Day 663: Hard Eights

Yesterday, when I was walking to work, one of my favorite tunes in the wide, wide, wide, wide, wide, wide, wide, wide world showed up in my earphones: “Hard Eights” by Lyle Mays (who, I think, plays “88s” like no other).

See!!!!!!!!! It is NOT going to be hard for me to incorporate 8’s into this blog post.  Already, I’ve used the word “wide” eight times, I’ve used “88s” as a slang term for the piano, AND I’ve used eight exclamation points in the beginning of this paragraph.

What IS going to be hard for me to do, unfortunately, is share Lyle Mays playing this amazing tune — which I’ve been loving for over 18 years. I’ve searched everywhere in the wide wide wide wide wide wide wide wide web, and I can NOT find a video of Lyle playing this incredibly hard and wonderful piece of music.

I did find less than eight YouTube videos of DIFF’RENT people performing “Hard Eights,” and it’s taken me about eight minutes, this morning, to decide which one to show you.

ade ishs Trio performance found here; other brave people playing this hard tune can be found here, here, here, and here.

I wonder if more than eight people will check out all those versions of “Hard Eights” on YouTube?  If you do, note that

  • Takayuki Sasahara & Reiko Sasahara do a nice job with “Hard Eights,” even though it can be hard to play something like that without an audience.*
  • the last YouTube video of that song is Out of the Norm, because it gives credit for “Hard Eights” away from Lyle, to the WRONG people. I find that hard, when people don’t get credit for their creativity.

While I was searching for “Hard Eights” as incomparably performed by Lyle Mays (a search I started over eight hours ago), I found this, instead:

According to that YouTube video description:

TEDxCaltech – Lyle Mays and Friends

Lyle Mays and friends explore music based on physics equations, Feynman’s speech patterns and more, using improvisation, algorithmic composition, live video mixing, and a custom designed linked laptop network.

At about 13:18 in that video, Lyle starts playing some other music very familiar to — and loved by —  me.

I shall now show you eight pictures I easily took, yesterday, inspired by “Hard Eights.”


I wonder what the iPhone 8 is going to be like?  I wonder if it will actually be able to understand me when I’m friggin’ trying to call somebody by speaking aloud the approximately eight digits in a phone number??!!??!!


I found this in my mailbox at work. It was a chocolate reward, from my supervisors, for exceeding productivity expectations for how many people I saw for therapy last month (almost the eighth month of the year, but not quite). I can’t help but notice that there are no eights in the number of people I saw during the month of September, at a large hospital-based primary care practice,  in individual therapy and in therapy groups. I thought I might make some sort of 8-times show-off-y comment about that unexpectedly large number (using, say, base 2 numbers) but ……… forget it.

I’m really pushing it, aren’t I, trying to get eights into this post?  Maybe I should just move on to the next photo:


This is an inside look at the candy reward I got, which was in approximately eight pieces. Anybody want to guess how many minutes went by before I 8 this?


This shows me copying some materials for my sold-out presentation about the Koplow Method for group therapy, coming up in less than 28 hours.  Hey! Notice all the 8’s in that photo!


On my way to lunch, in the hospital cafeteria, I snapped this photo of some art on the wall.  I heard a familiar voice say, “That’s a beautiful one, isn’t it?”  It was the beautiful Louise, who showed me this photo of her orchid:


I saw almost eight blossoms on that beautiful flower.

Okay!  I have to choose two more pictures, to make this post complete.IMG_1316

I made this, yesterday, for my presentation tomorrow. A similar sign hangs in every room where I do my therapy groups. Some people think that eight-letter word is spelled incorrectly. It’s not.

I’m not sure if I’ll use that sign tomorrow. If I need it, I’ll have it.

Last photo? Eight letters I hope I hear tomorrow (and which I would say if I met, in person, all the musicians in this blog post today):


8,888,888 thanks to all who helped me create this post today (which I’m publishing at 9:48 without proofreading) AND to anybody who-ever-reads-this-post-at-any-time (including you, you, you, you, you, you, you, and you!).

* More than eight minutes after I published this post, I heard the ending of Takayuki Sasahara & Reiko Sasahara’s performance of “Hard Eights,” and discovered they WERE performing in front of an audience. Was it hard for me to admit my mistake here?  No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Am I glad I did? Eight times yes.

** On December 22, 2015, more than 2 years after I published this “Hard Eights” post, I discovered that Lyle Mays playing this amazing number had finally shown up on YouTube.  I am more than eight times happy to include that, here and now ***

*** When I visited here after Lyle’s death on February 10, 2020, I discovered that the above link was no longer working. Some things are especially hard, like the loss of Lyle. Here‘s my latest attempt to share the genius of the late, great Lyle Mays with “Hard Eights”:

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Day 663: Hard Eights

  1. Hard Eights was great….thank you for some new ideas for fresh background music.

  2. Yes, people will have to search out the audio-only version of “Hard Eights” to hear Mr. Lyle Mays’ play his composition on the 88s, Ann. Wait, because you have posted YouTube videos for me in the comment box on my site at least eight times, I have searched out a link of “Fictionary” on CD Universe, where a click below will allow anybody to hear at least eight seconds of Mays’ great key work. Or all of it because they can purchase the album or the song, of course.

    Break a leg tomorrow, Ann, when your crowd will be sold-out plus 8 in the aisles.

    • I was noticing, Mark, that it was taking more than the usual time between your “like” and your comment today. I was thinking, “Oh, boy. Mark is thinking, writing, or list’ning to my post, even more than usual!” it might have taken you a full eight minutes (but who’s counting?) to compose and post your comment here today.

      I notice — in your much-appreciated link to Lyle’s “Fictionary” here — the tune after “Hard Eights” is “Something Left Unsaid.” Here’s what’s left unsaid for me, right now: Thank you, Mark, for all the time you’ve spent reading and adding 8 times value to my posts (and for all your posts, too).

  3. I am continually amazed at how you can take a word and run with it so well. I may try it as a challenge to myself one day. I super enjoyed this.

    • I’m super glad you did. And yes!!!!!!!! Run with something, as fast as you can. It’s fun. (The secret is letting go of self judgment and perfectionism as you do it.)

  4. My parents often mentioned Gene Krupa’s phenomenal drumming skills on “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar.” Great post, Ann. By the way, I always think I’m spelling ‘judgment’ wrong and want to stick an ‘e’ in between the ‘d’ and the ‘g’. 😉

    I always find the TED talks inspirational and enjoyed your post on Lyle Mays and Friends.

    • I always enjoy your comments, Judy.

      I just looked for Gene Krupa playing “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar” but — as happened with this post — I couldn’t find what I was looking for. However, I found this great clip:

    • OK. My spelling skills are worse than I thought. I was trying to sleep and realized that what I meant was I always want to stick and “e’ between the “g” and “m” in judgment. Aaarrgghh!

      • Judy! I completely understood what you meant (and didn’t even notice any problem with the way you communicated). I’m so glad you like the Krupa Klip.

  5. Never heard “Hard Eights” until now. Loved it. Thanks for the introduction Ann

  6. Ann,
    Have you ever played the card game, “Crazy 8’s?”

  7. Hope things went well today!

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