Prince dead at age 57

Prince belongs with a handful of musicians who changed everything. After you heard Purple Rain (or When Doves Cry, I Wanna Be Your Lover, or Pop Life), music changed for you a little bit. It was different. Better. Richer.

Prince. His Purple Badness is dead at age 57.

From Rolling Stone:

A singular force, he famously performed, produced and wrote nearly all of his own songs at the beginning of his career and would go on to build a music empire out of his home near Minneapolis as he expanded his musical vocabulary. Four of his albums topped the Billboard 200, and the RIAA awarded 20 of his LPs with gold, platinum and multiplatinum plaques.

At the peak of his career in the early Eighties, Prince embraced acting. He starred in the 1984 blockbuster Purple Rain and would go on to appear in 1986’s Under the Cherry Moon and 1990’s Graffiti Bridge, the latter two of which he also directed. He also wrote the screenplay for Graffiti Bridge.

Prince won several awards for his music in his lifetime. His first major trophy was a Grammy for his Purple Rain album in 1984; that same year, he also won a Grammy for writing “I Feel for You,” which Chaka Khan had made a hit. The next year, he took home an Oscar for the Purple Rain score in 1985. The following year he earned another Grammy for “Kiss,” and won two more in 2004 for the songs “Musicology” and “Call My Name,” both of his 2004 album Musicology. In 2007, he earned another for “Future Baby Mama,” off his Planet Earth LP. He won several MTV Music Video Awards dating back to the mid Eighties and he won a Golden Globe for “The Song of the Heart,” which appeared in Happy Feet.

Golf has a lot of parallels with Life

jordan spiethWe love sports analogies, but many of those analogies really don’t work. In life we really do not have five power lifters to protect us from evil. In golf, as in life, you can get advice from other people but it is mostly up to you to perform. On Sunday we saw one of the best in the world in golf’s biggest tournament under perform when the pressure was the highest. Jordan Spieth fumbled the ball at the goal line.

Now, before anyone jumps on me for talking about Jordan, I really like Jordan for a number of reasons. I love the fact that he really never gives up. He is always out there trying to do better. His game is about precision and not power. For years commentators have marveled at the drives of Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson. We have been told that they are the wave of the future. Power. Jordan made all of these guys look foolish as he won the Masters and US Open last year.

In life we have those pressure moments. Sure, we don’t have millions of people watching our every move, but the pressure is on, nonetheless. Whether it is an important test that allows us to be certified as a lawyer, a doctor, a contractor or something else, it is pressure. Pressure can make us do stupid things.

On Sunday, Jordan Spieth was leading the Masters. He was struggling. He didn’t have his A game. He wasn’t hitting his targets. His driver was flaring to the right. Every now and then, his irons were also flaring. His scrambling was solid, but his putter was good. It was not red hot. He was leading by 5 strokes with 9 holes to play. Sounds easy. He bogeys 10. He bogeys 11. Now, he comes to short par 3. 150 yards. This hole is known for swirling winds, which make it hard to pick a club. The target area is small. Hit the ball short and you are in the water. Hit the ball long and you are in the bunker, which will make it very difficult to get a par from there. Seven strokes later he was staring at a quadruple bogey.

jordan masters

I have seen several folks who are very smart, but for some reason, they can’t pass the big test. They have taken the big test several times and they fall short. The track star who hits the last hurdle and loses the big race is kind of the same thing. I’m not sure why some people perform well under pressure and others simply don’t.

Here’s what I find interesting. Tiger Woods. There, I have said it. Almost no one mentioned Tiger Woods on Masters Sunday. Tiger Woods would not have lost on Sunday if he had a 5-stroke lead heading into the back 9. Somehow, he would have figured out a way to win. Once he had the lead on Sunday, it was a lock. So, how was Tiger able to handle the pressure and perform?

I think that Jordan Spieth will be fine. Rory Mcilroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler have shown that they can win on the big stage, but they have also faltered on that same big stage.

Congratulations to Danny Willett for winning the Masters. He played Jordan’s mistake-free game. He hit his targets. He played steady throughout the tournament.

I guess the take-home lesson is to take a deep breath. Slow down and don’t let the pressure get to you…if you can.

Violence in America

tamir rice

Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was playing in a Cleveland, Ohio park with a toy gun. Someone called 911 and reported that a “juvenile” was pointing a gun at passersby and that the gun was probably a toy. Two city police officers named Loehmann and Garmback arrived on the scene in separate cars. Critical information had NOT been related to them: they were not told that Tamir was a child, nor that Tamir appeared to be playing with a toy gun. It appears, however, that within two minutes of arriving on the scene Officer Loehmann had taken out his real gun, aimed, opened fire, and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

It is unclear to me how anyone, including a trained police officer, can assess a scene in under two minutes. It is unclear how a grown man can not recognize the difference between a child with a toy gun and a threatening adult. It is equally unclear to me how anyone with a conscience can ever again sleep at night after shooting a child to death. Yet two “independent experts” in police shootings stated that this police shooting was justified and/or reasonable.

In South Carolina, a female high-school student refused to leave the classroom, and security was called. The so-called “school resource officer,” Ben Fields, confronted the girl, grabbed her, and then turned over her desk with her in it, throwing her on the floor in the process. He then dragged her out of the classroom while choking her. Of course, everything was caught on a cell-phone video. Another student, who complained about her classmate’s treatment by calling out “Stop! What are you doing to her?” (or something along those lines), was then arrested for interfering. The security guard has since been fired – but was this the best way to handle a teenager?

America is simply too violent. It seems the only way we try to resolve a dispute is with a gun. Shoot first and asked questions later. It’s as if we live in the Wild, Wild West with Wyatt Earp and John Wesley Hardin, who once shot a man for snoring. Where is Wild Bill Hickok? We have to have a better way of resolving our differences.

Continue reading