Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – Parrots, Hamsters and Polo Mints.


What’s in a name?
Late one night, a burglar broke into a house that he thought was empty. He tiptoed through the living room but suddenly froze in his tracks when a loud cried out:

“Jesus is watching you.”

Silence returned to the house, so the burglar crept forward again.

“Jesus is watching you,” the voice boomed again.

The burglar stopped dead in his tracks. He looked around frantically. In a dark corner, he spotted a bird cage and in the cage was a parrot.

“Was that you who said Jesus is watching me?” he asked.

“Yes”, said the parrot.

The burglar breathed a sigh of relief, then he asked the parrot: “What’s your name?”

“Clarence,” said the bird.

“That’s a dumb name for a parrot,” sneered the burglar. “What idiot named you Clarence?”

“The same idiot who named the Rottweiler Jesus,” the parrot replied.

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Opera for peanuts
A man went into a bar and said to the bartender, “If you give me free drinks all night, I will entertain your customers so much they will stay all night and drink lots and lots.”

“Oh yes,” says the bartender. “How are you going to do that?” The man gets a hamster out of his pocket and puts it on the piano. The hamster runs up and down the keyboard playing the greatest piano music anyone had ever heard.

“That’s incredible!” says the bartender. “Have you got anything else?”

The man gets a parrot out of his other pocket and puts it on the bar. The hamster begins to play the piano again and the parrot sings along – sounding just like Pavarotti. Everyone in the bar is amazed and stayed all night drinking and listening to the hamster and parrot.

The bartender is delighted.“I must have these animals. Will you sell them to me?” he asks.

The man shook his head no. “Will you sell just one then?” asks the bartender.

“OK, I’ll sell you the parrot for $100” the man says.

The bartender is delighted and hands over the money.

Another man standing next to the man who owned the hamster said, “You’re a bit stupid selling that clever parrot for only $100”. “No I’m not,” the man replied. “The hamster is a ventriloquist”!!!

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In court
A prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman, to the stand. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?”

She responded, “Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you
since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big
disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot
when you haven’t the brains to realize you never will amount to
anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.”

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across
the room and asked, “Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?”
She again replied, “Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he
was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he,
too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted,
he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal relationship with anyone
and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes,
I know him.”

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called
both counsellors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace,
“If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for
contempt!”

10858001_10152908615806740_9051095730437155016_nMile High Club
The aircraft was on its final approach and after making his announcement to the passengers, the captain forgot to switch off the PA system.

‘As soon as we land I am going to have a cold beer and then make passionate love to that red-headed flight attendant.’

The flight attendant in question was shocked and began a hurried dash to the cockpit before anything else incriminating was revealed.

She was in such a hurry that she tripped over a suitcase sticking out into the aisle and fell in a heap. A little old lady leant over to her. ‘No need to rush dear,’ she said, ‘he said he was going to have a cold beer first.’

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Never underestimate the power of polo mints.
The trainer was giving last minute instructions to the jockey and appeared to slip something in the horse’s mouth just as a steward passed by.

‘What was that?’ inquired the steward.

‘Oh, nothing,’ said the trainer, ‘just a polo mint.’ He offered one to the steward. ‘Here, have one. And I’ll have one myself.’

After the suspicious steward had left the scene the trainer continued with his riding instructions. ‘Just keep the horse on the rails. You are on a certainty. The only thing that could possibly pass you down the straight is either the steward or me.’

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 I am offline for a couple of days but please leave your comments for my return.. Please feel free to spread the smiles around.  Sally

 

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Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – Navy, Marines and Hypnotised Seniors – Oops.


Some of the favourite jokes from early 2016 revisited.

A sailor, an airman, several marines, a genie and a hypnotist walked into a blog!

Overseas posting

A newly married sailor was informed by the Navy that he was going to be stationed a long way from home on a remote island in the Pacific for a year. A few weeks after he got there he began to miss his new wife, so he wrote her a letter.

“My love,” he wrote, “we are going to be apart for a very long time. Already I’m starting to miss you and there’s really not much to do here in the evenings. Besides that, we’re constantly surrounded by young attractive native girls. Do you think if I had a hobby of some kind I would not be tempted? ”

So his wife sent him back a harmonica saying, “Why don’t you learn to play this?”

Eventually his tour of duty came to an end and he rushed back to his wife. “Darling” he said, “I can’t wait to get you into bed so that we make passionate love!”

She kissed him and said, “First let’s see you play that harmonica.”

Tell it to the Marines.

An airman in a bar leans over to the guy next to him and says, “Wanna hear a MARINE joke?”

The guy next to him replies, “Well, before you tell that joke, you should know something. I’m 6′ tall, 200 lbs, and I’m a MARINE. The guy sitting next to me is 6’2″ tall, weighs 225, and he’s a MARINE. The fella next to him is 6’5″ tall, weighs 250, and he’s also a MARINE. Now, you still wanna tell that joke?”

The Airman says, “Nah, I don’t want to have to explain it three times.”

Many a word spoken in jest!Killer Food

A   nutritionist was addressing a large audience. “The food that we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago.

“Red meat is awful. Soft drinks erode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. Vegetables can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water.

“But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have, or will, eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?”

A 75-year-old man in the front row stood up and said, “Wedding cake”

Second Opinion should always be sought.

Judy rushed in to see her doctor, looking very much worried and all strung out. She rattles off, “Doctor, take a look at me. When I woke up this morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my hair all wiry and frazzled up, my skin was all wrinkled and pasty, my eyes were bloodshot and bugging out, and I had this corpse-like look on my face! What’s wrong with me, Doctor?”

The doctor looks her over for a couple of moments, and then calmly says, “Well, I can tell you that there ain’t nothing wrong with your eyesight.”

 

When faced with a Genie.. think before opening mouth!

A fellow was cleaning out his attic one morning when he came across an old brass lamp. He gave it a rub and a genie appeared in a puff of smoke.

‘I am the genie of the lamp,’ said the apparition. ‘For releasing me, I will answer any three questions you care to ask.’

‘Who? Me?’ said the young man.

‘Yes, You,’ replied the genie. ‘Now, what’s your third question?’

A quick way to tell your age

‘How old are you Grandma?’ asked little Rebecca.

‘Oh, I don’t know dear,’ said Grandma with a smile. ‘I’ve had so many birthdays, I’ve lost count!’

‘Well, why don’t you look in your knickers,’ said Rebecca. ‘Mine say three to four years old.’

And now that I have you mesmerised!!

It was entertainment night at the senior citizens’ centre.

After the community sing-song led by Alice at the piano, It was time for the Star of the Show – Claude the Hypnotist.

Claude explained that he was going to put the whole audience into a trance.

“Yes, each and every one of you and all at the same time.” said Claude.

The excited chatter dropped to silence as Claude carefully withdrew from his waistcoat pocket a beautiful antique gold pocket watch and chain.

“I want you to keep your eyes on this watch” said Claude, holding the watch high for all to see.

“It is a very special and valuable watch that has been in my family for six generations” Said Claude.

He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting “Watch the watch — Watch the watch —-Watch the watch”

The audience became mesmerised as the watch swayed back and forth.

The lights twinkling as they were reflected from its gleaming surfaces.

A hundred and fifty pairs of eyes followed the movements of the gently swaying watch.

And then, suddenly, the chain broke.

The beautiful watch fell to the stage and burst apart on impact

“S**T” said Claude.

It took them three days to clean the Senior Citizens’ Centre

And Claude was never invited to entertain again.

The discerning cat.

I hope that has left you with a smile on your face.. Thanks for stopping by.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Summer Jazz 2017 – William Price King meets Tony Bennett – Happy 90th Birthday


Welcome to the finale at least of this part of Tony Bennett’s life. There seems to be no reason to believe that we will not be celebrating the next ten years of this extraordinary artist’s life. His lifetime of dedication to his technique ensures that his voice remains as true as ever and to look at the last 15 years of Tony’s performances, chart successes and collaborations I will now hand you over to William Price King. You will find all the other parts to this series in this directory https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

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Tony Bennett believes in giving back to his local community as well as those around the world which are in need. As well as performing at charity benefits and supporting international aid efforts he is committed to promoting the creative arts for the young. In 1999 he and his wife Susan Benedetto founded Exploring the Arts (ETA) to promote the role of the arts in public school education. ETA connects private donors, individual artists and cultural institutions to Partner Schools with the aim of reducing the impact of budgetary cuts, and sustaining a culture of opportunity for students through various programmes. The first of these was the establishment of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in 2001 in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. ETA currently partners with 17 public high schools, 14 in the boroughs of New York City and 3 in Los Angeles

Tony Bennett’s music since 2000 has been a combination of solo performances and collaborations with some of the top contemporary artist such as Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga. The first album in 2000, The Ultimate Tony Bennett reached #2 in the Jazz chart at home and set the scene for the next ten years.

His second album of the new millennium was in the company of some incredible musicians and singers. Playin’ With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues entertains with well-loved tracks such as Let The Good Times Roll with B.B. King, New York State of Mind with Billy Joel and the 1933 song by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, Stormy Weather with Natalie Cole. The album achieved gold status and reached #2 in the US Jazz chart. Uploaded by Diogo Brito e Faro

This was followed up later in the year with a live album Christmas in Vienna VII with Charlotte Church, Placido Domingo and Vanessa Williams. This powerhouse combination took the album into the charts in Europe.

The next album that took the charts by storm was the collaboration with k.d. Lang in 2002. A Wonderful World hit Gold and Platinum status and was #41 in the US Chart, #2 in the Jazz chart and in the top 50 in several international charts. Tracks included La Vie en Rose by Mack David, David Louiguy and Edith Piaf; Dream A Little Dream Of Me by Fabian Andre, Gus Khan and Wilbur Schwandt and What A Wonderful World by Robert Thiele and George David Weiss. Uploaded by IvanRQ8

A reminder of just some of the accolades that Tony Bennett had received during his long career to this point.

  • Star on the Hollywood of Fame
  • Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from The American Society of Composers, Author and Publishers in 2002.
  • In 2005, Tony was recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor.
  • Inducted into the Long Island Hall of Fame.

In August 2006 it was Tony Bennett’s 80th birthday and celebrations took place throughout the year with performances and accolades pouring in from around the world. Apart from Tony’s birthday there was another cause for celebration as his album Duets: An American Classic reached the highest ever in the album charts and received two Grammy Awards. It went gold and platinum as it hit the International charts at #1 in the US and in the top 20 across the main music charts in the world. The songs that Tony chose for this birthday album represented the best of the American Song Book and included Lullaby Of Broadway with Dixie Chicks, Put On A Happy Face with James Taylor, Smile with Barbra Streisand, The Good Life with Billy Joel, Just in Time with Michael Buble, If I Ruled The World with Celine Dion and most appropriately, The Best Is Yet To Come by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh performed with Diana Krall. tonybennettVEVO

During that year of celebration Rob Marshall directed a television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic that aired at Thanksgiving and received multiple Emmy Awards and the Billboard Century Award. Tony also appeared on the sixth season of American Idol as a guest mentor, passing on his great experience and knowledge to the lucky contestants.

He received further recognition from the International community and received the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Humanitarian Award for his charity work. In 2006 he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award which is the highest honor that the United States bestows on jazz musicians.

In 2008 Tony teamed up with the Count Basie Big Band for a Christmas special and appeared with Billy Joel at the final concerts of New York State of Mind at Shea Stadium.

Despite heading towards his 85th birthday Tony Bennett was not slowing down and in a follow up to his first highly successful collaboration album, he released Duets II. The seventeen tracks with artists from across the broad spectrum of music techniques included Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Queen Latifah, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood and Lady Gaga. Again this album did extremely well in the charts both in America and around the world nearly all in the top ten.

His duet with Amy Winehouse, one of the last recordings made before her untimely death, charted in the Billboard Hot 100 making Tony Bennett the oldest living artist to appear there as well as the performer with the greatest span of appearances in the chart. The album also debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, the first time Tony had reached that spot and making him the oldest living artist to do so.

Later that year Columbia released Tony Bennett – The Complete Collection which is a 73 CD plus 3-DVD set and whilst not quite representative of all his work brought many of his original vinyl onto CD with some previously unreleased material.

Buy the set: Complete Collection Amazon

On the performance side, Tony Bennett appeared at the Royal Variety Performance in the presence of HRH Princess Anne in December 2011 and in October 2012 he performed his signature song I Left My Heart in San Francisco in front of more than 100,000 fans at a City Hall ceremony commemorating the 2012 World Series victory by the San Francisco Giants. He also published another memoir, Life is a Gift: The Zen of Bennett alongside a documentary produced by his son Danny of the same title.

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An area that we have not touched on is Tony Bennett’s other creative success as an artist. He paints under the name of Anthony Benedetto or just Benedetto. He followed on from his childhood interest with professional training and had spent a lifetime exploring the best art museums of the world. He sketches or paints every day, often the views out of hotel windows when on tour. He has exhibited in galleries around the world and was commissioned by the United Nations to do two paintings, including one for its 50th Anniversary. You can find out more about his artwork https://tonybennett.com/benedetto_arts.php

2014 brought a stunning new collaboration that would delight Tony’s fans. The album Cheek to Cheek with Lady Gaga debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts and swept through the top ten in the major international charts. At the end of 2014 these two unique and iconic artists kicked off their Cheek to Cheek tour.

On September 25, 2015, he released an album composed by Jerome Kern, featuring Bill Charlap on piano, called The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. Tracks include Pick Yourself Up, They Didn’t Believe Me and Look For The Silver Lining.

As we all celebrate the continued success and artistry that is Tony Bennett as he celebrates his 90th birthday here is a quote that illustrates his artistic stance from an interview in 2010.

I’m not staying contemporary for the big record companies, I don’t follow the latest fashions. I never sing a song that’s badly written. In the 1920s and ’30s, there was a renaissance in music that was the equivalent of the artistic Renaissance. Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer and others just created the best songs that had ever been written. These are classics, and finally they’re not being treated as light entertainment. This is classical music.”

To end this finale of the Tony Bennett story to this point in his career, here is a track from the album Cheek to Cheek with Lady Gaga.

Happy Birthday Tony.. Here is to the next ten years!

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

We hope you have enjoyed the series and please let us know as well as share the post with your networks.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Summer Jazz 2017 – William Price King meets Tony Bennett – Part Three – The 1960s


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Last week we left Tony Bennett at the end of the 1950s enjoying a great career and working with some of the best in the business. However, the music industry in the 1960s was evolving and Pop, Rock and Country were making their presence felt in the charts. Jazz would never go out of fashion but the new generation of fans were being entertained with the magic of television and a wider choice of music radio stations. Tough competition for all the major and established artists, and in particularly those who were approaching their 40s.

I will hand you over to William Price King to take you through the next ten years.

Tony Bennett believed in quality; not only for his recorded material that was released but in his live performances. In 1962, with a great deal of publicity and promotion, Tony took to the stage at Carnegie Hall. Previously he had often performed seven shows a day beginning at 10.30 in the morning until late into the night. But this concert was a mammoth undertaking, featuring 44 songs including his many hits and fan favourites such as I’ve Got The World On A String. Apart from the energy and stamina needed to perform that many songs to Tony’s exacting standards, he must have been grateful for the Bel Canto technique that he had mastered as a young singer. I covered this technique in the first post in the series and you can read more about it here. Tony Bennett Part One.

I’ve Got The World On A String was written in 1932 by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and had previously been recorded by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Uploaded by swan2612

The concert at Carnegie Hall was a huge success and reinforced his place in the hearts of his fans both at home and internationally. Tony had already been on television in the 50s which had enabled him to reach a much wider audience, and in 1962 he was asked to sing on the initial broadcast of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

For most of us who are Tony Bennett fans, the song I Left My Heart In San Francisco is probably the one that will always be associated with his particular vocal style and performance. He released it in 1962 and it would spend a year in different charts and reached number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 providing Tony with plenty of exposure. The album of the same title however, did even better reaching the top 5 in the charts and going gold. The title track won a Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Male Solo Vocal Performance and became Tony Bennett’s signature song. Eventually it would rank 23rd in the world as the most historically significant songs of the 20th century.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco was written by George Cory and Douglass Cross in 1953 and eventually acquired by Ralph Sharon who was Tony’s accompanist and happened to be friends with the composers. Ironically the song was released at the B-side of Once Upon A Time but the radio DJs began flipping the record over to play!

In 1963 Tony released the album I Wanna Be Around which also reached the top five of the charts and both the title track and The Good Life reached the top 20 of the pop singles chart. However 1964 brought what is known as the British Invasion which included The Beatles, reinforcing the movement towards more rock in the charts.

Tony Bennett was faced with the challenge of maintaining a pop and jazz presence in the changing music scene. He released a number of albums in the next following two years including The Many Moods Of Tony, When The Lights Are Low, Who Can I Turn To in 1964, If I Ruled The World: Songs For The Jet Set in 1965 and The Movie Song Album and A Time For Love in 1966. The Movie Song Album did reasonably well at number 18 in the charts in the US, but the other albums did not perform as well.

His did have a top-40 single in 1965 with If I Ruled The World which reached number 34. Tony decided to expand his popularity into acting and featured in The Oscar in 1966 which was an experience that he neither enjoyed nor repeated. In 1965 along with many artists, Tony participated in the ‘Selma to Montgomery Marches and as a firm believer in the American Civil Rights Movement, he refused to perform in South Africa.

The 60s were to be professionally and personally difficult time for Tony Bennett. His successful collaboration with Ralph Sharon ended in 1965 as did his first marriage to Patricia. I don’t tend to focus on the personal lives of the musical artists that we feature, but I think it is important to acknowledge that the frequent and extended road trips that a performer makes to stay in the public eye, and the distractions that accompany that; put a strain on the strongest of relationships.

Musically there was a rush by the recording companies with artists such as Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and others who were more pop and jazz performers to integrate themselves with the new rock culture. This resulted in some ill-conceived projects that rarely did the performers any favours, including the album Tony Sings The Great Hits of Today in 1970. The experience was not a happy one for Tony and eventually resulted in a parting of the ways from Columbia Records in 1972 and a new chapter in Tony Bennett’s career and personal life.

Despite the disappointment of the later 1960s, I thought it would be a good idea to remind us all of what Tony Bennett fans think about his music. After all, at the end of the day, they are the ones who buy the records.

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A Timeless Classic!! By Beverly Praiswater on December 18, 2006

Tony Bennett’s music transcends all generations. This album is full of his finest classics from the 60’s.

The opening cut is the title song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”. Nobody could match this version of this song. “Once Upon A Time” is heartfelt and full of pathos. “Tender Is The Night” is a glorious ballad with a haunting finale. Tony pulls out all of the stops as he builds the jazzy “Love For Sale”. “Taking A Chance On Love” is upbeat with a rousing classic “Tony” vocal. The finale “The Best Is Yet To Come” is a tour de force celebration!

This album became a Gold Record (there was no platinum in those days) and was on the best seller charts for 2-1/2 years! Need I say more?

Sometimes your parents did know best By Patricia Beninato VINE VOICE on April 8, 2000

As I’m only 33, a lot of people laugh when they see this CD in my collection (particularly among the Def Leppard and Live CD’s!). My mother adored Tony Bennett, and his greatest hits collection was a perennial feature in the car and home 8-track players. I’ve always loved this record–Tony had (and still does have) an incredible voice, and the songs featured here are the crème de la crème of pop songwriting in the 40’s and 50’s, including the immortal “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” and my two personal favorites, “Rags To Riches” and “Just In Time”. Of course, having to be “cool” as a teenager I denied Tony for many years. So laugh away if you want, kids–this album rocks in the truest sense of the word! Long live Tony Bennett!

Buy Tony Bennett Music: http://www.amazon.com/Tony-Bennett/e/B000APGV7G

For a last performance from the 1960s here is The Good Life. Originally La Belle Vie and written and released by French singer Sacha Distel in 1962, it would become better known following the recording by Tony Bennett in 1963; reaching No 18 in the US Pop singles charts and No 27 in the UK charts. Uploaded by justinpow

About William Price King.

williampriceking

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album.http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

We would love to have your feedback and also your help in spreading the post around social media for us. We hope you will join us next week for part three of Tony Bennett’s story.  Thanks for stopping by.. Sally

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Summer Jazz 2017 – William Price King meets Tony Bennett


Welcome to the Summer Jazz series with William Price King. For the next few weeks, whilst William his annual break from the blog, we will be enjoying the story and the performances of Tony Bennett, one of the most accomplished showman of the last 100 years.  This series was first posted in February 2016 but one can never have too much of a good thing.

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Born with a beautiful name in August 1926, Anthony Dominick Benedetto’s parents could not have known that by the much simpler name of Tony Bennett, their son would one day be loved by millions around the world. Tony Bennett is 90 years old this year and his singing career spans 80 of those incredible years. This week we will take a look at his early life and Tony’s determination to succeed as a performer.

John Benedetto was a grocer from Podargoini in Southern Italy and had arrived in the United States in 1906. He met and married Anna Suraci who had been born in America shortly after her parents had emigrated, also from Calabaria region, just before the turn of the century. Tony had an elder sister and brother, but his time with his father was too short as John died after a long illness in 1936, when Tony was only ten years old. This meant that his childhood, during what were the devastating years of the depression, were tough; but he was surrounded by a loving and supportive extended family who had all arrived together from Italy.

The music of the time however was anything but depressing and with the advent of sound for film, far more available to everyone. Some of Tony’s early musical influencers were Al Jolsen and Eddie Cantor. Here is the uplifting song Making Whoopee written in 1928 by Walter Donaldson and lyrics by Gus Kahn made famous by Eddie Cantor uploaded by Your Eddie Cantor channel.

Additionally for Tony, his Uncle Dick was in vaudeville as a tap dancer giving him an early introduction to show business. But school was the first priority for the young Tony and he attended the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan where he developed his two main passions, singing and painting. Radio was in its heyday showcasing artists such as Judy Garland and Bing Crosby and despite having to drop out of school at sixteen to help support his family, Tony was fixed on a career as a singer.

At the age of ten he had his first taste of performing in front of an appreciative audience when he had sung at the opening of the Triborough Bridge standing next to the then Mayor, Fiorello La Guardia. His drive to take his talent to stardom is demonstrated by his tireless commitment to combine working to support his family and using any remaining hours of the day to perform.

Tony had to focus on getting money for his family and for a time he worked in several low paid jobs including as a copy boy and runner for the Associated Press in Manhattan. He did however get a job as a singing waiter and set about entering any amateur night competitions across the city, which he usually won. This included a successful engagement at a well-known New Jersey nightclub.

However it was wartime and at age eighteen Tony was drafted into the US Army in November 1944. After basic training, Bennett was assigned to the 63rd Infantry Division (the “Blood and Fire” Division) where he served in France and Germany. Army Career

Being in the army also offered Tony the opportunity to perform with a military band and he finished the war touring Europe entertaining the troops. He remained there after the war and studied music at Heidelburg University before returning to the US in 1946. He studied Voice at the American Theatre Wing on the GI Bill. To support himself, he worked as an elevator operator and I am sure that he entertained the occupants as they travelled up and down with him.

Tony was taught the Bel Canto singing technique. Translated from the Italian it means ‘beautiful singing’ but the technique is much more complex than that simple description. Originating from the discipline of Italian opera the technique was used by professional singers around the world. There are certain elements involved which include strengthening the voice so that it does not tire over the course of a long performance. The voice should not be strained and should sound as effortless as speaking, preventing damage to the throat.

With this technique Tony has preserved his singing voice over the following 70 years and if you listen to his performances in his 30s and his more recent performances there is very little difference, which is a testament to the method.

One of his teachers at American Theatre Wing suggested that Tony also develop an unusual approach that involved imitating the style and phrasing of the best musicians of the day which included saxophonist Stan Getz and the piano of Art Tatum. This led to improvised variations to the standards of the day which made his performances stand out from the crowd. At the time he was performing under the name of Joe Bari and in 1949 cut an album under that name for a small label which did not sell terribly well.

However, his unique voice and performances began to get noticed by industry influencers and one of these, Pearl Bailey, asked him to open for her in Greenwich Village. Tony would later reflect on this lucky break.

“Bob Hope came down to check out my act. He liked my singing so much that after the show he came back to see me in my dressing room and said, ‘Come on kid, you’re going to come to the Paramount and sing with me.’ But first he told me he didn’t care for my stage name (Joe Bari) and asked me what my real name was. I told him, ‘My name is Anthony Dominick Benedetto’ and he said, ‘We’ll call you Tony Bennett.’

Bob Hope took Tony on the road with him and in 1950 he cut a demo of Boulevard of Broken Dreams and was signed to Columbia Records by Mitch Miller. Boulevard of Broken Dreams was written by Harry Warren with lyrics by Al Dubin in 1933 and appeared in the 1934 film Moulin Rouge. Uploaded by swan2612

The top performer of the label was Frank Sinatra and his departure from Columbia coincided with Tony Bennett being signed. The label recognised that there was little merit in imitating Frank’s style, so Tony turned his talents to crooning popular and commercial songs. His first big hit was Because of You which was produced by Mitch Miller with a wonderfully rich orchestral backing from Percy Faith. This song was hugely popular on the jukeboxes which now were standard in any coffee bar or club, and in 1951 it reached number one in the charts, staying there for ten weeks and selling over a million copies.

Because of You had been written in 1940 by Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkinson and it was also used in the 1951 film I Was an American Spy. Here is Tony Bennett with an original recording uploaded by tommy194070

The career of Tony Bennett was now on the fast track.

Buy the music of Tony Bennett: Amazon

Next week The 50s and more fabulous music from Tony Bennett.

About William Price King.

Price tuxedo jazz comedy club

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King

Download the new album.http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

You can find the other artists in the previous series here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-a-man-and-his-music-jazz-classical-and-contemporary-legends/

I hope that you will enjoy this Summer Jazz series with a reminder of some of the most iconic singers of our time. Thanks Sally

 

Happy 4th July – Part Two – Houston Texas – 1986 – Halley’s Comet -Hawaii – Magnum PI – Top Gun


In celebration of our time in America and the wonderful people we met and still are in touch with, here is our second year living in Houston and some of the adventures we enjoyed. We actually ended up visiting all the East and West Coast as well as driving across country.. On this trip we wanted to see the once in a lifetime visit of Halley’s comet.

It is now 1986 and we were very aware that we only had a year left of David’s contract in America and that we needed to step up our explorations.  In that twelve months we visited the East and West coasts and made the epic road trip from Houston to New Mexico with a friend  to try and glimpse Halley’s Comet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halley%27s_Comet

Halley’s Comet only appears every 76 years and being such a rare visit we needed to find a very special place to try and view this once in a lifetime event .  We opted for the car park of Carlsbad Caverns which is an enormous underground network of caves.

We explored the 119 caverns hundreds of feet below ground in the day; at night we returned to the car park miles from any light pollution and lay on ground sheets searching the star filled sky above us. The second night we were rewarded with the most amazing, if very tiny, sight of this elusive comet with our low resolution telescopes and just about with the naked eye. We had taken a rucksack with us with hot coffee and snacks and as we watched this astral display, we heard the rucksack being dragged off into the undergrowth. Fearing we had been targeted by large felines; we aimed our combined torches at the predator. A raccoon stared back at us challenging our refusal to pay the car park fees!  We persuaded him that this was not acceptable and were able to enjoy our breakfast at dawn surrounded by deer and a view that stretched for miles across the Chihuahuan Desert.

That year David and I also took advantage of the air miles he had accumulated on all his sales trips and flew to Hawaii for the first of several visits to these magnificent islands. I have to admit at this point that I have always had rather a crush on Tom Selleck…. Magnum P.I and I rather hoped that I might be lucky enough to encounter him on our trip. Whilst waiting for a glimpse of an earthbound comet…. we did some of the usual tourist activities and I splashed out on a wonderful MuuMuu which was set off by my 80s hair.

Sally-Hawaii-Mumu

We also  discovered the delight of rum cocktails and completed pre-dinner tasting sessions. The outright winner is the Molokai Mule which is a drink not to be attempted on an empty stomach with the expectation of being able to stand up again afterwards.. It certainly has a mighty kick…here is the recipe for those of you brave enough to attempt! http://www.sheknows.com/recipes/molokai-mule

Eventually my secret wish was fulfilled and the day before our flight back to Houston, whilst at a four way stop near Diamond Head, I was rewarded with a fleeting encounter with Magnum P.I. He was in a convertible at the stop opposite us and as we glided past each other like ships in the night I knew that 1986 had been a very special year!

The music of that year was great with many hits making their way across the Atlantic in both directions. Here is a small selection: Lionel Ritchie – Say You Say Me, Dionne Warwick & Friends – That’s What Friends are For, Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love, Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls, Steve Winwood – Higher Love, Simply Red – Holding Back the Years, Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer, Madonna – Don’t Preach, Billy Ocean – When the Going Gets Tough and Bananarama – Venus.

In honour of the passing years I have selected Simply Red for this weeks chart track from 1986.

Films were equally interesting in 1986 and we managed to get in a weekly cinema visit wherever we might be at the time. Aliens, Platoon (stunning) The Mission, Crocodile Dundee, The Name of the Rose (highly recommended) Star Trek IV- The Voyage Home, The Color of Money, and Mona Lisa (amazing). Without a doubt the film that followed in the wake of An Officer and a Gentlemen in the romance category, with action thrown in high in the skies for good measure, was Top Gun with the every youthful Tom Cruise.  Here is the theme song.. and 30 years later the soundtrack is still on my playlist.

Buy Top Gun: http://www.amazon.com/Top-Gun-Tom-Cruise/dp/B001K3K5MO

Halley’s Comet Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License;

I hope you have enjoyed my step back in time in tribute to our American friends and the two wonderful years we enjoyed as guests in Houston.

 

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Stevie Wonder, Justice ‘East End’ Style, Skin and Bones


Welcome to the round up for the posts this week just in case you missed any. I feel a little guilty since I spent quite a bit of time off line and not spending time with your blogs but I promise that just another week to go and I will be more attentive.

The plan was to get the next volume of What’s in a Name finished.. I have two more stories to go Y and Z… already in my head and then I have some surprises to add that will be revealed when it is published.  A slightely different appoach to the names from K to Z with just ordinary people doing something they will be remembered for.. Even if it is only by those they love.

Some of you may remember that I wrote a story using an illustration by the very talented Donata Zawadzka.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/smorgasbord-short-story-tales-from-the-irish-garden-after-the-festival-illustrated-by-donata-zawadzka/

This story along with 24 more make up the sequel to Tales from the Garden but this time set in Ireland. Queen Filigree is forced to escape from the palace beneath the magnolia tree in Spain and to seek refuge with her Irish cousin.

I am working with Donata who is producing four central illustrations that head up the four seasons in the book and I am very excited by the project. And I have to thank Paul Andruss for introducing us. It will be in print as well as Ebook and is the first book of mine to be written in Ireland since 1999.

You can find out more about Donata at her website and her sales site:  http://dezawadzka.wix.com/donatasgallery
Buy her work on Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/donattien/works/7004053-the-birch-maiden?c=32080-ink-illustrations

I have managed to get some gardening done this week which has a duel purpose.. I pot plants and plot stories!  I am going to do the same this week whilst I finish the current projects but I will be in each day to check up on things and have a chat.

Thank you for all your wonderful support and wonderful comments… I am hugely grateful.

Now for a look at the posts from the week… with additional thanks to my two collaborators.. William Price King and Paul Andruss.

William Price meets the Legends

A brand new series and this time the artist is the amazingly talented Mr. Stevie Wonder who has entertained us for over 50 years. His first performances at age 11 propelled him to early stardom and some of his most iconic hits were written when he was a teenager.  To get you in the mood is one of my all time favourites.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/william-price-king-meets-some-legends-stevie-wonder-the-early-years/

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss

Paul explores the origins of music and you might look at chimpanzees in a different light.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/writer-in-residence-extra-song-and-dance-man-by-paul-andruss/

The Colour of Life – by Geoff Cronin

Just a few more chapters to go in my father-in-law’s memoir but since so many of you have enjoyed I will also be serialising his second book of tall tales.. This week too I pay tribute to my mother-in-law Joan who would have been 97 yesterday. A lovely woman with the most infectious laugh you will ever hear.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/the-colour-of-life-serialisation-the-rosary-1955-by-geoff-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/the-colour-of-life-extra-behind-every-great-man-joan-cronin-1920-1994/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/the-colour-of-life-tommy-and-the-fish-and-the-power-of-prayer/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading and Interview

Just  a reminder that if you are in the bookstore you are welcome to do a book reading and interview. The details of how to do that are in this post.  My guest this week was Richard Ankers and next week Sandra J. Jackson and C.S. Boyack.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/new-series-sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-book-reading-and-interview/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-reading-and-interview-richard-ankers/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

If you are not already on the shelves of the bookstore then please pop in and take a look at this post which has a link to what you need to send me.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-13-steps-to-evil-by-sacha-black/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

If you are in the bookstore you can enjoy regular updates of new releases, great reviews or offers.. Just send me an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-dan-alatorre-and-angie-dokos/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-deanie-humphrys-dunne-and-lesley-fletcher/

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews

This is open to all authors on the bookstore shelves or not… just send the link to your latest great review to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Jessica Norrie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-jessica-norrie-and-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-annette-rochelle-aben-and-hugh-w-roberts/

Smorgasbord Poetry

My thanks to Robbie Cheadle for her contribution to this post this week.. In a dilemma about which cake to bake for her husband’s birthday she took to verse…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/17/smorgasbord-poetry-which-cake-by-robbie-cheadle/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/smorgasbord-poetry-dark-waters-by-sally-cronin/

Smorgasbord Short Stories

The Sewing Circle is about a group of elderly residents of an East London estate whose lives are devastated by the actions of a family of thugs.  Here are all three episodes. More stories from this collection next week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/smorgasbord-short-stories-the-sewing-club-part-one-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/flights-of-fancy-short-story-anthology-novella-the-sewing-circle-part-two-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/flights-of-fancy-short-story-anthology-the-sewing-circle-part-three-by-sally-cronin/

Some personal stuff

I was delighted to be interviewed by two writers this week. The first was with Amy M. Reade.

https://amreade.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/sally-cronin-is-back/

And the second was with Lisa Burton.... courtesy of Craig Boyack.

https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/odd-job-girl-on-lisa-burton-radio/

I was also very honoured to be nominated in the Most Informative Category for the #BloggersBash this year and voting is now open. There are ten categories and some wonderful nominees.. Please head over and vote for your favourites.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/smorgasbord-reblog-bloggerbash-2017-voting-is-now-open/

Smorgasbord Health – Let’s Walk a Marathon Challenge

This week.. how to burn extra fat…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/lets-walk-a-marathon-update-and-methods-to-burn-extra-fat/

Smorgasbord Health – Top to Toe.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-skeleton-the-progresson-of-osteoporosis-over-50-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-skin-the-largest-organ-of-the-human-body/

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch

I would love to hear from you if you have a recipe made from fresh ingredients that is a favourite.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/cook-from-scratch-the-sandwich-that-packs-a-punch-with-link-to-140-fillings/

Humour

Put your troubles away for a little while and enjoy the outlook of a pug who has a neural problem but does not let it get him down..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/the-afternoon-video-when-adverts-are-better-than-the-television/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/smorgasbord-time-for-some-laffs-joys-of-old-age-and-a-slice-of-scotland/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/lets-walk-a-marathon-the-agility-circuit-try-and-keep-up-with-this-jack-russell/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/smorgasbord-time-for-some-laffs-things-are-not-always-what-they-seem/

Thanks for showing up, commenting, sharing and being so supportive.. hugs Sally

Keep smiling

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Health 2017 -Top to Toe -The Heart – Angina, Arrythmia and Valve disorders


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I appreciate that many of you who have been kindly following the blog for a long time will have seen this post before. However, if you are new to Smorgasbord, I hope you will find interesting.

In the series Top to Toe I will be covering the major organs in the body and their health.

One of the main causes of angina and heart disease is atherosclerosis and that is where we should start when looking to change our lifestyle and diet.

Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries as a result of plaque that has built up in the arterial walls narrowing the blood vessels and restricting the flow of oxygen rich blood to the heart and other organs such as the brain. Atherosclerosis accounts for almost 75% of deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Plaque build up in arteries

What is Angina?

Angina (angina pectoris) is a type of temporary chest pain. There are a number of types but the two, stable and unstable both indicate that there is likely to be coronary heart disease.

Stable angina attacks occur after vigorous exercise that requires additional blood to be sent to the heart. An attack might last from one or two minutes to fifteen minutes. Activities that also increase the risk of an attack are cigarette smoking, stress, abrupt changes in temperature or altitude, heavy meals that are not given time to digest and sudden exertion such as running for a bus or upstairs. These types of attack are also described as “predictable” as they tend to happen between early morning and noon. One reason for this may be the body’s inability to go from a state of complete rest to fully active immediately on getting up in the morning. Like an old car, it takes time to get all functions working efficiently especially if arteries are blocked and oxygen is in short supply.

Unstable angina is more dangerous as it is also unpredictable and will last longer than fifteen minutes. It can occur at rest and without any previous history of heart disease and should be treated as an emergency as it could indicate that the person is just about to suffer a full heart attack.

What are the symptoms of Angina?

People who suffer from angina describe the pain as crushing, burning behind the breastbone and as if there is a weight resting on the chest. The pain can radiate out from the chest and affect the neck, arms, jaw and the abdomen. Women are more likely to experience abdominal pain during an angina episode and it makes it more difficult to establish the problem. The person might also feel light headed and experience a faster than normal heartbeat (arrhythmia)

Some attacks are accompanied by nausea, sweating confusion and dizziness. These kinds of symptoms, particularly in the elderly add to the difficulty of diagnosing the problem.

Whether the episode lasts a minute or longer you should get it checked out. There is a strong possibility that if the attack occurs after eating a very heavy meal that you might be suffering from indigestion. But, if this is happening frequently the causes need to be identified and treated.

However, if the pain has moved from under your diaphragm and you are experiencing discomfort in any of the other areas that I have mentioned above, and the attack lasts for more than a few minutes you should definitely seek medical help.

What are the treatment options for Angina?

The medication most commonly prescribed is Nitrates such as nitro-glycerine that dilates the walls of the blood vessels allowing more blood and therefore oxygen to reach the heart. If there are repeated angina episodes then there could be the addition of beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers.

Beta-blockers slow the heartbeat and also reduce the strength of the muscle contractions taking some of the load off the organ.

Calcium channel blockers block the entry of calcium into the cells. This dilates the coronary arteries and increases the heart’s blood flow.

Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs inhibit the formation of blood clots by inhibiting the platelets that normal bind together. Aspirin is often prescribed in a relatively low dose, which a patient can take daily.

There are a number of surgical options for advanced stages of atherosclerosis and therefore increased angina attacks. These include angioplasty, stenting and coronary artery bypass grafting.

Blocked artery 3 - Baloon inflated

Angioplasty is a procedure where a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted in the blocked coronary artery and inflated. The balloon compresses the plaque against the walls of the artery, which increases the blood flow. This is usually combined with the inserting of a stent via the catheter. A stent is a small mesh tube that holds the damaged artery open allowing for increased blood flow.

A coronary bypass is a far more invasive procedure, which involves the grafting of the patient’s own veins and arteries, from other parts of the body, around the damaged blood vessels thus by-passing the blockage.

What can we do to prevent Atherosclerosis and Angina?

One of the most important preventative measures that you can take is to learn about your own body and also the medical history of your immediate family. It is more likely that if your parents, grandparents suffered from heart disease or diabetes then you may also be at a higher risk of the same problems. Diabetes sufferers are more likely to suffer from heart problems and monitoring this through regular blood tests is important if there has been a family history of the disease. Having this knowledge gives you the opportunity to make lifestyle choices that reduce your risk of developing heart disease in your own lifetime.

First and foremost you must give up smoking cigarettes, as this is a major contributor to heart disease.

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. When it acts with other factors, it greatly increases risk. Smoking increases blood pressure, inhibits oxygen uptake during exercise and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Smoking also increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery.

In the last three years I have written several blogs regarding both the unhealthy type of LDL cholesterol which has smaller platelets and when oxidised (likely with a poor diet of refined sugars and industrially produced foods) it clumps in the arteries causing blockages and narrowing the blood vessels. You can also read about elevated blood pressure as well.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-directory/

Other common heart conditions.

Apart from Angina, there are a number of other conditions that affect the heart. The good news is that most are either preventable or can be supported with a few changes to your lifestyle.

Arrhythmia and problems with your heartbeat

  • Arrhythmia is an erratic and abnormal heart rate. This is most commonly caused by blocked coronary arteries.
  • Sinus tachycardia is a regular heartbeat but too fast, usually over 100 beats per minute. It can also be caused by over exertion or stress.
  • Atrial fibrillation is caused by abnormal electrical activity and the result is a heartbeat between 300 to 500 beats per minute.
  • Ventricular tachycardia is caused by damaged heart muscle resulting in an ineffective heartbeat of between 120–220 beats per minute without the power to push the blood through the system.

Heart murmurs

We normally cannot hear the blood actually flowing through the heart but sometimes there may be some unusual noises that are called murmurs. These indicate that the smooth flow of blood has become unstable due to structural damage inside the heart. This is commonly caused by damage to the valves between the atria and the ventricles which causes either narrowing or leaking.

Heart valve disorders

As with any part of the body, the heart valves are subject to wear and tear. Our heart function is totally dependent on the pumping action and therefore on the health of the valves. There are two types of abnormality, stenosis which is a narrowing of the valve, allowing less blood through and an incompetent valve which allows blood to leak back down into the ventricles through an improperly closed valve.

Some valves can be corrected surgically but it is quite common these days to have the valves replaced completely restoring normal heart function. The replacement valves are made from metal and plastic, which may require medication to prevent clotting, or animal or human tissue which is not as long lasting but does not cause clots.

Next time some foods to include in your diet to help maintain a healthy heart. It may also help you lose weight and if you have read yesterday’s post you will know that the heart beats over 3 billion times in a lifetime and as with any pump it wears out.

Just losing a stone in excess weight can reduce the number of times your heart has to beat every day significantly – saving a million heartbeats a year will extend the life of your heart and therefore your life.

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 1998 – 2017

As always delighted to get your feedback and questions. This is not intended to take the place of your doctor’s presence in your life. But, certainly in the UK, where you are allocated ten minutes for a consultation and time is of the essence; going in with some understanding of how your body works and is currently functioning can assist in making a correct diagnosis. Some doctors believe that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I believe that understanding our bodies, how it works, how we can help prevent health problems and knowing the language that doctors speak, makes a difference.  Taking responsibility for our bodies health is the first step to staying well.

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – The Heart and how it works


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I appreciate that many of you who have been kindly following the blog for a long time will have seen this post before. However, if you are new to Smorgasbord, I hope you will find interesting.

In the series Top to Toe I will be covering the major organs in the body and their health.

The Heart.

We tend to think of the heart from an emotional perspective but in reality it is a pump that has a number of moving parts that is vital to our survival. Since the 1960s, the heart is one of the organs that can be replaced with a transplanted organ, but there are far more patients waiting for a new heart than there are donors.

This means that we need to take care of the one we have. However, like all our major organs it is hidden from view and we really only pay it the attention it deserves when something is wrong with it. Over the next few days I am going to look at the heart as an organ and the basics of how it functions. This will be followed by an overview of some of the more common diseases and then the foods that should be included in our diet to help maintain its health. Next week I will feature a silent killer which is contributory factor in heart disease… Stress.

The Heart

The heart is the pump that powers the circulatory or cardiovascular system formed by a network of arteries, veins and smaller blood vessels. Blood is continuously pumped out from the heart around the venal and arterial circuits carrying oxygen and vital nutrients to all parts of the body. The arteries take the blood away from the heart and the veins bring the blood back.

Chest x-ray showing heart position

The heart itself is a muscle, approximately the size of a clenched fist, and is shaped like a large upside down pear, located just to the left of the centre of the chest.

The heart weighs around 11 ounces or 310 grams and rests in a moist chamber, called the pericardial cavity, between the lungs and surrounded by the rib cage.

The muscle is called the myocardium and forms a shell around four cavities or spaces inside the heart that fill with blood. The two upper cavities are called atria and the bottom two spaces are called ventricles. Each side of the heart is separated by a wall called the septum and a valve connects each atrium to the ventricle below it. The valve on the left side of the body is called the mitral valve and the right side connection is called the tricuspid valve. The Endocardium lines the inside of the heart, and the heart valves, and the pericardium is a fibrous sac surrounding the heart.

Heart labelled

The top of the heart is connected to some major blood vessels – the largest being the aorta, or main artery, which carries the nutrient rich blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Another important blood vessel is the pulmonary artery, which connects the heart to the lungs.

The two largest veins that carry blood back to the heart are called the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. The superior vena cava takes de-oxygenated blood from the head and the arms to the right atrium, and the inferior vena cava brings de-oxygenated blood back up from the legs and lower body also into the right atrium.

The cardiac muscle contracts between 70 and 80 beats per minute and if it is to last the normal life-span it will beat over 3 billion times. This means that the muscle has to be incredibly strong and healthy.

De-oxygenated blood always returns to the body through the right side of the heart into the atrium and then onto the lungs to pick up the oxygen. It is then returned to the heart where it enters the left side into the atrium and ventricle to be pumped to all the other parts of the body in a continuous cycle.

How does the heart beat?

The heart beats automatically without our thought or intervention and the number of beats is maintained by an electrical impulse that originates from the body’s own natural pacemaker called the sinoatrial node. The electrical impulse is sent through the atria which stimulates a contraction then through to the atrioventricular node where it will pause for a fraction of a second before continuing down special conducting fibres to the ventricles, causing them to contract.

Specific nerves called autonomic nerves, the main one being the vagus nerve, regulate the amount of times our heart beats. The ideal rate is maintained at around 70 beats at rest but is then speeded up during exercise or stress. The cardiac nerves react to messages sent from the hypothalamus, in the medulla part of the brain, and the beat rate will also increase when the “fight or flight” hormone, adrenaline, is released. This increases the amount of blood and therefore oxygen that is made available to the heart and the rest of the body.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for heart disease and stroke are largely similar for men and women.

  • Factors such as age and family history play a role, but it is estimated that the majority of CVD deaths are due to modifiable risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, obesity, stress or diabetes
  • Heart disease was associated with men until the last twenty years and now cardiovascular disease (CVD) – heart disease and stroke – is the biggest killer of women globally, killing more women than all cancers, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.

Next time I will be covering Angina and other common heart health conditions.

©sallycronin Just Food For Health 1999 – 2017

As always your feedback is valued and please feel free to share. Thanks for dropping in.. Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Weight Reduction – Some meal options


Smorgasbord Health 2017

I know that I said that I would leave you to decide what you ate based on your shopping list that I gave you at the beginning of this series.  But, I also know that boredom can set in and you can find yourself sticking to a few tried and tested meals in case you get too adventurous and put weight back on.

I am cheating with this as this post is Chapter Fifteen of my book Size Matters… but it will give you a few alternative ideas for your main meals and snacks.

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This chapter outlines the building blocks of your personal programme. You must adjust the amount of food you eat according to your weight and I have included some guidelines for you to follow. Do not miss your snacks as these will help maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day and minimise your cravings for sweet or starchy foods. There is a great deal of information now on the web that was not available twenty years ago and you will find differing opinions on the subject of snacking between meals. It depends what you snack on firstly. If it is a biscuit, bar of chocolate or a cupcake then you are not going to get far. But, when you are first beginning a healthy eating programme the first words that usually pop into your mind is ‘deprivation’ and ‘starvation’.

That is the last thing that your body needs and neither does your newly adopted willpower. There will come a time when you won’t need to snack between meals and for those of you who need to lose in excess of three stone or more, I suggest that you enjoy your mid-morning, mid-afternoon and supper snack for several weeks or even months. I lost 150lbs in 18 months eating between meals and combined with some regular exercise it is a strategy that works for most of us.

The options that I suggest for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are just that, options. Variety not only prevents you getting bored with a particular diet but also ensures that you are getting the widest possible range of nutrients. Keep checking your food groups and make sure you are including all of them as regularly as possible.

I know that there is a new train of thought that precludes all carbohydrates from the diet but I am not in favour. Wholegrains have been a part of our human diet for thousands of years and there is evidence that we were eating wild grains as far back as early man. They provide important nutrients and fibre and should be included in moderate amounts. If you do not have a very active lifestyle then reduce to a handful with breakfast and lunch and leave off your evening meal.

First though, you need to adapt the following programme for your own individual requirements. If you suffer from Candida then you need to be careful of the amount of sugar and yeast that you are consuming. I recommend that you find a source for yeast and sugar-free bread from either a local baker or a health food shop. Fruit is too full of nutrients to give up completely and I suggest that you eat apples and pears, as they have the lowest amount of sugars, and only drink fruit juices sparingly. Apart from that you should be able to follow the basic programme adjusting it in the same way as someone without Candida.

Notes

  • Eat the programme exactly if you need to lose up to 3 stone or are a woman.
  • If you are a man, and need to lose up to 3 stone, you need to add 2 snacks per day to the programme.
  • If you need to lose 3–5 stone add one extra snack per day.
  • If you need to lose 5–7 stone add two extra snacks per day.
  • Breakfasts
  • Always eat breakfast and begin with a fresh vegetable juice. I recommend carrot juice – a small glass.
  • Cereals should be natural and sugar-free. Use chopped fruit to sweeten, or a teaspoon of honey, in preference to refined sugars or artificial sweeteners.
  • If you need to lose more than 42 lbs. (3 st or 19 kg) then you can add a piece of whole-grain toast with tomato and a drizzle of olive oil or mashed banana.

Seven Basic Breakfasts – small glass of juice not half a litre….

  1. Vegetable juice, porridge oats, tsp. honey, skimmed milk, a pear and a cup of tea.
  2. Carrot and apple juice, poached egg on slice of whole grain toast, drizzle of olive oil, seasoning and a cup of tea.
  3. Bowl of fresh fruit salad, low fat yoghurt, and slice of toast with modicum of butter. Cup of tea.
  4. Carrot juice, 2 Weetabix, semi-skimmed milk, fresh raspberries and a cup of tea.
  5. Banana smoothie made with one banana, 400 ml semi-skimmed milk and 1 oz. of porridge oats. Cup of tea.
  6. Apple juice, Shredded Wheat with semi-skimmed milk and fresh strawberries and 10 gms of chopped almonds. Cup of tea.
  7. Carrot juice, two scrambled egg, one rasher of salt-free bacon and one slice of whole grain toast with a drizzle of olive oil.

Note: you can eat anything you want for breakfast.. do not think that you have to start with eggs or cereal.. you can also have chicken breast and mushrooms, spinach and tomato if you fancy it!

Seven Lunch Suggestions – I always include a small amount of wholegrains in my lunch though I usually skip with my main meal at night.

wholegrains

  1. Large jacket potato with herbs and seasoning. Fresh raw vegetable salad made from tomato, cucumber, broccoli, carrot, rocket and raw onion. Drizzle potato and salad with 20 ml of seasoned olive oil – (useful if you are eating out).
  2. Brown rice pilaff with onions, mushrooms served with a baby leaf spinach and tomato salad. Can be reheated at work.
  3. One corn tortilla filled with steamed red peppers, onions, and 100 gms of chicken breast. Home-made salsa with onions, tomatoes, celery, garlic and a little olive oil.
  4. 200 gms of cooked whole grain pasta with home-made tomato, basil, onion, mushroom and celery sauce. Can be served cold and taken to work.
  5. Mashed potato and vegetable pie. Mash potato with semi-skimmed milk and herbs. Vegetable filling made from steamed carrots, onions, mushrooms, leeks in a tomato puree sauce baked in the oven with 2 oz. of grated Edam cheese. Can be reheated at work.
  6. Sandwiches – if you cannot have a prepared lunch of your choice then try to make sandwiches to take to work. You can have one round of whole grain sandwiches with lean fillings such as salad, chicken breast, tinned salmon or tuna, tomato and banana. Have two pieces of fruit or a fruit juice. (Sunday evening supper)
  7. Stir-fried vegetables served on brown rice. Use 20 ml of olive oil and seasoning, finely chopped celery, onion, broccoli, spinach, bean sprouts and mushrooms.

Seven Dinner Selections

Dandelion greens salad

Begin each dinner option with a bowl of fresh salad – e.g. mixed leaves, tomato, cucumber, pepper, celery – and 10 ml of olive oil and seasoning.

Three or four times a week include half a chopped avocado. This will not only be very nutritious but also knock the edge off your hunger.

  1. Roast Mediterranean vegetables with carrots, aubergine, courgettes, squash, onions and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil and roasted. Serve with a large lamb chop.
  2. Grilled turkey or chicken breast with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and green bean mix.
  3. Roast salmon with stuffed peppers (chopped mushroom, onion, courgette sprinkled with 1 oz. of Edam cheese). Serve with broccoli or spinach.
  4. Lean steak with roast Mediterranean vegetables.
  5. White fish, lightly grilled with olive oil and seasoning. Mashed carrots and green beans.
  6. Weekend dinner. Half an avocado and prawns with olive oil and herb dressing. Calves liver and onions, mashed parsnips, mixed green vegetables. Two glasses of white or red wine.
  7. Sunday lunch. Roast beef with carrots, broccoli and green beans. Dry roast potatoes and home-made gravy made from the meat juices and a little corn flour.

Snack Options which means keeping it down to a small plate.. not a dinner plate!

walnut

Three a day unless you require more for your individual weight.

  1. Banana and green tea
  2. Apple and orange.
  3. Carrot juice and an orange
  4. 2 rye crisp bread with sliced tomato and drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Fresh fruit salad and ½ pot of yoghurt.
  6. 10 walnut halves
  7. Slice of whole grain toast and mashed banana
  8. Half a melon filled with strawberries and a live yoghurt drink.
  9. Strawberry smoothie with 400 ml semi-skimmed milk – 10 strawberries and some crushed ice.
  10. Pot of sugar free yoghurt mixed with 1 oz. of porridge oats.

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/weight-reduction-programme-2017/

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com.