Are your isms in check?

30 10 2011

Are your isms in check?

Communism is a socioeconomic  structure and political ideology that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian, classless, stateless, society based on common ownership and control of the means of production and property in general.  Karl Marx posited that communism would be the final stage in human society, which would be achieved through a proletarian revolution and only becoming possible after a socialist stage develops the productive forces, leading to a superabundance of goods and services.  “Pure communism” in the Marxian sense refers to a classless, stateless and oppression-free society where decisions on what to produce and what policies to pursue are made democratically, allowing every member of society to participate in the decision making process in both the political and the economic spheres of life.  In modern usage, communism is often used to refer to Bolshevism or Marxism-Leninism and the policies of various communist states which had government ownership of all the means of production and centrally planned economies.

Socialism refers to various theories of economic organization advocating public or direct worker ownership and administration of the means of production and allocation of resources, and a society characterized by equal access to resources  for all individuals with a method of compensation based on the amount of labor expended. Most socialists share the view that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital  and derives its wealth through exploration, creates an unequalsociety, does not provide equal opportunities for everyone to maximise their potentialities and does not utilize technology and resources to their maximum potential nor in the interests of the public. Socialism is not a concrete philosophy of fixed doctrine and programme; its branches advocate a degree of social interventionsimand economic rationalization (usually in the form of economic planning), but sometimes oppose each other. A dividing feature of the socialist movement is the split between reformists and revolutionaries  on how a socialist economy should be established. Some socialists advocate complete nationalizationof the means of production, distribution, and exchange; others advocate state control of capital within the framework of a market economy. The first socialists predicted a world improved by harnessing technology and combining it with better social organization, and many contemporary socialists share this belief. Early socialist thinkers tended to favor an authentic meritocracy combined with rational social planning, while many modern socialists have a more egalitarian approach. Valdimir  Lenin, drawing on Karl Marx’s  ideas of “lower” and “upper” stages of socialism, defined “socialism” as a transitional stage between capitalism and communism.

Capitalism is an economic and social system in which capital, the non-labor factors of production, is privately controlled; labor,   goods and capital are traded in markets; and profits  distributed to owners or invested in technologies and industries. There is no consensus on capitalism nor how it should be used as an analytical category. There are a variety of historical cases over which it is applied, varying in time, geography, politics and culture. Economists and historians have taken different perspectives on the analysis of capitalism. Scholars in the social sciences, including historians, economic sociologists, economists, anthropologists and philosophers have debated over how to define capitalism, however there is little controversy that private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit in a market, and prices and wages are elements of capitalism. Economists usually put emphasis on the marketmechanism, degree of government control over markets, and property rights, while most political economists emphasize private property, power, relations, wage labor, and class.  The extent to which different markets are “free”, as well as the rules determining what may and may not be private property, is a matter of politics and policy and many states have what are termed “mixed economies”.

Corporatism is related to the sociological concept of structural functionalism. Corporate social interaction is common within related groups.  Corporatism, also known as corporativism, is a system of economic, political, or social organization that views a community as a body.  Formal corporatist models are based upon the contract of corporate groups such as agricultural, business, ethnic, military, scientific, or religious affiliations, into a collective body. One of the most prominent forms of corporatism is economic triparism involving negotiations between business, labour, and state interest groups to set economic policy. In contemporary usage, “corporatism” is often incorrectly used as a pejorative term against the domination of politics by the interests of private business corporations; however, such a system would be more accurately described as a form of corporatocracy. Corporatocracy (or corpocracy) is a form of government where corporations/conglomerates and/or government entities with private components, control the direction and governance of a country. Corporatist views of community and social interaction are common in many major world religions and Corporatism has been utilized by many ideologies across the political spectrum including; absolutism, capitalism, socialism, fascism, social democracy, conservatism and liberalism.  Meanwhile, the concept of corpocracy allows corporations to provide financial support to competing political parties and major political party candidates.  This allows the corporations to hedge their bets on the outcome of an election so that they are assured to have a winner who is indebted to them. As politicians are increasingly dependent on campaign contributions to become elected, their objectiveness on issues which concern corporate interests is compromised.

Realism is based on thoughts/deductions from the exercise of using common logic when studying real situations.  Direct realists might claim that indirect realists are confused about conventional idioms such as indirect perception.  An example of indirect perception is the media.   Optimism is defined as ” having hopefulness and confidence about the future or successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favorable or hopeful view.” Pessimism is the opposite of optimism and is a state of mind that sees everything in a negative light.  The most common known example of optimism v/s pessimism is the age old question “Is the glass half full or half empty?”  Depending on one’s answer, it was decided if one was pessimistic or optimistic.  Obviously, the one who sees the glass as half full is optimistic while the one who sees it as half empty is pessimistic.  But, what about the one who simply sees 4 oz of liquid in a 8 oz glass? That is a realist! While optomists see things in an positive light and pessimists see things in negative light, the mildly discontented grey area in between in fact reflects the most accurate perception of reality.

“Pigs (3 different ones)” is track 3 on the Animals album, a concept album by Pink Floyd based on the fiction novel Animal Farm by George Orwell which tells the tale of farm animals rebelling against humans to form a social system called “animalism”.  In the preface of a 1947  edition of Animal Farm Orwell explained how escaping the communist purges in Spain taught him “how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries.” In that preface Orwell also described what gave him the idea of setting the book on a farm by stating; “I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.”

lyrics to “Pigs (3 different ones)”
Big man, pig man
Ha, ha, charade you are
You well heeled big wheel
Ha, ha, charade you are
And when your hand is on your heart
You’re nearly a good laugh
Almost a joker
With your head down in the pig bin
Saying ‘Keep on digging’
Pig stain on your fat chin
What do you hope to find
Down in the pig mine?
You’re nearly a laugh
You’re nearly a laugh
But you’re really a cry

Bus stop rat bag
Ha, ha, charade you are
You fucked up old hag
Ha, ha, charade you are
You radiate cold shafts of broken glass
You’re nearly a good laugh
Almost worth a quick grin
You like the feel of steel
You’re hot stuff with a hatpin
And good fun with a hand gun
You’re nearly a laugh
You’re nearly a laugh
But you’re really a cry

Hey you, Whitehouse
Ha, ha, charade you are
You house proud town mouse
Ha, ha, charade you are
You’re trying to keep our feelings off the street
You’re nearly a real treat
All tight lips and cold feet
And do you feel abused?
You got to stem the evil tide
And keep it all on the inside
Mary you’re nearly a treat
Mary you’re nearly a treat
But you’re really a cry





When good times go bad

3 08 2011

It was a special event.  The kind you dress up for.  The kind, when you’re an adult, is less frequent because you don’t have proms, dances or any of this anymore.  So, when you do get to wear a little black dress, strappy black stilettos, and pearls … when you do get to carry a little black sequined purse … well, it’s something to get excited about.  It was this kind of event.  Fine dining and champagne followed by 3rd row seats (right beside the orchestra pit) for the Moody Blues at the Sanger in New Orleans.  The concert itself was not a dress event, mind you, but boasted the class of people who would dress for such an occasion and frankly if there’s even a hint at the opportunity to dress up, I’m all over it.  But, dressing up wasn’t the biggest issue.  Fine dining wasn’t the big issue (though one of the fastest ways to my heart). Wanting the night to be special wasn’t the biggest issue.  It was all about seeing a brilliant band playing with an orchestra in a beautiful, classic and personal setting that made it worth the anticipation.

I’m a huge concert goer, as you can plainly see from the likes of my page.  More commonly I attend such shows as Aerosmith, AC/DC, Ratt, Motley Crue, ZZ Top, and the like.  These types of shows are more frequent for one, and my taste is mostly based in that of rock and roll.  Though I do like a very wide variety of music, but most bands that I like do not tour.  Now, when I go to a good old fashioned rock show I expect good old fashioned rockers.  We’re all geared up in our best concert shirts, holey jeans and biker boots.  We’re ready for action.  We may get caught up in a brawl or have a draft beer spilled on us … and if we’re lucky that will be the worst of what lands on us.  But the Moody Blues is a very different scene.  You don’t expect Lynard Skynard fans at a Moody Blues show, but if they are there … those with diverse taste like myself … you expect them to act like me, or at least I do.  I expect that if someone has enough taste and intelligence to appreciate anything from Skynard to the Moody Blues then they know the very clear differences between songs like “Gimmie Three Steps” v/s “Tuesday Afternoon”.  Right?!? This would mean one would behave differently at a show boasting an orchestra in a beautiful theater v/s the behavior at a stadium filled with pot smoke and stacks of speakers.  But anyway…

Our group excitedly took our seats early enough to watch the orchestra practice.  We could actually read the sheet music from our seats.  It was so exciting.  This was our usual outing.  A group of 6 of us who are huge Moody Blues fans who get together and make a big night out of it each time they come.  This would be our third time to see them together over a 10 year span.  They don’t come often.  In fact this was about 12 years ago and I think they have only come to this area again once since then.  Anyway, we were all looking fancy and enjoying ourselves … anticipating the concert.  Now, please don’t think I’m judgmental or a snob … but I couldn’t help but be taken aback when the couple seated behind us arrived to take their seats.  They were both overweight and dressed in their best red neck rocker gear.  She was wearing a lovely Lynard Skynard T-shirt with the sides cut out so that is would hang slightly loose over her barreling bounds of pale white fat rolls, and clearly revealing her black lace bra from either side of the shirt.  She also boasted a tight, leather, mini-skirt with leather biker boots.  Her belly peered out from under her designer t-shirt, laying gently atop the waist of her skirt.  She struggled to squeeze into the theater seat probably as hard as she struggled to squeeze into that skirt.  Her date was a complementary match to her as he was also rather large, wearing a matching Skynard T, jeans and a blue jean vest with the sleeves cut off leaving frayed edges and a trucker hat (before that was the in thing to wear, mind you) that boasted a rebel flag.  Don’t get me wrong, their attire did not bother me nor did the fact that they were overweight.  Sure, they stuck out like sore thumbs, but appearance really means nothing to me.  It’s something I can look away from and not think twice about … which is exactly what I did.  I looked away and went back to anticipating a great show as our group discussed previous shows and took note of the playlist that we could clearly see.  As time passed, I couldn’t help but to overhear the couple behind us in their own chat about anticipation.  I’m not one to eavesdrop, well … not one to eavesdrop conversations that have nothing to do with me anyway (tee hee) but I couldn’t help but hear them as they excitedly discussed their most repulsive plan.  “No!” I cried in my mind “God help me, please let their plan fail miserably!” Now I know some of you crazy overly open minded people will say that I was being selfish or snobby for not wanting them to succeed … you may think I’m a prude, but seriously … I think there is a time and place for certain activities and sitting behind me at a Moody Blues concert is not the time or the place to have sex, which is exxxxxxxxxxactly what they were planning.  Oh how my stomach churned at the very thought of this unfolding.  You see, apparently, “Knight’s in White Satin” was a meaningful song to this couple and the whole purpose of them attending this concert was not to enjoy a beautiful musical event, but to make sweet love when the band preformed “Knights in White Satin.” They were not Moody Blues fans, they were just a couple with a plan to do something outrageous because it had a certain value to them and that was it! Period! Our group began to cringe as we all couldn’t help but hear their plan unfold in dirty, disgusting detail.  We all grumbled softly to each other, hoping they would change their minds about their public display of love during such a respectable event.

Of course, the show began without a hitch.  Fantastic as always, with the crowd in awe.  Our group was enthusiastically enjoying themselves, and whispering only a few comments here and there about how great the performance was.  Then, it happened … a song I once loved began to play.  I heard the couple shuffling into action behind us and cut my eyes to my buddy, Walt, seated beside me.  He shook his head and glanced at the floor.  As much as I struggled to continue to enjoy the performance, the sound of blubbering, sweaty fat smacking together with God awful moaning and groaning bellowed from behind … and an occasional thrust against the back of my seat throwing me forward.  It was unbearable.  Seriously unbearable! I don’t like the sound of anyone having sex …. Except, of course, myself! I don’t like it even more when I am at an event that I’ve paid quite a bit of money to enjoy … an event that I paid to listen to and enjoy … an event that I want to remember for being beautiful, not awful.   But it happened, none the less, and scarred me for life.  To this day, unfortunately, I can not hear “Knights in White Satin” without envisioning this hideous duo getting it on.  So, as a Moody Blues fan, people are often surprised when I say I don’t like “Knights in White Satin”.  “What?!?! How could you not like their biggest hit?!?!?!” They ask in shock.  Then I have to explain the painful story of when good times, like this, go bad … many laugh at my torrid tale, but if it were you who had to hear, smell and be consistently thrust forward in your seat by this revolting sexual act during such a beautiful song you too would no longer like the song.  (Trust me, the only thing worse than the sound of others having sex is the smell of others having sex!!)

Now I thought I would give you all a chuckle, and I know I’ve needed one because the news has been rather tragic lately where I live.  A topic I have chosen to avoid at this time here; the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  If you have interest in this topic, you can read what I have written here: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=48953274&blogId=533668062

But, in the meantime, I thought we’d have a little fun … so, Have you ever had a bad concert experience like this? I’ve been stepped on, puked on and such, but none of that really scared me quite like this.  Have you ever done anything like this? I’ve never had sex at a concert, maybe because I’m too consumed with the concert to be distracted by something as silly as sex.  Lol.  Have you ever been trapped in a situation where someone funky was having funky sex near you? Thank God this is the only time I’ve been in such a situation.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my painful recollection of this life changing experience … LOL

And for those who don’t know the song, here you go…





karma in a brown paper bag

4 07 2011

I blog here & on myspace as many folks know.  I told myself I would use this new blog location for fun blogs, fiction, funny stories and such and try not to get political here or write my editorials here like I do over there.  Of course, recently, with this disasterous oil volcano spewing into the Gulf of Mexico I couldn’t help but write about it here, there and everywhere in an attempt to spread the word.  But, in these dark days even though I know it is important to spread the word I also know that sometimes we need a good laugh.  I certainly know I do because lately this situation has put my in a somewhat depressive state and I need a little escape.  That being said, most of my readers know I love to post funny stories from my past that usually poke fun at moi but are always good for a laugh.  This one is no exception, so please enjoy a tale that I call…

Karma in a brown paper bag

TJ & I were walking home from school one day in the fall of ‘87.  It was about a 3 mile walk for us and we lived a street apart.  We weren’t the best or worst of friends, just 2 kids who lived near each other and would sometimes walk together.  We were both sophomores, had a couple of classes together, no big deal.

All the cool kids were passing us by in their cars, playing loud music and being cooler than us.  We would shrug our shoulders and keep on truckin’.  Just another day in the life of the underclassmen (or women in my case).

For some weird reason, a brown paper bag in the ditch caught my eye.
“I wonder what’s in it?” I pointed it out to TJ.
“Who cares?” He replied.
But something drove me to it.  I don’t know why, but I just had to look inside.  Annoyed, TJ waited for me to check the bag.
“Holy shit!” I gasped when I looked inside.
“What is it?” Suddenly he was interested.
“You won’t believe it!” I exclaimed as he joined me to peer into the bag.
“Hooooollllllllly shit!” He smiled wide. “Hurry up, let’s get outta here!”

We quickly stuffed our treasure into his book bag and rushed to his house, beaming!

Fortunately, TJ was a latch-key-kid … for those of you who remember that old 80’s term.  A kid who’s parents were still at work when he’d get home from school.  So, there we sat, just the two of us, at his kitchen table … pouring the contents of the brown paper bag onto the table.

“Unbelievable!” He gasped.
There sat before us, a gallon sized ziplock bag stuffed with marijuana, rolling papers, 2 cassettes and a scale.  I jumped for the cassettes, one was Ratt’s “Invasion of your Privacy” and the other was AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. 
“Cool!” I exclaimed.  “I’ll take the Ratt!”
“That’s good, I wanted the AC/DC,” He said.  “But, what are we gonna do with the rest of it?”
“Let’s split it up!” I said, logically.
“And then?” He asked.
“And then we do whatever we want with it,” I said.  “But we don’t tell anyone where we found it.”

Yeah, I you had to think someone was looking for that shit! I mean, that was a hellova lot of pot, right???

“All right,” TJ said.  “Deal!”
So, we shook on it and began splitting it up.

Now, at this stage in our lives … TJ and I were not all that familiar with pot.  I mean, sure, as you know from my previously mentioned blog I’d tried it a lil’ bit … but I wasn’t the type of person who needed at least a half a’ pound of marijuana on hand, so there was no way I was interested in keeping my half.  I saw it as a career opportunity … but it was far more than that …

Nothing brings popularity faster than being the gal with all the killer weed.
Suddenly, hot senior boys were carrying my books to class for me, sitting with me at lunch and being my friends.  Yep, that’s right, dorky little Susan was suddenly the most popular chick in school … if only till it was sold out … at least, for a moment, everyone was abuzz about my fame among the famous.

So there I was, high rolling in the dough and being doted on by hot senior dudes … ahh, it was the life … at least for a couple of months anyway.

But, alas, in the end … all that was left was a Ratt tape and a few bucks once the well ran dry.  I still have no idea what TJ did with his half.  I still have no idea who was probably looking for that great, lost bag of weed, but I did often wonder … would they ever get back at me if they found out I sold all their goods and was rocking out to their Ratt? Hmmmm…

So, there we were, about one year later … my good friend Sherrie and I, once again walking home from school along the same ol’ path that TJ and I walked.  She knew the infamous story about the brown paper bag and the glory days it brought to me, so when we stumbled upon yet another brown paper bag in a ditch yet again she encouraged me to check it out.  It didn’t take much encouragement as I had been so lucky in the past, I couldn’t resist wondering if lightening would truly strike twice.

As I eagerly and hopefully opened the back, she watched to make sure no one was spying.
“Ahhhhhhh!” I screamed and quickly threw the bag down and began to run.
She ran with me.
“My God!” She exclaimed.  “What the hell was in the bag??”
“It was a dead half rat!” I explained.
She stopped cold in her tracks. “Do what?”
“A dead half rat,” I said.  “A rat, bloody and cut in half.”
“Bullshit!” She argued.  “Who the hell would cut a rat in half and throw it in a bag on side of the road?”
“I have no idea!” I said.  “But it was the rear end, all bloody and with his tail and stuff… it was awful!”
“That doesn’t make sense!” She argued …

And we argued for about a half a mile when finally we bet on it and we had to turn around so she could see for herself.
“You’re going to be sorry,” I warned her as she opened the bag.
I closed my eyes, waiting for her shrill …
waiting…
waiting…
And suddenly, she burst into wild laughter.
I opened my eyes and peered over at her as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“A dead half rat, huh?” she choked between laughs.
“You think it’s funny?!?” I was stunned.
“It’s a used tampon, you dumb ass!” She replied … and continued to laugh all the way home…

And so there it was … my karma in a brown paper bag.  I guess lightening doesn’t strike twice, but the first strike was good while it lasted and the dead half rat became equally as famous around the school as I was picked on for ages about that little discovery.

Weird and interesting facts for your amusement

The current street value of what I found is estimated at around $800, back then it was probably valued at half that price.  Want to know the current street value of marijuana in your state? Visit http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Street_price_of_weed

The ancient Egyptians invented the first disposable tampons made from softened papyrus. The ancient Greeks created tampons made from lint wrapped around a small piece of wood, recorded in writing by Hippocrates in the fifth century B.C. (Ouch!!) Want to test your tampon knowledge? Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampon

Paper bags are eco-friendly, easy to recycle, and have many uses.

Want to make a piniata like this one? This pinata is made using a paper bag, tissue paper, glue, and a few other supplies you might already have laying around your house.  All you need to make this is; candy, small toys or whatever you want to stuff it with (even $800 worth of weed will work if you’re having that kinda party!), newspaper, colored tissue paper, string or yarn, glue, scissors and a hole puncher.  (See, I bet you already have all that lying around the house, don’t you?) Start out by opening your bag and setting it on your work surface. Put the candy and/or small toys into the bag. You do not want your bag to be more than half way full or it will be too heavy to hang! Now, fill the rest of the bag, stopping about 2-inches from the top, using scrunched up newspaper. Once you have your pinata filled, pinch the top of the bag together and roll it down 2 or 3 times. Staple it shut. Cover the bottom of your filled paper bag with a piece of tissue paper. Set your bag on a piece of tissue paper and cut the tissue paper so it is about 2-inches larger than the bottom of the paper bag all the way around. Glue the edges of the tissue paper up around the bottom of the paper bag. Handle the corners as if you’re wrapping a present. Now cut several strips of tissue paper long enough to completely fit around your bag and about 4- 6-inches wide depending on size of bag. You will need about 5 strips (this may vary by bag size). Use your scissors to cut fringe along a long edge of all of your tissue paper strips. The fringe should go about half way up your tissue paper strip. The fringe should be cut about 1-inch apart. Start near the bottom of the bag, just above the piece of tissue paper you glued onto the bottom of the bag, and place a bead of glue around the bag. Stick your first piece of fringed tissue paper, fringed edge down, onto the glue. This should hang over the bottom tissue paper and slightly overhang the bottom edge of the bag. Stick another strip onto the bag, hanging about halfway over the first strip. Continue this until your entire bag is covered by fringed tissue paper. Punch two holes along the top, folded edge of the paper bag. Cut a piece of yarn or string a few yeards long. Thread one end of the piece of yarn or string through one hole, pull it across the top edge of the bag, and then back through the other hole. Tie it using a few overhand knots so it will not come apart when you hang it. Cut several strips of tissue paper, about 1-inch thick and 6-inches long. Glue them to the bottom of the pinata. Voila! You’ve got a homemade pinata! For more crafty ideas using paper bags, visit http://familycrafts.about.com/od/paperbagcrafts/tp/PaperBagCrafts.htm





Dazed and Confused

9 05 2011

It was spring 1987, I was a sophmore in high school.  He was a junior, Italian, tough … the silent type.  His big brother Eddy was a senior, a hunk, and my best friend’s boyfriend.   I’d had a crush on Phil for over a year, and desperately tried to get his attention in the smoking circle for a couple semesters to no avail.  He didn’t speak much or show interest in anyone.  I thought it was because he was too cool for anyone at that stupid school.  I didn’t blame him, even though I wished he’d give me a chance.  Eddy was insistent on getting his little bro out of his shell, he wanted him to start dating, having sex and be a man like he was.  Phil wasn’t taking the bait, so it seemed.  Personally, I was thrilled by it because I knew he would’ve ended up with someone other than me anyway.  I liked that he didn’t talk to anyone and I could just stare at him, alone smoking his cigs with one leg propped against a tree looking like an Italian James Dean.  I was a social butterfly, but more like a dorky kid sister.  Even though I was the same age as the other girls hanging in the smoking circle, I looked like a junior high kid hanging out with the older crowd.  I never really smoked or anything, I just hung out for the heated discussions about rock and roll and to fetch things for the cool kids when they asked.  But they liked me, or so I thought … nah, they liked me.

One night Suzy called me up with great excitement in her voice.
“Eddy says Phil’s coming out with us tonight and we’re going on a double date!” She exclaimed.
“With who?” I asked, thinking how unexcited I was about the aspect of Phil going out with another girl and the four of them having a good time while I’m at home bored.
“With you, stupid!” Suzy laughed.  “We’re going on a double date with the Dimaggio brothers!”
“What? Really? Me?” I was in shock.  “Phil asked for me?!?”
“Well, sort of,” she stammered.  “I mean, Eddy arranged it, but yeah.”
“Does he even know who I am?” I asked, thinking that if he did he probably wouldn’t have agreed.
“Um, well, sort of,” again she stammered.  “But, I mean… isn’t this what you’ve been waiting for? Now’s your chance!”
“Yeah, that’s cool,” I agreed.
Sure, I would’ve liked that it was all Phil’s idea and that he had some secret crush on me like I had for him, but I decided I’d take what I could get.

Later that evening, the phone rang again.
“Susan, telephone!” Mom called out from the kitchen, where the only phone we owned was kept.  “It’s a young man named Philip Dimaggio.” She stared over her glasses down her nose at me.
I tried to stay cool in front of her.  “We’re in school together,” I said.
“Uh, huh,” she nodded sternly and handed me the phone.  Staying close by, pretending to be busy in the kitchen.
“Hullo,” I tried to keep cool.
“Susan?” He said in a rough, sexy, Italian teen boy voice I’d never before heard.
“Yes,” I choked out.
“It’s Phil Dimaggio,” he said.  “I hear we’re going out tomorrow night with my brother and you’re friend.”
“Uh, huh,” I agreed.
“So, I just wanted to know a little about you first,” he said sternly.  “Do you like Led Zeppelin?”
“Yes, very much,” I lied.  My older sister, whom I shared a room with, loved Led Zeppelin … me, not so much but I lied as it seemed necessary.
“You smoke?” He continued.
“Yeah, I’ve seen you in the circle,” I replied.
“No, I mean do you smoke?” He repeated the question, emphasizing the smoke.
“Oh!” I understood.  “Yeah.” I lied.
“Ok, cool,” He said.  “I’ll bring the smoke, you bring all your Zeppelin.”
My mind quickly races through my sisters cassette collection and I know I can pull this off.
“Ok,” I agreed.

Dressed in our 80’s best, Suzy and I were ready for our big date with the Dimaggio brothers.  Suzy had been dating Eddy for a while.  They’d already been to third base … something I knew nothing about.  I had a purse full of Led Zeppelin cassettes. We were anxiously awaiting the big night.  Eddy drove up in his Ford truck, and we had some tricky seating arrangements as Suzy had to sit beside Eddy and I had to sit on Phil’s lap.  Me, with my big hair smashing against the ceiling in my little mini skirt.  It was awkward.  He smelled like cheap cologne, yet somehow I was turned on.  Though I’m sure my bony ass and the scent of Aqua Net was doing nothing for him as Eddy drove down a darkened, bumpy trail to the infamous oak tree.  The oak tree was tucked away off the beach in a slightly wooded area. It was where rebellious teens went to make out, drink alcohol, smoke pot and generally be rebellious.  It had been a hot spot for years as I remember my older sisters and their friends telling stories of hanging out by the oak tree.  This would be my first time to visit and I really felt like I was going places.  In a truck, with two hot Italian studs, parking under the infamous oak tree … yep, I was really going places.

We settled in, all seated in the back of the truck with an ice chest full of Miller ponies between us, jamming to WRNO “The Rock of New Orleans” F.M.  Classic rock bellowing up into the stars, and those cold brews I had never before tasted seemed to take the edge off and go down smoothly.  Ice cold Miller ponies are the perfect way to break into beer drinking.  They were delicious.  I was choking on cigarettes as I tried to pretend I was a smoker.  Yep, I thought as I looked up into the starry sky, you’re really going places.  However, the only place I was going was backwards falling from the edge of the truck to the ground.  I guess those cold brews are serious business when it comes to losing your balance while star gazing.  Though I was rather embarrassed, it was a really touching moment for me when Phil quickly sprang from the edge of the truck to aid me in getting up and briefly I was in his arms as he helped me stand.  Honestly I wasn’t as loaded from the beer as I was the entire situation.  High on life, I guess you could say.  Feeling like this was the pinnacle of coolness for me, and hoping that I didn’t just blow it by star gazing too hard from the edge of an old Ford.

After a good laugh from Eddy and Suzy, they decided to go for a walk into the woods for a bit of privacy.  Before their exit, Eddy took his little brother aside and put his arm around him to whisper some brotherly advice in his ear as I pretended not to watch while trying to eavsdrop.
“I think Phil’s going to try to get to third base with you tonight,” Suzy said excitedly.
I was a little nervous.  I’d never really been to third base and I was dizzy from beer and landing on a giant oak tree root.  I wasn’t really ready for all this action, but I wasn’t about to back down because I was at the pinnacle of coolness for me … or so I thought.

“So,” Phil broke the very long moment of silence between us once we were alone.  “Did you bring that Zeppelin?”
“Oh yeah!” Finally I could get something right! “It’s in my purse!”
“Why don’t we sit in the truck, catch a buzz and jam out to some then?” He suggested.
“Great Idea!” I was probably too enthusiastic, but the thought of sitting inside the truck listening to the stereo sounded a lot less dangerous than anything else at this point.  Plus, I was the keeper of the Led Zeppelin cassettes, so my cool points surely had to be rising.

As we eased onto the bench seat of that old Ford, Phil pulled a joint from his shirt pocket, popped in the “Physical Graffiti” cassette and pushed play.  The lighter flame kissed the end of his perfectly rolled joint and a sweet and unfamiliar aroma filled the air just as “Houses of the Holy” began to play.  I watched him intently, how he inhaled, his every action.  He passed it to me, and I mimicked his actions perfectly.  Inhaling, wheezing a bit but not exhaling, then after a moment or two very slowly exhaling.  It was quite a process.  After a few times, I got it.  Yep, I was really going places … I was really cool now.

We leaned back, my head somehow landed on his shoulder and for a moment we were like a couple.  I felt relaxed and dazed as I began to soak up the moment like a sponge.  Once “Kashmir” bellowed through the speakers and out into the perfect night, I was hooked.  It was something far better than third base, something far better than hooking up, it was Led Zeppelin.  It was my new favorite thing and a very defining moment for me, and to this day “Physical Graffiti” is still my favorite album.  At the time, I tried to maintain my overpowering joy at this magnificent new sound that was just unveiled to me as I was supposed to already be a fan and I had to control my passions for Led Zeppelin and pretend I was just in it all for the date.  But there was no pretending, as he was just as passionate about it as me and what was supposed to be a cheap sexual virginity losing experience set up for both of us turned out to be a really rewarding music lesson … among other lessons … and a night that changed me forever.

Was it the pinnacle of coolness? Yeah, I’d say so.  Did we get to third base? Nah, I think we both got something cooler out of it than that.

My love for Led Zeppelin grew leaps and bounds continuously over the years that followed. Though nothing ever grew romantically between Phil and I after that night, we did remain good friends throughout our late blooming years and continued to enjoy Led Zeppelin together for many other smoky, starry, dazed and confused nights under the infamous Oak Tree.

Led Zeppelin was born in1968 by Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica), John Paul Jones (bass guitar, keyboards, mandolin), and John Bonham (drums). With their heavy, guitar-driven sound, Led Zeppelin are considered one of the progenitors of  heavy metal/hard rock music.  However, Led Zeppelin’s unique style drew from many sources and transcends all genres still today as well as remaining one of the most influential bands in the history of music.  Even 30 years after disbanding (following Bonham’s death in 1980) Led Zeppelin continues to be held in high regard for their artistic achievements, commercial success, and broad influence. Having sold over 200 million albums worldwide, the band is known to be one of the best selling music artists of all time.They have had all of their original studio albums reach the top 10 of the Billboard album chart in the US, with six reaching the number one spot.Led Zeppelin are ranked #1 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.  Rolling Stone magazine has described Led Zeppelin as “the heaviest band of all time”, “the biggest band of the ’70s” and “unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history”.Similarly, when inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame they were described as being as “influential in the 70’s as The Beatles were in the 60’s”. Led Zeppelin’s popularity in the early years was dwarfed by their triumphant mid-seventies successes and it is this period that continues to define the band.  At this point in their career, the band was considered the world’s #1 rock attraction.  All of their albums released from their inception through their super stardom remained in Billboard’s top sales.  After a decade of being on top of their game while also facing many trials and tribulations, as they set fourth toward a new tour, John Bonham died from asphyxiation stemming from drinking too much vodka and choking on his own vomit.  It was a sad waste and a sad day in music history.  On October 10, 1980, Bonham was laid to rest and two months later the band announced they would no longer continue as Led Zeppelin due to the “deep sense of undivided harmony” in the wake of their “dear friend”s death.

To view Led Zeppelin performing in the height of their fame, visit this link for a performance of “Kashmir” at Earl’s Court in 1975: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1yFQ6vcRNk

To learn more about Led Zeppelin, this is an awesome website: http://www.ledzeppelin.com/

Enjoy these links and if you enjoy Led Zeppelin even half as much as I do, you’ll thank me for it.  Though, I can’t imagine anyone is reading this who doesn’t already enjoy them! 🙂

 





David Lee, are you talking to me?

11 01 2011

I will try to make a very long story short here, but I’m afraid I will have to begin this story in 1978 for you to grasp the depth of the miraculousness of it all.  So, here goes …

At the tender age of 6 I became a rocker.  I was a tom boy and not overly interested in girly things, but steadily forced into dresses and pig tails by my mom.  I was interested in finding myself at a very early age and uninterested in popularity or any of that mess.  I wanted to be tough, even though I was tiny.

I was raised in a very strict, Italian, Catholic home.  I had a stay-at-home mother and hard working father.  Anyway, I’m supposed to make this short so I’ll cut the details and get to one of the main household rules I liked to break … That was touching the parents’ stereo.  It was one of those old school big chests that had a record player and an ever-so-modern 8 track player.  Though children were not allowed to touch it, whenever the parents were away my two older siblings paid me no mind as they were teenagers doing their own thing so I would sneak to that amazing chest and put the giant headphones on, turning the knobs until I discovered something I thought sounded cool.  And then it happened … I was forever changed … by this sound:  It was like nothing I’d ever heard before.  It was raw, tough, heavy and completely different than what anyone I knew anywhere was listening to.  It rocked! I was instantly changed forever … and forever after I was a rocker chick! Full throttle ahead I began saving my allowance until I could purchase my first Van Halen record.  In other words, loose change from my grandfather to buy candy on a daily basis was saved as I fasted from my candy fix for about one year until my parents finally agreed to take me to the Sound Shop in the mall to buy Van Halen I.  Low and behold, Van Halen II had already been released and I didn’t even realize that I would have to decide between two albums.

By this time I was 7, and had not seen the band but only listened to them on the radio whenever I could.  When I laid my eyes on the lifesize, cardboard display of David Lee Roth splitting in spandex pants seductively over the Van Halen section I lost it … I really lost it … I jumped up and grabbed hold of it and had to have it, even if it cost my every last dime … literally.  My parents had to peel me off of it, begging the clerks to sell it to them to no avail.  I was in tantrum mode, but still left with Van Halen I in my possession.

Flash forward to 1984, to a 6th grade girl wearing holy jeans and Van Halen T-shirts to school daily and singing praises of their latest album.  A girl who had “I love David Lee Roth”  and  sketches of the Van Halen symbol sketched on every book cover.  A girl in love … with an untouchable rock icon.  Yes, that girl was me, of course.  Scrawny, late blooming, overlooked rocker chick Susan. I guess I really didn’t even notice that I was the ugly duckling, because I was still in that frame of mind that I wanted to be tough and completely un-girly! My world revolved around Van Halen mostly and other rock bands that were coming out at the time …  Bands that Van Halen opened the door for with their unique rock style. (Later, these would be known as hair bands)

It wasn’t until high school that I realized I was still late to blooming and unwanted.  Yeah, when all my guy friends I used to rock out with in Junior High no longer wanted to be seen with me because they were busy with the girly girls who had boobs and such.   Van Halen had crumbled after their biggest selling album, 1984, and my life seemed to be painfully crumbling too… I was holding on to dreams … dreams that I believed would never come true.  Dreams of being desirable to guys, and still dreaming even deeper of being desirable to rock stars.  But still, my life long dream was to someday be able to meet David Lee Roth … perhaps even cling to him the way I did that cardboard cut out of him at the record store so many years before…

I graduated in 1990 and still hadn’t blossomed.  Still fought for the attention of guys unsuccessfully and still prayed for Van Halen to reunite with David Lee Roth.  It seemed that none of my dreams would ever come true, but that summer things changed dramatically.  After an 18 year battle with a complicated illness (that’s a whole other blog I’ll write someday) I got the medical attention I needed and was on the path to healing.  With that healing came my late puberty.  With my late puberty came the swan from the ugly duckling … and with that swanlike existence came all the attention from the opposite sex I could’ve ever wanted.

It was a brand new world to me.  I didn’t know how to handle it.  Fortunately, early in my days of glory I settled down with a great guy for many years.  He too was a swan from ugly duckling, so we made a perfect match. But, sadly, all good things must come to an end and we broke up because he needed to “find himself” and I was left alone in a sea of sharks, who all wanted to take a bite of me the moment I was cast back out to sea.  And bite they did.  They shredded me up.  One bad relationship begot another, or so it seemed, and heartache relentlessly plagued me for years.  I had come to the realization that if it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.  And once again, I found myself dreaming of what would never be … my rock stars whom were always my secret lovers and best friends for all of my years, who never let me down … even though the days of hair band glory were long forgotten.

And then came the millennium.  Which really pleased me because the 90’s were a gloomy and dark time for me, so I had a lot of hope that the new century would bless me … and so it did … in ways I never believed it would.

Hair bands were coming back into popularity for some strange reason, and I was on top of my game.  I wasn’t the ugly duckling who wasn’t old enough to go to their concerts, I was the perfect age at the perfect time to see everyone I ever loved live and usually in perfect settings such as small venues because they weren’t top dollar bands any more as far as the industry was concerned, but to me they were some of the most awesome musicians ever.  But, that wasn’t the most amazing part … you see the most amazing part was time and time again these rock icons who were monumentous in my life history were choosing me to go backstage and party with them.  Little ol’ Susan among tons of busty, Playboy bunny types surrounding me … they would point me out and invite me over and over.  I was never happier in all of my years.  So many times I would go home and wish that I could travel back in time to tell that crying teenage girl or that broken hearted young lady; “Someday, Susan, your dreams will come true…”

And then it happened … headline news … David Lee Roth was coming to my area.  I was frantic just reading it.  After this long spell of meeting rockers, would he be on my list? The ultimate rocker? The love of my life? Would I truly get to meet him? I was doubtful. He was like a King, like a God, the greatest front man of all time … a total legend.  Nah, I wouldn’t get to meet him because he would be surrounded by an entourage and be totally untouchable … but still, I had to go see him as I had only waited my whole life to be in his presence … seriously, my whole life!!!!

The day of the show, my best friend (of over 20 years!), Melanie, and I booked a room to stay overnight at the casino Dave was to perform at.  We spent the day laying out at the pool as she consistently tried to calm me, knowing that I was extremely and overly excited about the pending show.  Many drinks and hours of relaxation to no avail, I was still anxious in a childlike state reminiscent of that day I went to the Sound Shop 25 years prior! Moments before we left to the show, I went into the bathroom privately and kneeled on the floor and literally I prayed to God to watch over me because I knew that my life has sent me in a direction in which I would meet such celebrities and I would need a guardian angel to keep me in check if I had the opportunity to meet David Lee Roth!!!  Melanie was truly concerned for my well being as she was well aware of my immeasurable infatuation with Dave.

And so, there we were, third row from David Lee Roth … singing his heart out and twisting my heart with his every scream, his every acrobatic move, his every breath … tears streaming down my cheeks as I thought I would never be so blessed as to be so near to this man I had longed to see for 25 long years!!!  Well, I guess Dave could see my beaming adoration because he pointed at me and motioned for me to approach the stage.  I was frozen and people around me had to thrust me toward him for me to realize that YES… Dave was, in fact, motioning to ME! I thought my heart would beat out my chest.  I stood at the edge of the stage as he sang a couple of songs to me, gazing into my adoring eyes.  Time stood still, I was a six year old, a sexually confused teen and an adoring woman all at once!  Dave fed into it, of course, and couldn’t resist teasing me from the stage.

As the show came to a close, he grabbed my face forcefully in his hand … squeezing my cheeks and I thought this was the peek of my existence.  Then, he pointed at me and suddenly security grabbed me and began pulling me away! I was dazed and confused as if I was on some strange drug.  I grabbed Melanie, my last source of reality, and we were yanked behind the stage.

“Dave would like to see you, alone!” The security guard said.
I was speechless.
“She can’t go alone,” Melanie heroically said. (Thank Goodness!)

Moments later … there he was … across the room … smiling … DAVID F***ING LEE ROTH!!!!!!

And I just stood there … frozen … crying … spastic!

He motioned for me to come to him.  I pointed at myself, confused, and asked “ME?”
“Yes, you!” He laughed.

Slowly I walked to him, Melanie in tow.

“So, did you enjoy the show?” He asked.
I burst into tears.
“She loved it,” Melanie laughed.  “Trust me!”
“Can I… Can I hug you?” I muttered as I gazed at my dream come true.
“Absolutely!” He smiled.
I threw my arms around him and the tears began to flow. “I’ve waited my whole life for this moment!” I exclaimed.
He ate it up.  He loved it!

So, we ended up on the illustrious tour bus of David Lee Roth! Inside was all black leather and dim lighting as if we were in a lounge.  I was seating on a leather horse shoe shaped couch when Dave slid up very close beside me and wrapped his larger than life arms around me and began to whisper in my ear about how adorable I was in a voice I had only previously known through music.  A raspy, sexy, melodious, rock God voice much like the spoken part of “Panama” …. (skip to 2:50 on the video below to see what I mean)

Needless to say, his constant praises of me were making me very dizzy and fumbling foolishly over my words as Melanie consistently reminded him that he was fucking with my head and that he had no idea of the effects this entire event was having on me.  It’s very VERY good that she was there with me the whole time.  He persisted to whisper sweet nothings in my ear as Melanie quizzed him about his musical career and such and I was persistently fumbling.  Finally after a few glasses of Merlot and sharing a smoke with him, I gathered my composure and was able to somewhat loosen up … though he remained consistent with the sweet nothings.

Otherwise,  he spoke in rhythm and rhyme with great flamboyance! He was fun, gracious and very entertaining.  One of the funniest parts was;  when we first got on the bus he shook his rear end, squeezed into leather pants, in my face and said “How do you like my ass?” Hysterical, right? But anyway, as I said before … it was indeed very good that my best friend was there as my guardian because I have no idea what could have happened to me in my dazed state of hysteria without her protection!

And after all was said and done, I looked back and thought … once again … of the little girl in the record store clinging to a cardboard Dave, and to the lonely teen who kissed his posters goodnight.  It still makes me smile that the one thing I wanted so badly for all of my years … the one thing I never dreamed possible actually did happen … TO ME!!!

David Lee Roth is an American rock vocalist, songwriter and author among other notable careers.  Though he is best known as the original lead singer for Van Halen, he also has a popular career as a solo artist.  Roth exited Van Halen after their highest grossing album, 1984, topped the charts.  Conflict within the band’s egos led them to go separate ways.  Roth’s solo career offered several platinum and gold albums while Van Halen had continued success with a different sound and a new lead vocalist.  Without Van Halen, the band and brand he helped bring to superstardom, his solo career eventually stalled, and he went on to explore other career alternatives. Sometimes referred to as Diamond Dave, he rejoined Van Halen in 2007 (much to the joy of the band’s fanbase) for a North American tour that became the highest grossing tour in the band’s history. David Lee Roth is referred to in many (rock) media outlets as the greatest heavy metal singer of all time.  His powerful and unique vocals changed the face of rock music much in the same way as his famous band mate, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing also changed rock music.

Soon after Van Halen’s debut, Roth became well-known for his flamboyant showmanship. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide Vol 2. described Roth as “the most obnoxious singer in human history, an achievement notable in the face of long tradition and heavy competition.” Although often noted more for physical than for technical vocal prowess, Roth’s bluesy baritone voice and distinctive screams coupled with his humorous and campy lyrics were integral to Van Halen’s sound. Roth is able to take his voice into a multi-pitched wheeze/rasp, almost like a train whistle.

From 1979-1984, Van Halen released five more albums: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down and 1984, each to increasing popular success and critical acclaim. In 1983, Van Halen was paid $1.5 million to play one set at the US Festival making them one of the two highest paid bands in modern history.

On April 1, 1985, Roth and Van Halen parted ways. In late 1985, Roth assembled a backing band with veteran Van Halen producer Ted Templeman handling the production. Roth released his debut full-length solo album, Eat ‘Em and Smile in July, 1986. The album saw Roth return to hard rock music and met with huge commercial and critical success. In January 1988, Roth released Skyscraper, a more experimental offering than the first solo album. Roth then went on a headlining arena tour with the Los Angeles hairband Poison opening for him.  The tour was a huge success and met with positive reviews in many places. In January 1991, Roth released A Little Ain’t Enough, a more mainstream hard rock album. Musical tastes had changed dramatically by the end of 1991 and the accompanying tour promoting this album did not do as well financially as planned. In March 1994, Roth released Your Filthy Little Mouth, an eclectic, lyrically intricate album.  It did not sell well, considered by many to be a commercial failure, failing to achieve gold status. Roth’s career was in decline yet he still managed to support the album with a World Tour lasting over 10 months that took him and his band through North America, Japan, Europe and back through North America again.

Nevertheless, many loyal fans remained, and the Roth/Van Halen split entered pop culture. For example, in the hit 1994 film Airheads, fans loyal to Roth were regarded as cool, whereas a character loyal to Van Halen was suspected as an undercover police officer. Similarly, in 2001, the title character of the film Joe Dirt declared he was a Van Halen fan, not a “Van Hagar” fan.  In June 1996, Roth reunited with Van Halen for a brief time and to great public fanfare. He recorded two new songs for Van Halen’s Best of Vol. 1 album, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More” and “Me Wise Magic.” After an infamous appearance on September 5, 1996, at the MTV Music Awards during which Roth and Eddie Van Halen reportedly threatened each other ultimately resulting in Van Halen choosing their third and least popular vocalist.

In 1997, Roth wrote a well-received memoir, entitled Crazy From the Heat. In 2001, rumors swirled that Roth and the members of Van Halen had recorded several new songs together and were in the process of attempting yet another reunion. Roth later confirmed this, but nothing became of the music. In 2003, Roth released Diamond Dave, an album of (mostly) classic rock cover songs.  It was during the promotional tour for this album that I had the pleasure of seeing him live and meeting him at long last.

On Feb. 2, 2007 The Official Van Halen Web Site released information that David Lee Roth had rejoined the band bringing much joy to long time fans.  In March 2007 five members of Van Halen, the four original members and Sammy Hagar (2nd vocalist) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  On August 13, 2007, 6 months after the initial reunion tour was postponed, it was finally confirmed by Van Halen with Roth at a press conference that they would schedule it starting in September 2007. At that conference, Eddie Van Halen stated that he and Roth were “like brothers” now. Calling Van Halen a “real band”, both Edward and Roth spoke of the possibility of further worldwide touring and a new album in mind for the future.On June 5, 2008, Van Halen announced the 2007-2008 tour with Roth grossed more than $93 million, a record for the band. Van Halen played to nearly one million people during 74 arena shows throughout the United States and Canada.





Boredom leads to blogs about…

18 06 2010

Today in 1856 the Republican Party opened it’s 1st National Convention in Philadelphia.  Founded in northern states in 1854 by anti-slavery activists, modernizers, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soldiers, the Republican Party quickly became the principal opposition to the then dominant Democratic Party.  It is often referred to as the “Grand Old Party” or G.O.P.   In the news today, Former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey, one of the drivers of the Tea Party movement, is suggesting that Republican political candidates should shy away from the “Tea Party” label to avoid harsher scrutiny.  The Tea Party Movement emerged in 2009 through a series of nationally coordinated protests in response to several federal laws including; Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (a.k.a. “bailout”), The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009(a.k.a. “Stimulus Package”), and the 2009-2010 Healthcare Reform Bills.  The name “Tea Party” is a reference to the Boston Tea Party protest of 1773 when American settlers protested the British government taxing them by refusing to return 3 shiploads of taxed tea to Britain and destroyed the tea by dumping it into the Boston Harbor.   The first president of the United States, George Washington, was not a member of any political party at the time of his election or throughout his tenure as president. Furthermore, he hoped that political parties would not be formed, fearing conflict and stagnation. Smart guy, that George Washington.  In my opinion, this nation is facing the very things that he feared today.

Just 2 years ago on this day we saw the first day of legal same sex marriage in the state of California but shortly afterward Proposition 8 was created, making same sex marriage illegal in the same state.  Recently, Proposition 8 was put on trial in a landmark case that will likely end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Today’s news says the federal case is wrapping up with closing arguments from either side.  Judge Vaughn Walker seemed skeptical of the attorneys defending Proposition 8, in particular challenging the argument that the institution of marriage is aimed primarily at serving society’s interest in procreation.  Among Walker’s questions for lawyers representing gay rights advocates is whether there is any proof that allowing gay men and lesbians to wed would reduce discrimination against them.  Walker is expected to rule this summer.  University of California, Davis law professor Vikram Amar told WSJ that he would be “quite surprised” if Walker didn’t rule that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.  I believe that if two people love each other they should not be denied their right to marriage and I also believe that when two married people hate each other they should not be denied their right to divorce, lol.  Any other concepts are dated.  The thought process of marriage for the purpose of procreation is ridiculous.  Period.  And, on a completely unrelated note, a Very Happy Birthday to Barry Manilow today…

On June 17th, 1947 Pan-American World Airways (Pan Am) chartered the first ever worldwide passenger airline.  Although Pan Am lobbied to gain protection of its position as America’s major international airline, it encountered increasing competition. At its peak during the early 1970s, Pan Am’s advertised under the slogan, “World’s Most Experienced Airline.” The 1973 energy crisis significantly affected Pan Am’s operational costs and On September 23, 1974, a group of Pan Am employees published an ad in the New York Times to register their disagreement over federal policies which they felt were harming the financial viability of their employer. Over the following 15 years Pan Am would face more difficulties including the stigma of being labeled as a target for terrorists after a hijacking in a 1986 in Pakistan taking the lives of 20 people.  Pan Am was forced to declare bankruptcy in January of 1991 and Delta Air Lines purchases it’s remaining profitable assets.  Today there are over 10 major airlines in existence in the U.S. alone.  Among the low cost carries of the U.S. is Spirit airlines, which was founded in 1980 as a tour operator providing travel packages to entertainment destinations that expanded over the next 20 years having 40 destinations throughout Central America, the Caribbean, South America and the U.S.  Today in the news Spirit Airlines pilots’ strike, which left many Florida vacationers stranded, was finally called off.  Though the details of the tentative settlement are still unknown, Capt. Sean Creed, leader of the Spirit unit of Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) released a statement noting “increases in pay and retirement benefits,” were among the gains achieved in the negotiations. Spirit flights are expected to resume Friday. While the strike is over, the airline industry’s labor problems are not since other unions will likely seek to capitalize on any gains achieved by Spirits’ pilots. The airline industry shedded up 100,000 jobs, and cut $15 billion in wages and benefits over the last 10 years and members are understandably unhappy as they watch the industry’s business begin to improve without any payoff to them. The International Air Transport Association declared global traffic back to pre-recession levels and recently forecast $545 billion in revenues for 2010, up almost 13% from last year.

Does anybody remember this?

Yep! It was 15 years ago today that O.J. Simpson took that long, slow, ride evading the police after suspicion of murdering his ex-wife and her friend Ronald Goldman. This event was the beginning of a historical criminal trial in which the former football hero, Simpson, was charged with murdering Nicole Brown-Simpson and her male companion.  Simpson hired a high-profile defense team initially led by Robert Shapiro and subsequently by F. Lee Bailey and Johnnie Cochran.  Cochran was able to persuade the jurors that there was reasonable doubt about the DNA evidence and Simpson was acquitted after the longest jury trial in California history (lasting over 9 months).  O.J. Simpson later went to jail for armed robbery and kidnapping and is still serving his 9 year sentence and still proclaiming his innocence in the 15 year old murders.
Another historical sports celebrity, famous boxer Mike Tyson, was accused of beating his celebrity actress wife Robin Givens 6 years prior to the Simpson murder on this same day.  Not as bad as murder but not so good in the press.  Of course, today these sports heroes’ woes are overshadowed by the more recent famous scandal of golf superstar Tiger Woods’ numerous affairs which add up to at least 18 holes … lol.

On June 17th 1980 Led Zeppelin embarked on their last European tour.  Sadly, this would be the tour that would not be completed due to the untimely death of drummer, John Bonham, on September 25th.  In my opinion one of the greatest losses in the history of rock music, ultimately leading to the demise of one of the greatest bands the music industry has ever seen.  On December 4th the band issued the following statement; “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.” Devastating news for many fans, including me…of course, I was only 8 when this happened so I had no idea of the profound effect this would have on me until I discovered Led Zeppelin a few years later and fell madly in love with their amazing music.

My favorite band forever…

In other music news, 23 years ago today “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane debuted at #5 on the charts.  “Somebody to Love” was included in Rolling Stones Magazine’s top 500 songs of all time and has been on the soundtrack of many famous films as well as playing instrumental in publicizing the existence of the famous Haight-Ashbury counterculture to the rest of the U.S.  The lyrics are deep and philosophical, setting a scene of alienation and despair.  It was a period when music seemed to be more important than it is today.  When composition and lyrics were still important and artists were still respected.  A time when music still had meaning and talent was still considered the main ingredient.  A time far different than today, as music today is commercialized, cookie cutter crap and most (so-called-) artists’ songs are on the charts today and gone tomorrow.  Something real and meaningful for you, Jefferson Airplane perform “Somebody to Love”

And today we have Miley Cyrus in the news, I saw the article and this picture made me want to kick her ass…
Listen you little teenage tramp, you’re not the first and you’re probably not the last… now take off that f***in’ Cheap Trick shirt before you curse the band and they break up.  Do you even know a song by them? Please! Anyway, yeah… there’s some big new release of another video of her acting all skanky to some mixed, lip synced, edited song of her’s premiering today or something.  Whatever.  You don’t deserve the shirt, you little brat! And No, Miley, this is not for you…

Anyway, last but not least, we celebrate the birthday of one of my favorite artists today.  M.C. Escher was born today in 1898.  Wow… that dude was way ahead of his time.  Escher was a Dutch Graphic Artist known for his mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints featuring impossible constructions and explorations of infinity, architecture and tessellations.  If that didn’t make any sense to you, have a look…

Anything exciting happen in YOUR world today?





Is there a doctor in the house?

18 04 2010

In the early 80’s I think every female from age 14 to 40 had one thing in common … his name; Rick Springfield.  The Australian native, Springfield, dominated the American pop rock music scene once the infamous hit “Jessie’s Girl” was released in 1981 and blew up the music charts bringing him to super stardom in a very short period of time.  At the same time, he also was busy making his mark on the small screen as Dr. Noah Drake on the emmy award winning soap opera “General Hospital”.  The combination of the two careers he was managing at the time made Rick Springfield a household name.  Every girl wanted him and every guy wanted to be him (even though they wouldn’t admit to it).

Springfield left high school at the age of 17 to pursue a career in music.  He joined 3 bands during that period and even traveled to Vietnam to entertain the troops with the band MPD, Ltd in 1969.  In 1972, at age 22, he relocated to Hollywood, California to seek out a solo career as a musician.  He struggled to find his place in the market at the time because record producers were not interested in his sound or look.  Though he did not desire to be a pop-idol, he was continuously pushed into that realm.  He wanted to be taken more seriously.  In turn, though acting played second fiddle to his desire to be a presence in music, he eventually scored a role on “General Hospital” in 1981.  At the same time, he fortunately captured the attention of RCA records with whom he recorded his first hit album “Working Class Dog”.   Both he and his agent at the time suspected the album wouldn’t be a hit, which is why he took the acting position.  Much to everyone’s surprise, the first song released from the album, “Jessie’s Girl”, quickly rose to #1 on the charts which meant Springfield had to work overtime between his two blossoming careers.  From 1981 to 1983, he would continue to portray Dr. Drake on television while embarking on world tours to promote his music.  The two careers worked hand in hand, even though it was hard on him, as they promoted each other making “General Hospital” the most popular show on daytime television and Springfield the most sought after pop musician in the industry during that period.   In 1982 the album “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” was released followed in 1983 by his biggest hit album, “Living in Oz”.  Also, during those first 3 years of his stardom, Springfield received the honors of “Favorite Male Pop Artist” and “Best Male Rock Vocal Performance”.  In 1984, He made his first feature length film, “Hard to Hold” which was backed by his album/soundtrack of the same title.  The plot was, of course, about the struggles of rock stardom and romance.  A bit of a romantic comedy, though I do not suspect that was the writers’ intention.  Though the film did not do well in the box office, it was still a big hit among the ladies featuring Springfield in many mouth watering scenes and making it the date movie of the 1984.

It was a bitter sweet success for Springfield because he longed to be recognized as a serious musician, but seemed to find himself ranked as a teen idol.  His 30-something baby face was plastered on the cover of every teen magazine while he aspired to be on the cover of more reputable magazines such as “Rolling Stone”.  In 1985 Springfield took a break from his careers to spend time at home with his new born son and wife as well as to deal with a state of depression he had been battling for many years following the death of his father.   From 1985-1988 Springfield recorded 3 more records, though they did not find nearly the success of their 3 predecessors.  Then, after a long break in recording, he began to record more introspective work that seemed to define his metamorphosis from overcoming to depression to accepting the life he was blessed with.  In 2004 he released the album “Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance” which showed a deeper and more intellectual side of Springfield.  It was an album he was very proud of that truly seemed to reflect the artist he wanted to be from the beginning.  He had come to a point in his life when he could actually embrace the fame he always fought.  Once he felt his baby faced good looks were a curse, but in later years he embraced the fame the pop industry had given him.  Today his audiences are the same young ladies who loved him, but they are now adults.  He still has sell-out shows and in 2008 released a top 40 album, “Venus in Overdrive”.

In 2003 I was thrilled at the opportunity to finally see him in concert, as I was too young in the 80’s to be allowed to go to any of his shows.  It was a terrible fate for me as both my sisters were old enough and got to come home and brag about it as I sat at home, listening to his records and sobbing.  But, alas, my opportunity had come in the fall of ’03 when Rick Springfield was coming to my home town to perform.  The interesting thing about the event was, at the time I was working in sales among a total of 4 sales women.  Our boss said who ever made the most sales in a 3 month period would get to choose tickets of their choice to a show at the local casino for an all expense paid evening of fun.  The good news is, of course, I won.  I never worked so hard in my life.  The bad news was, by the time the contest was over there were no good seats left available and we ended up on the 33rd row.  It was our entire office.  The boss and his wife, co-workers and their spouses … and I was spouseless, so I ended up taking my sister as my date.  The music was so uplifting. I sang along word for word.  I was so excited to be there.  He sounded better than ever.  I was bobbing up & down and standing in the aisles so I could catch a good glimpse of the still hunky Rick Springfield.

As a person who always demands front row at shows, I pulled some of my old tricks.  I grabbed my sister by the hand and suggested we simply walk up to the front and see what happens.  She was skeptical, but I pushed on through with her in tow.  The annoying thing about casino shows is they always give away the best seats of a show to their biggest gamblers … the people who spend their life savings there have earned those seats.  That’s commendable, except those people are usually well past retirement age and holding their ears at a rock concert. Yet, they are the same kind of people who would never refuse anything free.  Go figure.  So, I look around and feel like I’m in an old folks home.  I look up at Rick who seems very pleased to see my young face among them.  He begins to play one of my favorite songs, “Kristina”, a b-side from one of his chat topping hits.  I look back at him with a smile, push through a few blue haired bouffants and climb up on the stage to join him in song and dance.  I look back down at my blushing sister who didn’t have the courage to push past those old folks and I give her a chuckle as I do a little dirty dancing on stage with the dreamy Rick Springfield.  I’m beaming as the cameras roll and I hear my work mates back on row 33 hoopin’ & hollarin’.  It was an unforgettable moment.  At the end of “Kristina” I gave Rick a hug and jumped off the stage, floating back to my seat.

Rick Springfield cornered the market like no other, in my humble opinion.  He ruled the small screen and the music charts during the decade of decadence, when he was faced with a lot of serious competition.  He played some incredible guitar, though he wasn’t taken seriously as he should’ve been.  Every song in his repertoire had memorable lyrics and catchy hooks that couldn’t be beat.  He was a little bit rock and roll and a little bit punk and a whole lot pop, but he was good … really good.  So good, in fact, that he still has a huge following today and continues to have a successful career in music and the small screen.

Thus far in his career, he has starred in two major motion pictures, 3 shows on television and numerous Broadway acts.  He has released 7 studio albums to reach top 40 status, 4 of which were in the top 20.  He has been involved in several charitable works, including a private concert for the benefit of a family friend with cancer and Bob Geldof’s “Live Aid” concert in 1985 to help those in Ethiopia.  Springfield has also participated in judging the Independent Music Awards among the likes of Roger Daltry, Buddy Guy, Lou Reed and many other highly respected musicians.

Today Rick is currently on tour and has recently released his autobiography, “Late, Late at Night”. Next month, production begins on a documentary following Rick’s career from past to present titled “Affair of the Heart” (after one of his more famous hits).  Rick says of the documentary, “My fans are the most amazing humans on this planet.  This documentary will not just focus on me, but on them and the connection we share.”

On a side note, Rick is a well known dog lover who included his “best friend” on the covers of some of his albums as well as recording songs about them.  I find this to be kinda cool.  I guess because I’m a dog lover myself and would put my dogs on album covers as well.

To learn more about Rick, his official website is here: http://www.rickspringfield.com/