and you have what you don’t want.”  If you can flip that, you can move past it.  What you have is you and that’s good enough or perfect.  What you don’t have is a void in your mind.  The void is completely mental.

Identification – Everything we say and do contributes to our identity.  An earing or tattoo puts us in a group of people.  Being a good business person places us in another group.  Without fighting, we need to strip that away.  Only you know, in your heart, the intentions of what you do.  A good result with an untrue intention sets you back.

Your religion tries to help you.  What we do unintentionally is brain wash our children into believing something.  Instead we should teach our children to know what they see.  Teach to learn, not hard code them.  It’s what we knew before we could understand.

Helping people.  If you’re helping people to make yourself feel better or to place yourself in a higher esteem, you are hurting yourself. You create a buffer between who you are and the real you.  Are you two people?  No, but you are two things.  To feel poor is the same as to feel rich.  Both are rooted in creating an identity.

When you are pure of heart, everything comes from a place that does not think.  Nothing is premeditated.  You do (and do not do) things for the right reasons.  These reasons are in line with your true self.

If you are happy at your core, you do not need to search for anything.  Don’t screw with that 😉

My goal is to bring awareness to everything I do in my life.  Then I will see who I am and what is my path.

Things that sound good, but fuel our ego:
“I’m trying to be a good person, here”.  You can’t try.  Only be.  The ego is powerful.  The ego gets results.  Again, good results from untrue intentions pushes you away from who you truly are.

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Programmer or Problem Solver

It’s a trick question because the answer is both.  If you want to be a good programmer, you have to be a good problem solver.

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You are not You. Weird…but true.

Let’s start at the end and work our way back.  When you die, what happens to the energy that gave you life?  Nobody knows.

Let’s strip ourselves down to the basic.

First layer – Our bodies, which are made up of our  brain, skin, hair, arms, legs and all the other body parts and organs.  

Next layer – Our lives, which is our situation.  The people around us – family, friends and everyone else that knows us.

Next layer – Our possessions – Our glasses, clothes, car and everything else we own.

These  layers make up our identity.  Everything that comes in contact with our, is part of our identity, especially our thoughts.  We exist in our present form (enter your name) b/c we recognize ourselves.  This is reinforced when other people recognize us.  It’s so real that it’s the only thing we can believe.

Ever wonder what the world is like without you?  Sure, a few people will remember you.  If you’re in the history books, your memory lives a little longer.  Most of us disappear after three or four generations.  I, personally, do not know any of my parents’ grandparents.  Not even their names.

The strongest proof that we exist is being alive.  I just don’t buy that when we die, nothing is left.  I believe the thing that gave us life continues.  It’s not something that has a beginning or an end, which is why we can’t comprehend it.

You may say that I feel this way b/c I’m afraid to die.  I don’t want to die today, but I do not fear it.  We die for a lot of reasons.  I hope mine is because I’m old and after I’ve lived my life.

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Biz Stone on Succeeding….Where Others Fail

Twitter just had an amazing IPO.  Ironic because all the press was saying that Twitter was over valued, but it managed was up 73% above their initial offering price.  Not sure if Twitter is worth $30b today, but what is true is that the team that created Twitter is very rich now.  I’d like to share some advice from Biz Stone.  He’s a billionaire now and is feeling generous with his advice.

“If I had one piece of advice to tell an entrepreneur, I always say, you have to have emotional investment in what you are working on……..You can’t just be working on something because you think other people will like it. That’s a huge mistake. The big thing I learned at Odeo was you have to be emotionally invested in your work or failure is guaranteed.”

Long story short, you have to really, really care about your product and your customers.  What’s remarkable about Twitter is that they held off the Googles and Facebooks who tried to start competing services.  Twitter won because they kept getting better.

Want more….read my blog post about Bo Peabody and the difference between being good and gettting lucky.

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Death – Thought of the Day.

“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die” — and find that there is no death.”
― Eckhart Tolle

We get attached to the world we live in, the life we create for ourselves and the people that are important to us.  This is what makes death such a difficult concept.  Letting go without knowing what’s waiting for us is stressful.  Most of us just ignore the subject of death, even though we all go to funerals and we all end up there.

What does not add up for me, in death, is that we’re fine dying when we’re old and broken down; but not fine with it when it’s childhood cancer.  How is a child dying make any of us feel better about death.  It’s something I struggle with.  I don’t think I’ll live to be ninety, but the concept of my premature death is not an idea that I can entertain.

Is our life like a trip to the store.  When you get home, it’s in the past.  The only trace of evidence that it happened is my memory.  If you wipe that away, did it happen?


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Want More Responsible Kids?

Make them work. I’m not saying to throw them in a coal mine, but responsibility is a good thing.   You should exercise it from a young ago.   It’s not only going to make your life easier, but it’s good for your kid.   Of course, just like anything in life, you need priorities:  family, school and homework come first.

Here is what they stand to gain:

  • They interact with adults and gain experience and confidence.
  • Understand the value of a dollar.
  • Appreciate their parents more….who work five days a week.
  • Since they’re younger, people do not give them a hard time when they mess up.
  • Less hours in front of the TV and video games.

I think too many parents are putting their kids in “La-La Land.” They think by doing everything right, their kids will get the advantage and succeed in life. It’s not what you do for your kids. It’s what they achieve on their own. This is the real world reality.

This is the premise behind Lemonade Day.  Encourage your kids to sell things.  Take them to work with you.  The defacto kid job:  lawn work.

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IRS Red Flags for Income Tax Return Audits

Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond, Ltd. shares insight on IRS red flags and audits in IRS Red Flags For Income Tax Return Audits.  Read the article for a more detailed explanation, but here are the red flags.  In of themselves most of these are perfectly fine.  It’s how you use them.

  • Income Level
  • Charitable Contributions
  • Report All Income
  • Self-Employment
  • Put Business Before Pleasure
  • Home Office Deductions
  • Business Use of Vehicle
  • Be Careful With the Earned Income Credit
  • Avoid shady tax preparers
  • Be Careful With State Returns

Kutchins, Robbins & Diamond, Ltd was a Chicago 101 Best and Brightest companies to work for in 2011.

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