Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Audience Etiquette

There have been things said on both the MMN (My Manilow Network) and the alt.fan message board on Google concerning performances on the piano and audience etiquette. Fans complaining about having to watch Barry from behind when he’s playing the piano as they were sitting to the left of the stage. Fans bragging online about cussing out “civilians” (non-fans) because the civilians asked the front row seated fans to sit down during the songs as they couldn’t see Barry perform.

Let me start off by disclosing that I was 7 years old when I began learning to play the piano. I’ve learned a lot of things along the way, and was exposed to classical piano performances, with the etiquette training included.

When you go to a concert and the artist is a pianist, this is the instrument they want to highlight. The piano is positioned on the stage in such a way as to allow as many of the audience members to see the pianist's fingers move on the keyboard. On some performances, I have seen a large mirror hung diagonally over the pianist, allowing more of the audience to also be able to see the performance. Part of viewing the performance of a pianist is viewing the movement of their hands on the keyboard.

The other part of the performance is listening to the pianist, and the lid of the piano is lifted to provide greater volume and a more rich tone to the sound as the piano is played. The lid is the top part of the piano case, covering and protecting the strings. It only lifts from the side, which is another reason why pianos are traditionally performed on with the side of the piano facing the audience.

Another reason why the piano side faces the audience is the point of view for the audience members, particularly the folks sitting in the front 6 – 10 rows in the audience. If the piano were positioned on the stage in a way for the pianist to face the audience, the large body of the piano would make it so the front part of the audience wouldn’t see the pianist at all, they would be hidden behind the piano.

Some may say Barry Manilow’s primary instrument in concert is his voice, Barry might actually tell you it’s the piano he’s playing. I’ve had the ability to sit in the audience in a spot that allowed me to view him playing the piano and he is, in my opinion, very gifted.

That said, there are some rules of etiquette that people are not remembering when they go to Barry’s concerts, particularly in the smaller venues.

1. Arrive promptly. It is rude to the performer for people to walk into the audience once the show has started. It is also inconsiderate of others who have to move to allow the late people to get to their seats. In some theaters, late audience members are not allowed into the auditorium or theater until the first set of music has finished and there is a bridge between songs before people are allowed in, if at all.

2. Turn off the media. You are not there to text or take phone calls. Turn off your devices or leave them at home. It’s distracting and rude to others (and the performer) when the performance gets interrupted by phone calls or people texting.

3. Once you are in your seat, stay in your seat. It is considered rude to others when people stand while someone is performing, and it is also considered rude to the performer if you get up and leave during a performance. Basically it is a slap in the face to the performer in the music world.

4. Some performances allow applause and/or standing ovations in between songs, some performances ask that you withhold your applause and ovations until after the full performance is completed. If the latter is the case, it will be on the program, ticket stub or will be mentioned at the beginning of the program.

These are some of the basic rules, but more can be found here:


It seems like Barry is trying to give a really classy performance in a really classy show. I’m sure Barry would appreciate it (and the civilians would as well) if his fans could also conduct themselves appropriately to the theme of the show. Barry works so hard to give all of his audience members a show to remember, it defeats his purpose if fans are being rude by standing during the songs and swearing at people in a loud voice to anyone who objects. Not only can the target of those comments hear this, but so can everyone else, including Barry.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How A Bill Becomes A Law... In The 21st Century

I'm assuming this is a new century thing, as things sure have changed since I was a kid.

Do you remember Schoolhouse Rock, with the song about how a bill becomes a law? Well, things have changed a bit since then...

Here's the link with the transcript: On The Media

And for those of you who long for the good old days...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No, Hell Has Not Frozen Over, It's Iceland


It’s almost 4:00 in the afternoon, and I’m sitting on a camping chair at a park for a picnic with my mother. It’s a nice, cool 80 degrees with a slight breeze. Mom has these picnics once a year, the last Sunday in March, with the people she used to work with.

They talk about what’s happened during the past year, who’s died, who’s in hospice, who’s children and grandchildren are doing what and where they are living. We also have some of these children and grandchildren who come, they keep the party lively. Today, we had a 3 year old who was going around, shaking everyone’s hand and introducing himself. Look out John McCain, you’ve got competition.

I was catching up with the former secretary/timekeeper for the company for a little while, she hadn’t seen me since I graduated high school, so there was a lot to talk about! Oh, and I got to show off the pictures from the Impact Awards ceremony and the picture of Barry and I from Palm Springs.

It’s a far cry from all of the explosions going on this past week in Manilowland. Just in the space of a few days there was a post from someone’s personal blog talking about an archived post being published (without the author’s permission) on the My Manilow Network (MMN).

Then another fan who posted an unfavorable review of Barry’s Friday night show, was confronted by Barry’s people at Saturday night’s show and when she refused to leave, was emailed by Barry’s management that evening informing her she would no longer be allowed to attend Barry’s concerts. Basically, she’s been shown the door.

I’ve loved Barry and his music for a long time. I remember seeing him perform for the first time while I was in high school. I did, however, take a break from Barry when I felt I just couldn’t enjoy his music anymore being surrounded by people fighting over who Barry liked better.

During that time, I moved out of my parents home, moved jobs from retail to banking while earning my AA degree and later my BS degree in Business Management. I then had to move home when my mother had a mini stroke as I couldn’t handle running two households. A few years later I met my husband and we married six months later, in June of 1998. Decker passed away unexpectedly in 2000 and my father was diagnosed with his first cancer 4 months after Decker’s death.

I had been going, and going and going, and I finally needed to take a break so I could actually grieve after my father’s death. Mom’s health has been up and down, so what time I’m not working I’m usually with her. My grief counselor suggested that I look into the things that interested me from before my marriage to see if there was something I still wanted to do. That brought me back to Barry.

It’s been 30 years, but there has been a lot of life in between all those years. My life is not consumed with Barry, I have too many things pulling me in other directions to allow me time to do that. I’m thankful for that. Barry probably isn’t, but I am. :o)

There are so many other things we should be talking about right now, but instead there are some people in the fan club who have wrapped their lives around Barry.

Here’s a few things to think about:

How many homes were foreclosed on during the time all of this was going on this past week?

How many children went to bed hungry here in the U.S. during this past week?

How many people lost their jobs this past week?

How many uninsured people died this past week whose lives would have been extended had they had basic preventative health care?

How many people died this past week in Haiti and Chile as a result of their natural disasters? Keep in mind, these people don’t have homes to go back to, and what money they have is being used to survive, not see Barry Manilow in concert. Multiple times.

How many people died from violence in the Middle East this past week? How many people are now left widowed or without one or both parents due to these deaths? Their pain will last longer than a week.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t go to see Barry, but what I am saying is we should be keeping things in perspective. There are a lot of people enduring a lot worse than missing a Barry Manilow concert.


On a side note, I did play Barry's QVC Extra CD with Nature Boy on it. My mother knew that song from her childhood and is now repeatedly singing it. Thanks Barry.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Super Couponers

I have a memory to share with this video.

When Decker and I married, we both agreed it would be in everyone's best interests for me to quit working in order to graduate with my bachelor degree faster. I did this - and ended up on the Dean's List my last full semester - and was looking forward to being a stay at home mom after graduation.

Decker would repeatedly tell me about how stay at home wives are the unpaid CEO's of the home - and it should be allowed to be reflected as such on a resume. Studies have shown this. I used to be a couponer, although, I was never this good, but I used to score big time with my couponing exploits and save some really good money on the things we actually used.

Seeing thrift like this on the video brings a smile to my face and warms my heart, because it reminds me of those happy times with Decker.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Hidden Costs of Employment

Here's a little article for those who never took Entrepreneurship 101 (I did) in college, and why companies try to go as long as they can without hiring extra help.

The Hidden Costs of Employment

This is also why public sector offices don't run as efficiently as private sector ones.

Rural Doctors

This is the side of health care you normally don't hear about, unless you happen to watch it on PBS.

Why The U.S. Faces A Shortage of Rural Physicians

You see, in our health care system, med students who go into Primary Care practice actually take a pay cut compared to those going into specialty areas of medicine. This is why so many med students are graduating to become specialists and almost none are going into Primary Care. After the cost of med school for Primary Care, it takes longer to pay for med school student loans, plus be able to handle the financial burdens of having an office staff, plus the added expense of malpractice insurance. This is also why you see so many doctors who share their practices.

The discounted rates demanded by Medicare have put a lot of doctors out of work, because they can no longer afford to run a practice anymore. The cost of malpractice insurance alone as forced a lot of OB/GYN specialists to leave that field of practice.

Things You Would Have Said

This is an interesting concept, however I personally think prayer works better.

Things You Would Have Said

Here's the article on it from CNN:

Grieving Online

For Your Reading Pleasure

Add this guy to your stupid criminals list. :o)

Police Report Attempt to Revive Flattened Opossum

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

FDR's Economic Bill of Rights

How much of a history buff are you? Franklin D. Roosevelt, as part of his 1944 State of The Union Address to the United States, gave these principles as a second, and an economic, Bill of Rights. The Europeans have parts of this in their constitutions, where is ours?

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

Too bad we can't get together as a nation to force Congress to put this on our Constitution?

Source: World Policy.org

If you'd like to see the video of this, Michael Moore has it in his movie "Capitalism: A Love Story".

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Have you ever compared yourself to others?

There are times when I look around at the sisters in my Ward and I wonder why my life has turned out so different than theirs. Many of them married (hopefully happily married), having or adopting children, working towards the life I thought I would have with Decker.

Just a little bit ago I was looking at the pictures of a good friend of mine who is my friend on Facebook. We went to high school together, and though she graduated a year before I did, I always felt towards her as she was my sister. I'm so glad we've been able to reconnect on Facebook. Again, though, I've wondered (more an awe type of wonder) at how beautifully her life has turned out.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the life I have and the uniqueness of my situation.

Then, in those promptings you don't expect, the Spirit of the Lord comes to me and whispers in my ear: "maybe you are comparing yourself to the wrong sisters. Look to the scriptures for examples of noble women who also had very different lives than the norm."

I'm just going to have to do that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Message For Congress

Particularly, this message is for Senator Jim Bunning from Kentucky.

For those of my friends who didn't see this, here is some video of what happened:

Senator Bunning is objecting to this because he states "it isn't paid for". He wouldn't listen.

Then this from CNN:

Now if you notice, he's blocking the reporters from going on an elevator that is marked "Senators Only". He's telling the reporters demanding answers that they cannot be on the elevator, and he is not answering to them. Nor is he answering to the American voter.

Here's a message for Senator Bunning: You want to talk about benefits that are not paid for? Let's talk about your health insurance. Let's talk about your pay as a Senator. These come out of the same pool of money as everything else you are blocking because "they aren't paid for". Neither are the benefits you currently enjoy, and you will continue to enjoy at tax payer's expense once you have retired.

Perhaps it's time the tax paying voters created their own Constitutional Amendment stating that the pay of a Senator will come at the vote of the people, not a vote of the U.S. Senate, as it currently is. Every year you and your colleagues give each other pay raises, is that paid for?

Perhaps we should cut your benefits, along with all of the rest of the Congress, until the budget is balanced, and it is proven to the voters that your pay and benefits are actually paid for within the approved budget. Perhaps then the citizens of the U.S. will see some action?

And for the other readers let me make one point clear: do you know who pays for that "Senators Only" elevator? Yep, We The People. It's not theirs, it's ours.