Monday, December 21, 2015

To the Moon: Celebrating 100 Years of Frank Sinatra

Legends will never be forgotten. Frank Sinatra was, indeed, one of the best musicians that marked an impact on the hearts of many. The songs he wrote and sang stirred the emotions of his listeners. As the whole world marked his centennial birth anniversary, artists from different musical backgrounds came together to give him the tribute he deserves.

Francis Albert “Frank” Sinatra was born on Dec. 12, 1915 in New Jersey. Sinatra first released his solo album entitled “The Voice of Frank Sinatra” in 1946. His music was well received and loved by many—regardless of the people’s preference for genre.

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He was a total performer—he charmed his audience with marvelous singing style and tap dancing skills. He also played instruments and starred in many different musicals and movies. His talent was never unnoticed, as he was able to bag three Golden Globes and 13 Grammys in his lifetime. Because of his massive contribution to American pop culture and the music industry, he was given a number of honorary doctorate degrees, a Kennedy Center honor, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as an Order of Merit awarded by the Italian government.

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To celebrate Sinatra’s wonderful years, people paid tribute to the musical legend by releasing centennial albums, concerts, as well as TV specials, keeping his memory alive.

Christopher J. Keehner here. Learn more about my passion for jazz music when you connect with me on Google+.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Legacy of Etta James: The Sassy Songbird of Jazz

Everyone knows her for her signature hit, “At last.” With her passionate vocals and sweeping orchestration, her rendition stood the test of time to the point where many listeners thought that she wrote it. For the record, At Last is not an Etta James original. It is a song written in the 1940s for the musical film, “Orchestra Wives.”

Although her name would be forever linked to the song, there is actually more to Etta James than what her listeners pigeonhole her for. Try digging a little deeper and you will see a lively, bold, and full spirited singer.

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 Using her whole heart, Etta sang with such depth. You could feel her pain, her joy, her sorrow and her hope. With a single tune and phrase, she could stop your heart with every rhythm and note that comes from within her soul.

In a musical era when women were expected to be cool, pretty and nice, she was fearless and would always make you wonder how she channels that vast well of emotion. To see and experience what I am talking about, visit YouTube and watch her string of bluesy and jazzy hits like “All I Could Do Was Cry,” “Trust In Me” and “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.”

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 The thing, however, that makes her truly special is her persona as a singer. She never hides the meanings of songs. Music styles may have changed, but Etta has stuck to her hard-charging approach throughout her career.

Hey there! Chrisopher J. Keehner here, a Philadelphia businessman with a passion for sports and Jazz. I share more articles on jazz and sports here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Business Hacks: How to Grow Your Small Business

Starting a business is no easy endeavor. Spotting a great business idea from others is hard enough, trying to grow the business is another hurdle. The following are business hacks for growing your company:

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Develop and maintain your business mission and vision

Starting a business without a solid plan is a recipe for disaster. It's important to establish the basic mission and vision to identify priorities easily and make goal planning and execution much smoother.
Choose the right team

Some startups make the mistake of hiring for convenience but as entrepreneurs, one should never settle for anyone less than best. Your starting team will make or break your new business.

Embrace networking and social media

Networking is a vital part of the business and attending functions, seminars, and other social gatherings can help you do this. With the rise of social media as a legitimate business instrument, it has become imperative for businesses to utilize as an avenue for advertising and to create and manage connections.

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Use technology to your advantage

Social media isn't the only technology you can use for your business. Technology can make work easier and faster helping you be productive and efficient.

Hey, Christopher J. Keehner here! Learn more about business by subscribing to my blog.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Absolute beauty in jazz and EDM fusion

We live in a world that is constantly changing -- lifestyle, technology, knowledge and, of course, music. Jazz has had the nasty habit of not blending well with other kinds of music, but others find a way to create an exemption. Artists like DJ Quantic and Robert Glasper are stepping up the bar with jazz music by combining the soulful jazz with the electric dance music (EDM), giving birth to "Nu Jazz."
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At first, the idea of mixing soulful and slow music of jazz with the sharp, electric, and fast tempo of EDM seems off-putting, mainly because the two genres are complete polar opposite, but with careful tweaks, the impossible has been deemed possible. The fusion has already sparked a trend that today’s DJs start investing in adding country and jazz samples or focus on electro-house music. All of which today’s generation seems to enjoy.

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But DJs nowadays like to include samples in their mixes that we've heard of R&B, spoken word and country, but none had the glitter that Nu Jazz brings. In fact, such movement has brought forth new artists and a fresh opportunity to create music that combines our beloved jazz with the energy of dance music resulting in a soothing sound that is both energetic and meaningful. And I thank the musicians who found a way to create such a perfect genre, for, without them, the jazz industry wouldn't have had a much larger following now.

To others, jazz is just a type of music, but to aficionados like me, it is life and soul. My name is Christopher J. Keehner, and for more quick reads on jazz, follow me on Twitter.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Another Reason To Love The Eagles: Their Youth Football Clinics

The Philadelphia Eagles are starting their youth football clinics again, this year returning to Newton Friends School from July 20 to July 24. Eagles alumni like Bill Bergey, Ben Hawkins, Vince Papale, Gary Cobb, and Fred Barnett will coach 14 different Philadelphia-area locations this summer. In fact, one lucky kid, Holden Daggett won a football signed by former Eagles head coach, Dick Vermeil.
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These youth summer clinics encourage the local youth to know more about football and ignite their passions for the sport. Coaches are both former and current players on the Lower Merion High School football team. Boys from elementary to middle school can participate and are subjected to two hours of drilling and scrimmaging. After the camp, the boys gather for a picture and join a raffle (all the players went home with a prize).

The football – or ‘footeball’ (named to honor the late Dr. Joseph Foote, an avid football fan) – clinic is a fantastic way to engage young boys in sport. From experience, I found that even if these boys do not pursue a professional sports career in the future, it is enough that they participated. Summer clinics are a way to learn life skills such as teamwork and goal-setting as well. Plus, learning from the greats fosters better participation and a sense of belonging. These experiences are one in a lifetime, and I am proud to be Eagles fan.

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As a Philadelphia family man, I hold everything local with esteem. My name is Christopher Keehner and I am an Eagles fan. Learn more about my team by liking this Facebook page.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finding the perfect balance between fatherhood and work

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It's common nowadays for families to be dual earners, which means that both parents have either a full-time or part-time job. Such setup can cause a disturbance in the life and work balance.

We are all aware of the importance of a father's presence as a child is growing up, so how do you strike a balance between parenting and your career? Here are a three options:

Discuss it with your partner

Talking about when you want to have children is a decision that a couple must decide together. Becoming parents is a significant step, and it requires proper planning and preparation. Consider your career and whether or not it is conducive for fatherhood. A job that needs you to be away from home at long intervals may not be the most appropriate career choice. These are all big decisions that must be openly discussed with your significant other.

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Learn to manage your time

There are 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, and 365 days in a year but even so, people often feel like there's not enough time to accomplish the things they need to do. It is, therefore, imperative that you learn proper time management. Providing time for work, your kids, and yourself is a huge challenge but it can be done.

Find time to eat together

It's important to partake in dinner with your family. This is the perfect time to ask about their day or learn something new about them. Try having at least one meal with the family in a day so you can foster honesty and open communication with your children and spouse.

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I'm Christopher J. Keehner, a father and a businessman. If you enjoyed my blog, then you should definitely visit my Google+ page for more interesting stories on fatherhood and other related topics.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

REPOST: Pope Francis's 7 Tips for Being a Good Father

Fatherhood is both a privilege and a responsibility. The father of the catholic church, Pope Francis, shares some tips on being a good father in this Aleteia article.

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Pope Francis dedicated an excellent reflection to the beauty of fatherhood and the danger of absent fathers.

On two occasions, this past January 28 and February 4, he has spoken particularly eloquently, moved by the harm that so many families suffer.

"Do you play with your children? Do you visit your ill or elderly parents? Do you listen to teenagers and young adults when they speak to you? Or perhaps you are a father who is only dedicated to work, losing what is essential?"

But at the same time, the Pope masterfully shows the beauty of fatherhood reminding us that "St. Joseph was also tempted to leave Mary, when he found out she was pregnant."

Here are 7 tips from Pope Francis for being better fathers and for growing along with your children:

1. A father doesn't want children just like himself, but wise and free ones:

"I will be happy every time I see you act with wisdom, and I will be moved every time that I hear you speak with rectitude."

"And that you might be like this, [wise,] I taught you the things you didn’t know, I corrected the errors you didn’t see. I made you feel a profound and at the same time discrete affection."

2. Rigor and steadfastness, rather than complicity and protection. Better to be a misunderstood father than a weak one.

"I gave you a testimony of rigour and steadfastness that perhaps you didn’t understand, when you would have liked only complicity and protection."

"A father knows all too well what it costs to hand down this heritage: how close, how gentle and how firm to be. But what consolation and what recompense he receives when the children honour this legacy! It is a joy that rewards all the toil, that overcomes every misunderstanding and heals every wound."

3. A father who is present in the family, close to his wife and children

A father who is present in the family should be "close to his wife, to share everything, joy and sorrow, hope and hardship. And ... he [should] be close to his children as they grow..."

A father who is always present: "when they play and when they strive, when they are carefree and when they are distressed, when they are talkative and when they are silent, when they are daring and when they are afraid, when they take a wrong step and when they find their path again."

4. A father who is present is not necessarily a controlling father

"To say 'present' is not to say 'controlling'! Fathers who are too controlling cancel out their children, they don't let them develop."

5. A good father is a patient father

The Pope brought to mind "that extraordinary parable of the 'prodigal son', or better yet of the 'merciful father', which we find in the Gospel of Luke in chapter 15 (cf. 15:11-32). What dignity and what tenderness there is in the expectation of that father, who stands at the door of the house waiting for his son to return! Fathers must be patient. Often there is nothing else to do but wait; pray and wait with patience, gentleness, magnanimity and mercy."

6. Know how to forgive and not humiliate, but without being weak or complacent

"A good father knows how to wait and knows how to forgive from the depths of his heart. Certainly, he also knows how to correct with firmness: he is not a weak father, submissive and sentimental. The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing himself."

7. The Our Father is brought to life in fatherhood that is forgiving of failure

"Without the grace that comes from the Father who is in Heaven, fathers loose courage, and abandon camp. But children need to find a father waiting for them when they come home after failing. They will do everything not to admit it, not to show it, but they need it; and not to find it opens wounds in them that are difficult to heal."

Follow this Christopher J. Keehner Twitter account to learn more about fatherhood and the responsibilities that go with it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fatherhood on film: Five best movies about dads

Relationships between a father and his family have always been considered a cinematic favorite, especially in films that depict hope, drama, resentment and resolution. There’s just something about a scene that involves a father and his kids that tugs at the heartstrings.

Here are five movies about dads that show them in a positive light:

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Father of the Bride (1991). In this remake of the 1950 original movie of the same title, Steve Martin plays George Banks, who starts to have letting-go issues as his oldest daughter Annie is about to get married.

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962). This book adaptation tells the story of Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Puck), a single father, sharp shooter, and a lawyer who remains devoted and protective of his children especially during that time of racial prejudice.

Pursuit of Happiness (2006). Real-life father-and-son Will Smith and Jaden Smith star in this biographical drama based on multi-millionaire Chris Gardner’s one-year struggle with homelessness with his son Christopher Jr. This movie shows the lengths a father goes to for his son, never abandoning him despite the financial crisis.

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Finding Nemo (2003). This Pixar animation is about Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), a clown fish who loses his family in a barracuda attack. The only one to survive is Nemo, who is frustrated at his dad’s neurotic over-protectiveness. When Nemo gets abducted by divers, Marlin crosses seas and oceans to find him.

The Godfather (1972). Actor Marlon Brando stars as Vito Corleone, the aging Don of a New York Crime family, who wants to pass on the legacy to his reluctant son Michael (played by Al Pacino). This movie shows a great deal about family values that can soften the hearts of even the toughest mafia bosses. This is also the source of Vito’s famous fatherhood quote - “a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”

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What’s your favorite fatherhood film?

Hi! I’m Christopher J. Keehner, and I’m a family man running a business in Philadelphia. Follow me on Facebook for more discussion on fatherhood and family.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Fatherhood tips: How to be a great dad

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It's not so easy being a father but that’s not an excuse to run away from the responsibility of becoming one. A good father can make all the difference in the life of a child. There's no one-way to ensure that you'll be a great dad but here are a few tips to help steer you in the right direction:

Discipline with love

Being a disciplinarian is one of the many roles fatherhood has in store for men. This doesn't mean that you should punish your children for their small mistakes. Children need guidance and laying out clear, reasonable limitations for them will help make them better people. Sometimes they need tough love coming from daddy but make sure that they also get positive reinforcement for doing a good job.

Make time for your children

While it's a father's job to be a provider for his family, working all day everyday without setting aside time for your children is a big no-no. Children, especially your sons, need the presence of their fathers in their lives. Make time for you and your family to bond and be involved with your children's affairs. They will love and respect you for that.

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Be a teacher and a role model

Children need their parents to set a good example for them and to teach them right from wrong. A father's job is to show his children to be honest, humble and responsible members of society. He should lead by example and be a role model for his children to emulate.

Be open-minded

A father should understand that his children will not be exactly like him. Even if you've named him your junior, it's not a guarantee that he will like the same things you do and be your mini-me. You should be open to the changing times and how your children act because it's the norm for their generation. Do not seek to change your children's personality to match your ideals and standards but instead accept them as they are because you should love all your children unconditionally.

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My name is Christopher J. Keehner and I'm a family man running my own business. Follow me on Twitter where I share my daily thoughts on fatherhood and raising children.