Eyes On The TV In The E.R.

Originally posted September 15, 2008

I think it’s odd that when you’re lying on a bed in the emergency room, you can watch television.

On the other hand, I’m grateful that there was something – in this case, the fourth quarter of a close football game between Purdue University and the University of Oregon – to keep my attention off what the nurse was doing to my right index finger late Saturday afternoon. The Texas Gal told me to keep watching the game. She said later that the nurse had lifted the flap of skin sliced into my finger just below the nail and was scrubbing energetically with a swab.

“If you’d seen that,” the Texas Gal told me over dinner Saturday – I ate without using my bandaged finger – “it would have hurt no matter how numb your finger was.”

Thanks to an anesthetic, however, my finger was numb. And as Oregon came back from a 20-6 deficit, I kept my eyes on the screen and was thus able to ignore what the nurse was doing to my numb digit. The same held true a little later, when the physician’s assistant was putting in three stitches.

My finger is fine. I’ll have to be careful not to bump the top of it, near the nail, for a while, and I have to put antibiotic cream on it for about a week, and cover it with a bandage if I’m going to be doing something that might get it dirty. But those are annoyances compared to how bad it could have been.

We were hanging the last picture in the living room. Actually, it’s a print of a pioneer map of Minnesota, a print that hung in the basement rec room at Mom and Dad’s for more than thirty years. About six months ago, the Texas Gal and I got a new frame for it, and at about two o’clock Saturday, we decided to hang it on the wall near the front door.

I tied wire onto the frame, hammered a nail with a hook into the wall, and lifted the frame onto the hook. We stood back, agreeing that the print looked good there. We turned away to see what else we needed to do in the living room. There was a “snap,” and we looked toward the couch to see the frame slide down the wall to the floor, where the frame separated. The glass was unbroken and the print intact.

We carefully moved everything to an open spot, and we saw that the wire I’d tied onto the back of the frame had split. The Texas Gal reassembled the frame, and then we tried to slide the glass back in, and at that point, the glass broke into four large pieces. She moved the glass to the side, and we put the print into the frame between two mats and moved the frame to a closet for safekeeping. Then, as the Texas Gal was getting the vacuum cleaner out of another closet, I turned to the glass. Just as she told me to be careful, one of the large pieces of glass shifted and sliced neatly into my right index finger just below the nail.

As soon as I felt it, I headed for the kitchen and bled into paper towels as the Texas Gal got ready to take me to the ER. We got there about three o’clock and were finished by about six. As the nurse directed, the bandage stayed on for twenty-four hours, making things awkward Saturday evening and most of Sunday. But if awkward is the worst I get out of this, I’ll have been very lucky.

Richie Havens – Connections (1980)
It’s been a while since I posted anything by Richie Havens, so I thought I’d dig into the library and see what was there.

I found a rip of Connections, a 1980 album that was Haven’s first release on Elektra/Asylum after a couple of mid-Seventies releases on A&M. Like most singer/songwriters who came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Havens’ audience diminished, as listeners followed other trends. That, and other changes, made for tough times, Havens writes in his biography, They Can’t Hide Us Anymore:

“Through most of the 1980s into the mid-1990s, I recorded several albums for a handful of companies and repeatedly found myself up against changes in management, weak distribution, and other problems of the business.

Connections was to be the first of a two-album deal with Elektra-Asylum. But as Yogi Berra is famous for saying, it was ‘déjà vu all over again.’ Just as MGM had done [earlier], Elektra fired most of its employees when the first record was due to come out, including the president. The new people distributed a few token copies to a handful of cities and buried it on the shelf. They didn’t care what was on the record. They didn’t want anything developed by the people they had replaced to do well.

“When something like that happens, there is no recourse—unless you own the label or the masters, which I no longer did. I owned the publishing rights to the songs I wrote, but not the recordings that lay on those shelves, gathering dust.”

I came across Haven’s Connections during my late 1990s explorations into vinyl, buying the first copy I saw of it in February 1999 and liking it so much that I dug around for a second copy, one in better shape, the next month.

Highlights? I love Havens’ version of “Every Night,” the Paul McCartney song that showed up on McCartney in 1970, and his take on Tom Waits’ “Ol’ 55” is good, too. More surprising are three other covers: Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” seems as if it would be over-familiar, but Havens brings a subtlety to it that makes one hear it with new ears, as it were. The same is true of his take on Bob Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight,” which Havens recorded three years before Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton turned it into a sedative that went to No. 6.

The most eye-opening track on Connections, though, might be Havens’ excursion into Stevie Nicks’ territory, covering her “Dreams” (from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours) and making it his own. That shouldn’t be surprising, of course, as he’s done the same thing over and over throughout his career.

Musicians on Connections were:

Jeffrey Baxter, Rick Derringer, Elliot Randell and David Spinoza on guitars; David LeBolt, Richard Tee and Jack Waldman on keyboards; Doug Katsaris on synthesizer; David Woodford on tenor sax; Gloria Agostini on harp; Bob Babbitt and Chuck Rainey on bass; Steve Gadd, Andy Newmark and Allan Schwartzberg on drums; Montego Joe on congas; Michael Olatunji & Co. on percussion; and Lou Christie, Clydie King, Ann Lang, Linda November and Gail Wynters on background vocals.

Mama We’re Gonna Dance
Every Night
You Send Me
We’ve Got Tonight
Ol’ 55
Going Back To My Roots
She Touched My Heart
Fire Down Below
Here’s A Song

This rip is one that I found early during my blog explorations, so I don’t know whom to thank.

Richie Havens – Connections [1980]


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