Monday, April 29, 2013

Yep...It's GOING to Happen Here in the Omaha/Council Bluffs/Bellevue Area!

 That's right...Luke Jerram's world famous "Play Me, I'm Yours" art exhibit is coming to America's 43rd largest city...the very same burg from which this blog originates. 

The Omaha Creative Institute (1516 Cuming St., 68102) has teamed up with the "PMIY" folks to put colorfully-decorated street pianos in public places all over the area...something Luke launched in 2008 in Birmingham, England (and all of that with the express hope of just getting people to interact with each other). 

And it doesn't matter what your skill level is when it comes to playing the piano. Whether you're a concert pianist, all thumbs at the 88s, or anyplace in's all about interacting with other people.  

Since that first exhibit, Jerram and Co. have taken "Play Me" almost all around the world. It's been to cities such as Sao Paulo, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Pecs, Hungary; Toronto, ON, Canada; London, Bath, and Cambridge, England; and Sydney, Adelaide, and Perth, say nothing of American cities like New York City, NY; Cincinnati, OH; San Jose, CA; Grand Rapids, MI; Austin, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; and what previously was the smallest of America's "Play Me, I'm Yours" cities- Salem, OR. (Oregon's capital city had 156,244 people in it during 2011, the year before it- along with LA and SLC- boasted its own set of painted pianos.) 

This year's very first "PMIY" city, Monterey, CA (one of five cities signed up thus far in 2013; all but one of the cities are here in the US), has fewer people than Salem. This city of 28,246 just got through showing off its painted pianos...and that's something also about to happen next month in Munich, Germany (and about to be done in two other American cities besides Omaha, NE: Cleveland, OH and a city that really could use that lift right now...Boston, MA).

The Big O gets its turn during the late August-early September period.

But it can't happen without the pianos themselves.

So...if you'd like to donate (or know of somebody who'd like to donate) an old upright, an old spinet, and/or even an old grand (and/or if you know of a warehouse in which the pianos can be worked on and- yes- prettied up), call or email Natalie Shaw, OCI's development coordinator. She can be reached at 402 669-9807 and at  

And to get the real lowdown on past, present, and future "Play Me, I'm Yours" exhibitions, just log on to 

I'm fired up about "Play Me" coming to Nebraska's largest city. How about you?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thoughts? You Bet I've Got 'Em!

Last year, I set foot in the state of Texas for the first time in my life (the occasion was our family's first reunion in nine years). To get to America's Lone Star State, I traveled in a plane for the first time in ten years.

The reunion took place on Labor Day weekend in the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington area. And in between the hassles of getting in and out of both Omaha's Eppley Airfield and one of the world's biggest airports (Dallas-Fort Worth International), I did have a good time.

*Well, this week, the Metroplex opened up a new amusement park (see the pictures above). 

I've got to be honest with you: If I get a chance to go back to North Texas, and I want to go to an amusement park (and I mean a REAL amusement park), it's going to be Six Flags. (Correct me if Six Flags over Texas changed its name in recent years.)   

*Speaking of plane travel...I understand that, for the first time since enacting it earlier this year, Congress decided to back off a taste on upholding its sequester.

Today, after the Senate took action, the House voted to get many of the air traffic controllers off the furlough the sequester brought on.

The whole point was to help out all those frequent fliers and all those business travelers.  

It's fine that today's Republican-led House wants to put a stop to (or at least a crimp in) all those flight delays and cancellations. Restoring jobs to those air traffic controllers is great.

It's too bad those same US representatives don't have the guts to restore the money that keeps programs like Head Start and Meals on Wheels available to all who NEED those programs.  

*And speaking of guts...I'm still incensed at the 46 US senators who showed they wouldn't stand up to the National Rifle Association.

Some (if not all) of those 46 cowards (that's right, cowards) got on TV, radio, and/or this here World Wide Web to explain just why they wouldn't stand for background checks- the measures that would've made sure buying a gun here in America is no longer as easy as buying a carton of cigarettes. 

No telling how many of those chickenhearts (oops, I mean senators) told reporters "It wasn't an easy vote."

No telling how many of them cited the Second Amendment.

I mean, background checks were the very least of the demands gun-control advocates have wanted all this time. We keep hearing that nine out of every ten Americans who answer opinion polls have come out in favor of those background checks. 

Both of Nebraska's US senators (that's right, Republicans Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer) played chicken on background checks.

If you don't want as little as to put a background check between someone and his or her wanting to buy a "shootin' arn," then you're in favor of keeping the gun violence going. It's as simple as that.

*On something just a little bit lighter...after some details have come out this week, I'm not as excited about the upcoming College Football Playoff system as I would've liked to be.

And it's all because it'll be run by the same people who cooked up the BCS nonsense: The commissioners of the now five wealthiest Division 1-A football-playing conferences (Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-12, and Southeastern). 

I'd have preferred to see the NCAA take it over...but we keep hearing that there's no longer any real leadership in that governing body.

Got the feeling that the commissioners will rely on the USA Today and Harris Interactive polls (and maybe the Associated Press poll will be a deciding factor here, too, a la the past).  

And if that's going to be the case...instead of each league's champion qualifying for the playoffs, get ready for things to get to the point where all four of the playoff clubs will be from the SEC.  

One more, and I'm going to wrap it up: 

*Lots and lots of sports reporters and sports talk-show hosts have been worried about this year's NFL draft; the consensus feeling is that the 2013 selection process just doesn't have the glamor that last year's did.

It's time for the media people to calm down. 

More 2013 NFL draftees are going to turn out to have great playing careers than any of us might think. (Yeah...I know: How often do you get a situation in which an Andrew Luck, a Robert Griffin III, and a Russell Wilson come out of college at the end of the same academic year?)

Far as I'm concerned, all this media fear about this year's National Football League draft manifested itself in (1) a USA Today article about the biggest busts in the draft's history and (2)  an ESPN report looking back on the 1983 NFL draft...the one that produced Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway and Dan Marino.

Don't feel disappointed that the Kansas City Chiefs went with offensive lineman Eric Fisher as their top draft pick- the NFL's first choice here in 2013.

And don't automatically label Geno Smith a failure.  

Let's just see what happens.

One thing that's happening is: My time is up. 

Thanks for reading "Boston's Blog!"