My Way

By Lloyd Graff

Frank Sinatra was born 100 years ago this week and this anniversary has gotten a lot of play in the media. Sinatra has long fascinated me. Few entertainers of renown have been so obviously abrasive yet consistently popular. I still listen to Sinatra’s songs and I love his sense of phrasing, and his ability to sing a lyric so perfectly you think he’s singing straight to you. I have always loved to sing. Some of my happiest moments ever are of our family together around the piano at our home, my sister Susan playing flawlessly and us singing from the sheet music.

We’d do mostly songs from musicals, but there would usually be a little Sinatra music in the medley. We had to include “My Way” for the night to be complete.

One thing I learned this weekend while listening to Sinatra retrospectives was that he could not read music. He never wrote a song or penned a lyric. He just sang – but his genius was that he felt the music and could convey its essence like few other entertainers. I heard Andrea Bocelli on a PBS concert Sunday, the remarkable Italian singer. Amazing voice and wonderful musicality, but I felt I was listening to a purely technical singer, and the music did not have the connection to the lyrics that Sinatra had. Sinatra and his music were beautifully connected. That was his gift and that’s why we celebrate his 100th birthday.


Baseballs’ winter meetings are over and most of the best players have signed monster contracts. My team, the Cubs, signed outfielder Jason Hayward, and the most versatile player in the game, Ben Zobrist. On paper, they should win 100 games and go to the World Series, but the best players rarely make for the best team in Major League Baseball. Last year the Washington Nationals looked unbeatable going into the season and then laid an egg. Kansas City had no stars and weak starting pitching, but they clearly had the best “team” in baseball by October.

A team is more than stats and stars. It is about playing together unselfishly, submerging individual egotism and going for the win. Talent is obviously important, but when you have a lot of very good players like the Cubs do now, the task may be more to find the chemistry than to add another star. This is where the manager of the team is crucial over a long, long season. He understands the egos. He senses when players need to rest. He can accept the fact that players have slumps and then eventually come out of them. Except when they don’t, and you have to bench them or say goodbye.

And the young players have to accept their own failures, yet somehow believe they will get better.

I sometimes wish a business was like a baseball team where you could draft young talent, with the worst teams getting first crack at the best players. In the real world, the best teams have both more money and greater access to future stars. Weak businesses languish and then die.

Question 1: Do you like Christmas? Why? Why not?

Question 2: Is Adele the next Sinatra?

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12 thoughts on “My Way

  1. Jack

    1. I liked Christmas more as a kid. Lot of good memories. Now not so much. Don’t dare say Merry Christmas to the wrong person. May get sued.
    2. Adele? Can’t say, as I know nothing about her. Doubt she can sing Fly Me To The Moon.

    1. Bruskie

      As much as I always respect Jack’s opinions and perspectives, I have to take issue on this one! Adele’s not the next Sinatra but she could KILL “Fly Me to the Moon”!

  2. Tony

    When I was young I studied music, mainly the brass instruments, specifically trombone. Your mentioning Frank Sinatra’s phrasing reminded me of listening to him sing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and reading an article about him in which he said that he learned his phrasing from listening to Tommy Dorsey play the trombone.

  3. ed kays

    This is to address the Cubs getting Zobrist. The Royals will miss him. You are right about the Royals having the best TEAM. If you watched them play this season it was a group players who didn’t care who the hero was each night. Whoever it was, got the bath from Salve or if it was Salve, someone got him. The Royals will miss Ben, but as long as they keep that TEAM attitude I believe they will be good again next year.

  4. John

    LOVE winter and Christmas! Despite so much hatred towards faithful Christians and the demonization of them when they fail to meet a certain behavior goals. Thank you God for Christ! The retail commercialization of the season is a disgrace. It’s all about buying more stuff and less about Christ. Our family no longer gives into the retail shopping nonsense stuff, which most of it comes from China, a country so well known for criminalizing Christians. For us, no debt after the 1st, no pressure for buying, no crowded stores, no rude people, no trickery pricing and no pressure to eat industrialized high calorie massive high sugar “fat encouraging” pure garbage food so no worries about weight gain. It’s all about Christ, family time for us and good quality traditional home cooking from real wholesome ingredients.

    Who is Adel?? You talking about my neighbor 3 houses down??

    1. Jack

      Can I come to your house for Christmas.
      I still look forward to winter. All though the older I get the cold gets a little harder to take.

  5. Emily Halgrimson Post author

    Adela is amazing. Truly talented. Her live New York City concert the other night was inspired. I have another level of respect for her after that. Listening to Sinatra after a woman with her talent is cute.

  6. Peter Frow

    Q1 Yes, because somehow the grace expressed in Christ’s sacrificial giving of Himself manifests itself in a generous spirit among both believers and unbelievers.

    Q2 Can’t comment on Adele, but admire Sinatra’s phrasing and musicality. However “My way,” despite its popularity, expresses Sinatra’s world view, which is essentially egocentric and removes God to the periphery of life.

  7. Ric Gudell

    For a throwback, you might want to listen to Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. singing some of the Sinatra hits. Sinatra lives in Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.


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