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May 10, 2015 / thackersam

May 10 – Winehouse Wins By A Nose

Amy & LindaHere’s the workout line-up as it stands now, I just have to get it back up to 4-5 times a week for the full routine: Aerobics – Santana and Rob Thomas’ “Smooth” twice and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Stand,” “Dance to the Music,” and then “Higher” twice. Variations may include setting up and warming up (laying out the mat, making sure I have water, going to the bathroom and stretching and moving) to Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good,” “You Don’t Matter Anymore” and of course “Faithless Love” from Heart Like a Wheel, or, but not both, if I’m particularly peppy, I will add Sly and Family’s “You Can Make It If You Try.” For the next two sections of the workout, the matt stuff which incorporates some yoga movements with leg lifts, those elbow to knee things, and since it’s how I started this whole routine, the legs against the wall, with breathing and chanting, and then up on my feet for some work with the weights (still haven’t got anything heavier than 3lbs, but the arm muscles are coming along nicely) and stretching various body parts, I play Amy Winehouse. The whole Back to Black CD. I’m still that bowled over, and it is for that reason that she has come out ahead of Linda Ronstadt’s best of CD as the go to in what has now become the standard exercise routine and the music that goes with it.

A capitalist friend (I’ve got a couple) once criticized Linda Ronstadt for the career choices she made stating that if she had stayed in the mainstream he would be able to talk to his kids about her, but they don’t know who she is. Personally, I see a woman who was willing to risk criticism or alienation to pursue endeavors that made her happy. But to some, money and fame trump self-fulfillment. I did not follow her career when she was singing the songs of her heritage, which were quite popular with a demographic that would not include my capitalist friend, nor did I see her on Broadway in Pirates of Penzance, and only saw the movie when it hit TV. She was a big hit on the stage and was perfectly fine in her role, but Kevin Kline was pretty freakin’ major. Just sayin’. At the age of 68, the multi-Grammy winning Ronstadt can no longer sing due to her Parkinson’s disease, but we have plenty of mighty impressive work to remember.

With Amy Winehouse, we don’t have that big library of covers and duets, not to mention Ronstadt’s work with Emmy Lou Harris and Dolly Parton, but Winehouse hit the wow button over and over in her short life. As I get older, with health issues and those of people close to me, plus losing dear friends and other contemporaries, I think about death more and more. It fascinates me more than frightens as I am pretty darned sure that there is something after we die. Don’t know what it is, but I do believe this current life is the afterlife of another. I’ve kind of always accepted reincarnation, it’s comforting and fits well with my practical sense of recycling. So when I think of someone like Amy Winehouse, I don’t think of where she will go, but where she came from. Has she been destined to be that attention-grabbing character that’s here one moment, making sure everyone knows of his or her existence and remembered for the impact they’ve made, and then is gone before you know it? Maybe she was Billie Holiday or James Dean in a past life, or perhaps 19th century poet John Keats in a life before that. For me, I don’t want to seem like an ingrate, or a deserting rat, but when I come back next time, I’d like it to be on a different planet. But for the time being, Amy Winehouse won the coveted spot in my exercise routine, by a nose, by a hair and/or by a wisp of eyeliner over Linda Ronstadt. I thank both women for their assistance in my physical well-being during this lifetime.

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