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Rocket's Red Glare

After work I went on a short but intense Mt. Bike ride.  I fell down twice, but enjoyed the ride.  Had the Womble Trail all to myself, lots of leaves on the ground.  Then I drove to Hot Springs for a quick Walmart run and, of course, Sushi.  I have come to LOVE sushi, especially at Osaka in Hot Springs.

On the way back, during the 45 minute drive, I did a little singing.  Up front, I am a horrible singer. I embarrass myself, even when alone.  Not atonal, but anti-tonal.  I mean, rough.  But who cares, I still sing sometimes.  I usually make up my own songs, stupid ones about signs I see or cars or farms or goats...you see.  But I also sing the few songs I know on occasion.  One song I like to sing is the National Anthem.  I really love our National Anthem, and I like to sing it when I'm driving.  (Note: it would take about $35,000 dollars for me to sing it in front of an audience; you'll never hear it.)

I also love to hear our National Anthem sung well.  So, when I arrived home I did some surfing to find the the best version of our National Anthem, my opinion.  One rule: it had to be a live performance.  I didn't want to hear someone who recorded the Anthem, I wanted someone who sang the Anthem.

I ended up with three very different but very chill-worthy versions.  Version 1: Carrie Underwood

A few things in favor of this version: First, it's Carrie Underwood, who by all rights should be my girlfriend. Second, she is from God's country, Oklahoma, never a bad thing. Third, Shawn Alexander is shown. He's a stud, and I have a signed football. Finally, and most impressive to me, it is obviously a true, raw live performance. Not many singers have the guts to sing the Anthem completely live in a big acoustical mess of a stadium. Well done, sweetie! Call me!

Version 2: Marvin Gaye

Are you kidding me? Marvin was amazingly cool, and his Anthem always gives me chills. Who else could have done this? Nobody, that's who. Pure talent, pure genius.

Version 3: Obviously there are other great versions, but one really stands out - Whitney Houston during the 1991 Super Bowl (right after the start of the first Gulf War). I remember watching this in my apartment whilst in graduate school. The war, the first Gulf War, produced very different feelings than the second Gulf War. Patriotism was running high, and it was a very emotional and somewhat scary time. There was a lot of back-story power to this version, and it is widely regarded as the single best Anthem performance:

These three, then, are my favorite versions.


Reader Comments (4)

First off.. glad you finally discovered Osaka. It's about time. I couldn't believe all those days off you wasted eating burgers and Mexican food. Erik and I have had a lot of good Japanese food.. but Osaka still ranks at the top. While saying that- we have yet to visit Japan. I am sure the vending machine meals would even surpass Osaka.

The Osaka staff knew us so well in the summers that we would be greeted by name. In fact they worried about us if we missed a week. My only complaint is that they play the same restaurant CD over and over...

Secondly- Whitney is by far my favorite.

Thirdly- We wish you could be here with us traveling Israel and Egypt. Right now our hotel overlooks the Red Sea.

November 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteryuriko

Marvin . . . don't know his music all that well - was certainly an attempt to be cool.

Carrie . . . well done. The Canadian flag in the background at one point was nice.

Whitney . . . hit it out of the park.

November 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Dixie Chicks, 2003 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU5AYcAhvyo&feature=PlayList&p=F9D0300ADA2BF19E&index=4

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrey

Whitney...is my vote for best. I remember when she sang it live. Gave me chills then...still gives me chills now!

December 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
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