Sunday, December 30, 2007

Stevie Ray Vaughan 'The Real Deal: Greatest Hits I'

The WWE was in Greensboro last night taping the show that will air on New Year’s Eve. I managed to wrangle up a pair of front row tickets for me and my brother-in-law Kevin. I think it was the first time for both of us to be sitting on the front row for a televised event. An event that will be beamed around the planet.

Our tickets didn’t exactly insure that we would appear on television. The tickets we got were on the camera side of the arena. They typically keep from filming on that side unless there’s action happening near the railing. And that’s what happened just last night with us!

JBL was in the ring showing his “wrestling god” powers by raising his hand for a mess of loud pyrotechnics to explode. The pyro was KISS-loud and KISS-plentiful!

Then Chris “Y2J” Jericho came out to spoil the “wrestling god’s” display of cueing the pyro tech.

Please keep in mind… I haven’t watched wrestling since WrestleMania back in March. I have no idea what the storylines are and why JBL and Y2J are feuding. But anyway… JBL jumps out of the ring and a brawl ensues!

They exchange punches and finally clamp together and head over to our area. The action was happening right in front of us! I was banging on the inside of the railing and yelling with excitement!

There was a moment where they were directly in front of me… I sensed that they were going over the railing and into our laps… So I backed up like a frightened little girl. Actually, I found it quite funny on the replay where I could watch it on the big screen.

So, if you want to see me on worldwide television… Tune into WWE’s Monday Night Raw at 9pm on the USA Network.

I’m easy to spot… I’m wearing my white Washington Redskins jersey with the number 66 on it. And if you’re looking at the ring during the long shots… I would be situated on the left side about where the steel ring post is. It’s quite possible that you’ll see me get up, cheer, and clap when the heels (bad guys) get the upper hand.

Here are some pictures that I took with my cell phone… Enjoy.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Various Artists 'Various Sh*t Volume 12'

My nephew Preston recently showed me his new MP3 player. I guess kids all around the country are getting those things. Then the next hot thing for kids will be hearing aids.

Remember that little fear when Sony unleashed the Walkman on us?

Seems like every kid was listening to their personal music machine at F-16 volume.

So anyways… Preston was showing me his player and I tooled around on it to see if he had some good music on it. He had some Daughtry… But hey… He’s seven and entitled to a few mistakes this early in life. And then it warmed my heart to find that he had some KISS on there. I saw “Detroit Rock City” and heard him listening to “Do You Love Me”. The boy is getting the proper schooling thanks to his step dad loading the right tunes on there for him.

But I did have a little concern over one song I saw on his MP3 player… It is a KISS tune called “Sweet Pain”. It’s a little ditty about S&M types of sexual behavior…

My leathers fit tight around me
My whip is always beside me
You want the same thing every day
Ill teach you love a different way
You’ll learn to love me and my sweet pain
My love will drive you insane
Sweet pain, my love will drive you insane

And pain has got its reason
And if you dont stop your teasin, baby
Im gonna show you now
You’ll get your lovin’ anyhow, anyhow
And youll get to love me and my sweet pain

Now growing up and listening to it myself at a young age… I didn’t know what the song was about. I just remember liking it. It took me awhile to figure out that song’s meaning as well as “Nothin’ To Lose” (anal sex), “Christine Sixteen” (indecent liberties with a minor), and “Goin’ Blind” (think Lolita).

But I can’t help thinking that Preston doesn’t really need to be hearing that type of song just yet. He’s only 7 and there’s still a lot of innocence behind his big eyes. One side of me is concerned about spoiling his innocence and the other side tells me that he has no idea what the songs are about. He won’t know or understand for a very long time… Perhaps.

I remember when I actually listened to the lyrics of “My Sharona” for the first time. I had heard that awesome song a MILLION times before, but I never listened to the lyrics. I couldn’t believe that a hit song had a lyric in it like this… I always get it up for the touch of the other kind

Ever since that day, I’ve been a stickler about lyrics. I try to listen to what a song is actually about. I remember when Paula Abdul released her ‘Spellbound’ LP and I heard the song “Rush Rush” throughout Peaches Music & Video. I couldn’t believe that Paula was singing about her orgasms while everyone around the store fondled Lynyrd Skynyrd and Garth Brooks CD’s. I found it mildly amusing.

Am I crazy? Feel free to leave a comment and express your feelings on this.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Tone-Loc 'Loc-ed After Dark'

Okay… I’m feeling it and yet I'm not feeling it with season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy. Does that make any sense?

I realize that Grey’s Anatomy is basically a night-time soap opera. A drama filled with beautiful people doing things most of us have dreamt about while experiencing the trials and tribulations that all of us know too well. Love and loss are 2 common and repeating themes… Yada, yada, yada.

I like the writing on Grey’s Anatomy. I like the characters. I like most of the storylines and plots. But what I do not like is the over-the-top padding of the show. It’s like they try to stuff in as many parallel storylines as they possibly can. It’s like the writers must have every single character and a reoccurring character going through the same thing. It’s simply too much. It just makes me want to throw my J.R. Beer cans at the television and curse the name of Joan Collins!

Although I’m determined to make it through season 2… I’m not so sure that I want to venture onward with season 3 or the current one. There’s too much to keep up with and all those parallel storylines that tie up so nice and neatly… Well, they just irritate me.

Unlike the shamelessly trashy Nip/TuckGrey’s Anatomy doesn’t poke fun at itself. It’s all way too serious. I’m starting to think that Scrubs is a better medical “drama” than Grey’s. It’s definitely funnier and the shows are about the same things… The continuing saga of med students to interns to residents with lot of sexual promiscuity amongst the staff. And like an episode of Grey's, they’ll throw in a live grenade with Christina Ricci on board for an episode.

Now don’t get me wrong… Grey’s Anatomy is a great show. I’m totally digging it, but something about it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I’ve heard that the third season is even MORE over-the-top… So I’m thinking about ditching it.

For the record… I’ve never seen one single episode of ER. I hear that they're kind of the same thing. I don’t even know why I started with Grey’s. It was probably peer pressure.

--A couple of great flicks that I’ve recently seen…

Hot Fuzz runs a little longer than it should, but damn if it’s not one of the funniest movies from across the Pond in years. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars. Read about it right here.

I also gave Zodiac 5 out of 5 stars. Excellent film that never lets you realize that it runs over 2 hours.

And for Lonely Hearts starring John Travolta and Salma Hayek… That joker got 4 out of 5 stars with me. In my opinion, the film has Hayek’s best clothed performance ever!

--If you’re looking for another Netflix buddy… Give me a holler! /

Here's my favorite track off my musical choice of the day. Not only is he sampling Foreigner, but if you listen carefully... You'll hear KISS' "Christine Sixteen" in there too!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stephen Stills 'Just Roll Tape'

It probably started when I was about 5 or 6 years old. That's when my parents realized that I had a certain talent. I could do wondrous things with a television back in the days before cable. I could take a simple set of rabbit ears type of antennae and pick up television stations in Lynchburg, Virginia… Raleigh, North Carolina… And Charlotte, North Carolina. Television stations hours away from us.

When my father was watching those damn ACC basketball games that usually preempted what I really wanted to watch… You could find me working my voodoo on my Zayre’s B&W 13” TV. I could usually pick up the network affiliate in either Raleigh, Durham, or even Roanoke, Virginia.

That little Zayre’s TV was probably the best television that I ever owned. We saw everything from Evel Knievel jumps to the morning of John Lennon’s death together. She was a good one… But I digress.

When cable finally made it's way into our home… I found the beast easy to understand. I could manipulate it to do what I wanted. I could even unscramble the pay channels enough to watch what all those other suckers were paying for.

When VCR’s came along… I was the “go to” guy when it came to hooking them up. I didn’t need any instructions. I moved on instinct. I even remember some teachers in junior high having problems with the top-loading VCR’s where my assistance wasn’t appreciated until they realized that I got those things working properly.

I could easily whip a TV, the cable, and VCR into shape within minutes. What caused others to claw at their eye sockets seemed like toddler puzzles to me. And the same was always true with stereo systems and other sound systems.

If it was electronic… I could just do it. If I didn’t have the necessary equipment, you could just give me what money I needed and I would take care of it. I’m the same way when it comes to hooking up computers, but when you start running programs and loading discs… Those jokers will always bite me in the ass. We speak the same set-up language… But something gets lost in the translation.

My services were requested for this afternoon. My friend Christine needed her daughter’s Wii set up and she had no idea what she was doing. And even if she read the instructions, she would be in total Lost Colony territory without me.

There was only one thing that threw me off about the Wii… The bar that picks up the wireless signal. I had to actually refer to the manual about that one. This old dog had to learn a new trick and it was the first time since I referred to set up instructions since I was about 6 years old.

Right off the bat, Christine was going to need another switch box. The one that she had only handled the cable and DVD player. So we made a trip to purchase one along with a power strip. And in no time at all… Gwyneth was playing on her Wii console.

I was playing with the damn addictive thing too! I was surprised how much fun I found the Wii Sports bowling to be. And I’m thinking that I’m going to have to be a Wii bit of a pain in their ass by going over there and playing it. I’ve earned it. After all… I set it up. I’m thinking about having a t-shirt made with a gentle reminder for Christine and Gwyneth telling them just that.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Stevie Nicks 'Crystal Visions - The Very Best of Stevie Nicks'

Ronie Alexander handed me a DVD back in the spring that she thought I’d be interested adding to my collection. To be honest, I wasn’t all that interested and boy was I wrong.

The DVD was Twisted Sister The Video Years.

Growing up in the late seventies and early eighties… I was strictly a fan of hard rock. Bands had to have loud distorted guitars, sang about sexuality with misogynist overtones, and if they blew stuff up… Well, that was just icing on the cake.

And during my years in junior and senior high… I had a knack of predicting what bands would rise to stardom. I predicted with great accuracy the rise of Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and countless others that I didn’t like (Bon Jovi and Poison immediately come to mind).

I was the first person that turned everyone I knew onto Motley Crue’s first LP ‘Too Fast For Love’. My prediction was that the Crue would make their mark with their second release and by the third… They’d be household names.

I remember first seeing Twisted Sister’s ‘Under The Blade’ LP at the Record Bar at Friendly Center. It was a little more expensive because it was an import. But I spent the money on it anyway after reading about their supercharged live performances. I wasn’t all that afraid of their “drag queen” looks… I mean, after all… I already had a New York Dolls LP in my collection (The Dolls were KISS’ big New York City competition and I had to check them out).

I was blown away by how loud they sounded on my cheap little stereo that got no rest for 8 years. In the liner notes, Twisted Sister had a simple demand for listening to their LP… “Play it LOUD, mutha!” I chose to use headphones instead of annoying my parents and siblings.

Their music was simple with rock cheerleading lyrics… The Twisted Sister blueprint involves a lot of anthem-type of hard rock. I enjoyed that first album, but I figured that they were too simple for mass appeal. And besides, some people just can’t get over the “drag queen” appearance. They just wouldn’t get the “entertainment” value of costuming and appearing as if they are indeed twisted sisters.

When they released ‘You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll’, their second album that was released in the states… I knew that they had the chance for mass appeal. The musical hooks were more acceptable and they had the intensity of punk rock bands or Motorhead. They just had an extra element… Melody. The masses like melody.

I remember taking the LP to school to let my friends borrow it. People were looking at them and second guessing my sexuality or common sense. Perhaps even both were in question. I also remember telling my friends that Twisted Sister’s next release would be their breakthrough album.

I didn’t see them on that tour because they were touring with Quiet Riot. I didn’t care about seeing QR and it also seemed like there was a greater reason as to why I couldn’t go, but I can’t recall that reason.

Twisted Sister released ‘Stay Hungry’ without much fanfare. I bought the LP the day it was released and my buddy Jonathan Everett purchased the cassette tape too. It was okay in my book, but the songs were just a little too poppy for my tastes. But I knew it would propel them to stardom and their videos did just that.

I saw them open up for Iron Maiden before they started headlining on their ‘Stay Hungry’ tour. Everything that I had read about their live performances were true. They came out on the stage and started punching you in the face and gut. They assaulted you with their sound and if that wouldn’t finish you off… Dee Snider would call you every name in the book that had an “F” in it. He was an awesome front man and they had my respect. They carved a TS logo on the backside of my heart that I ended up hiding from the world because my prediction was right about them.

They were the commercial darlings of hard rock and I knew they were going to try to capitalize on that. They released the biggest mistake of their careers with the LP ‘Come Out And Play’ with the worst possible cover song ever… “Leader Of The Pack”.

I listened to that album only once and I haven’t touched it since. Their career took the nose dive that I had predicted.

When they released ‘Love Is For Suckers’, it was too late. The public wanted to forget about Twisted Sister and that was too bad. ‘Love Is For Suckers’ was the best album they ever put out! The Sisters were back to form. No one cared but me and the other few thousands that purchased that doomed yet exceptional LP.

So when I finally watched that DVD over the weekend… I made sure to watch the introductions by the band members themselves along with certain record label executives. It was all very interesting and enlightening.

Earlier today, I thanked Ronie for giving me that DVD. And despite their simple anthem hard rock, musicianship slightly above the abilities of Poison, and Dee Snider’s “I-just-learned-a-word-from-the-dictionary-and-I’ll-use-it-in-song” mentality… I will honestly say that I am a Twisted Sister fan.

Their Behind The Music episode is a great place to start and then check out the DVD I spoke about.

The one thing I know… Much to my sister Pam’s chagrin, my nearly 5 year old niece Chloe loves them. She watched a lot of the DVD with me.

For those of you interested in downloading some good Twisted Sister tunes to get you started… I will suggest these 10.

“Run For Your Life”
“One Bad Habit”
“Tear It Loose”
“Shoot ‘Em Down”
“The Kids Are Back”
“It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It)” the rare live 12” version
“You Can’t Stop Rock n’ Roll”
“The Price”
“I’m So Hot For You”

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Robin Trower 'Long Misty Days'

My friend Christine is a gifted shopper. She can sniff out bargains faster than a police K-9 can locate a dime bag in a lone car sitting in a desolate parking lot. When she’s buying gifts for people she actually thinks about what they like and what they need. For crazy reasons, she puts thought into them.

Me? I just want to get it done and over with.

I was planning on finishing up my shopping on Thursday and Friday, but my tonsillitis sickness kept me home and out of action. So I begged for Christine’s help! And being the nearly professional shopper that she is, we found a day and time that we agreed upon… High Noon on Saturday.

She took another P.I.T.A. (Pain In The Ass) thing out of my hands by allowing me to be her passenger as she drove. That way, I wouldn’t get all angry over the traffic madness. Yes, it did me a world of good staying from behind the wheel. Beside that… Her daughter Gwyneth was going with us.

We hit Friendly Center and HH Gregg. We were done in under an hour! We found easy parking and the stores weren’t as crowded as I had anticipated. I got no headache, I didn’t break out in hives, and I wasn’t filmed by a store’s surveillance system strangling a fellow customer or store employee.

When I have to go shopping with long lines expected, I NEED to have someone with me to bounce off. If I don’t… I will get bored or possibly angry. I may even lay down in the floor like a bored child at the bank. I need a person with me to keep me calm.

When I shop… I know what I want, go in and get it, and I’m out. I don’t waste time looking at other crap. I view shopping as something like clipping my fingernails… It’s got to be done every so often and I get it done quickly with no procrastination.

After the shopping was done… The 3 of us hit the new East Coast Wings in Greensboro. They've been gone from the G-B-O for a long time. And that’s where I got my Christmas miracle!

I never believed in such things before. I thought Christmas/Holiday miracles only happened to good people… Not to people like me! The kind of guy that doesn’t like the Holidays. The kind of guy who possesses a heart that’s a little darker than most.

But it happened! And it appeared to me in one of the strangest places… Rachelle (pronounced “Rachel”) brought me either my second or third Red Oak beer at East Coast Wings and there it was. The ice from the chilled mug had gotten together with the heady foam of my Red Oak to form the shape of a 5 point star.

I took a picture with my cell phone… I must share my Christmas Miracle with the World!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stray Cats 'Best Of The Stray Cats - Rock This Town'

Yes I know… I haven’t updated this joker in a while and I don’t really feel like doing it now. Why? Because I’m sick.

I felt like a sore throat was coming on Wednesday morning. It wasn’t bad, but cough drops didn’t seem to help at all. I thought nothing of it and continued with my day and got my haircut that night.

I had planned on seeing Walk Hard, but when I got to my truck right after my haircut… I couldn’t stop shivering for a full 2 minutes until the truck got fully heated.

I got home and put on my leather coat over my jacket. And that didn’t really seem to help. I took my temperature and found out that I had a fever. Great!

By the next day, I woke to find that the top of my throat had become a big cue ball of pain. It felt large and it hurt to swallow so much that I didn’t even want to eat. I didn’t have any cold symptoms… So I did what I haven’t been able to do in close to 7 years… I went to see a doctor.

I kept putting it off and putting it off… I don’t like going to the doctor. I’m always afraid they’ll find something that I don’t wanna know about. I’m totally at ease with finding out about an illness and going out like Eazy-E. It’s the treatment part and “staying strong” that I’ve got a problem with.

I don’t like the crowded offices full of sick folk like me… And imagine my surprise when I found an almost empty office!

I filled out the paperwork and in about 30 minutes I was in an examination room having my arm squeezed and my temperature taken by a machine! This particular nurse actually believed the reading on the machine when it came to my blood pressure. She didn’t take it again like most nurses using the old-fashioned manual way. Most nurses typically say while squeezing my arm a second time, “A man your size doesn’t usually have a BP this low.”

For the record… My BP is 115 over 77. Choke on that, you non-drinking vegetarians. I’ve always been a few heart beats over dead.

The nurse then took a long swap-stick to rub on the back of my throat for a strep test. I said, “Now I’m going to warn ya… I really don’t wanna throw up on you.”

“That rarely happens,” she said. “All I ask is that you don’t spit on me.”

Amazingly, I handled my gag-reflex easily! Linda Lovelace would have been proud of me. I had no mishaps and the nurse gave me a pat on the back.

Then an Ears, Nose, and Throat guy can in to tell me that I didn’t have strep. The only symptom that I had was a very sore throat without a runny nose or coughing. I had tonsillitis and it was of the bacterial variety rather than the viral. I didn’t care either way… I just wanted it to go away.

I fully expected to hear that I had throat cancer and my days left on Earth were few.

But the doctor went on to check my ears… They looked good, clean, and free of infection. Then he looked up my nose and found the same deal there.

He sat down, wrote me a prescription, and we chit-chatted about rock n’ roll. It seems that Dr. Keever was part of Ozzy Osbourne’s rider… He was Ozzy’s E.N.T. for a local concert stop back in the 90’s.

He gave me my ‘script and I headed towards Walgreen’s. The wait there was more painful than the stay at the Urgent Care. According to the doc, the meds would make me feel a lot better real soon. I must have waited for at least 4 old school Metallica songs (that’s roughly 28 minutes for those you that do not know).

I got the pills, paid for them, and headed home. On the ride, I opened up the bag and bottle to find that the pills were as big as a 1985 Ford Escort. I’m exaggerating of course, but my throat was swollen so bad that it hurt to drink water… It was an easy comparison to make. And it was difficult to swallow. I don’t normally have any problems taking pills, but yesterday I found it very challenging.

After the first pill… I didn’t feel any better. Although I had my appetite, I just didn’t have the will to eat anything. Not even soup. It hurt too much to swallow. I still had a fever and only felt like sleeping. I remember waking up and feeling that swallowing was easier.

Self-preservation has won out and I feel like I can eat something. I also feel a little bit better too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stratocruiser 'Mod Guitar Christmas'

I did some Christmas shopping today. I really don’t like shopping for anything during the holidays because the lines are long and generally folks are rude. But I had to get some gift cards for grandparents and my father. I also picked up a much needed item… A DVD called KISSology Volume 3.

It took me an hour to hit 3 stores for the various items and it was really painless. I hit Wal-Mart for a gift card for Grandma Pence and my KISSology DVD.

I don’t like the fact that KISS puts out 3 different bonus disc versions specific to certain vendors. I weighed the options of bonus discs available and went with the Wal-Mart version. The bonus concert is the 1996 reunion show at Madison Square Garden. Since New York is KISS’ hometown, I felt like they would put out a little more energy for a better show.

I keep a slim glimmer of hope that one day I’ll spend my life with someone I truly love and that KISS will put out a KISSology containing all the bonus discs. I suppose time will tell. And if you’re a gambler, put your money on the KISSology collection.

Overall, my shopping experience was very pleasant. I still have some nieces, sisters, and brothers-in-law to shop for… And I have no idea what to get them.

Here’s a picture of the t-shirt that I got Chloe for Christmas…

I’m sure her mother/my sister will simply love it. Hey… Someone has to school her in cool, right?

--It seems that a couple of my friends are interested in finding out why I dislike the holidays so much. They want to get to the “root” of it all and they’re not amused that I have dissed just about every Christmas movie or special.

Yes… I know Christine… That every one of those things don’t have musical numbers in them. I’ve never had the desire to see any of them. And now Christine is going to make me watch A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott. Until I saw her daughter in a production last Sunday evening, I had never seen A Christmas Carol. Oh, I know the Happy Days version along with other sitcom takes on the classic, but I’ve never cared to see any true adaptation of it. I know the players and the basic storyline, but I just don’t care. Tiny Tim is hungry and walks with a bad limp… Blah, blah, blah.

I will try my best to let you know what I don’t like about the holidays…

First of all, I don’t like surprises. I don’t like being put on the spot with expressing my “love” for an item that I may not even want or need.

Secondly, I don’t like the traffic during this time of year.

Thirdly, I don’t like all of the love flowing from out of the people around me. Parking lots are basically fist fights waiting to happen (a Jeff Kay-ism) even though they pretend to love their brothers during this time of year.

Today at Wal-Mart, I went to the checkout and said to the cashier, “Hey. How ya doing?”

The guy didn’t even so much as fart. I guess his badge reading that he’s been in Wal-Mart service for 10 years didn’t include a congeniality award.

When I was leaving the checkout I said, “You have a great day.”

Nothing back. Not even a “thank you”. So I thought to myself that Wal-Mart must be doing their part by hiring a mute.

Fourth on that list… I’m generally lonely during the holidays. Sure, there’s plenty of family to hang with, but I have no kids or anyone special. The Christmas holidays are portrayed as a time to share with that special person. It just feels like everyone around me is so happy and basking in the spirit of love. I get the feeling that if someone were to leave a fecal deposit on a merry person’s doorstep… They would be greeted at the door with a gift wrapped box, invited in for some eggnog, and handed keys to a new Lexus.

Sorry… I didn’t mean to get all heavy on you. But some folks want to know why I don’t like this time of year and you got it. Unfiltered and straight like a warm shot of Jim Beam.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’m going to take a warm nip from my 1.75 liter bottle of Jim Beam. The one holiday treat that I can count on.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Finger Eleven 'Them Vs. You Vs. Me'

A family member was laid to rest yesterday… I’m talking about my cat Monroe.

She got to the point where she was standing around and moaning as loud as a car alarm for no apparent reason. She wasn’t hungry. She wasn’t thirsty. And no matter how I would talk to her, she wouldn’t calm herself down. She would just stand there and bellow like a bull in a pasture. It didn’t sound pleasant so I’m pretty sure she wasn’t moaning because she felt like Tom Cruise on Oprah.

It had to be done. And I wasn’t really all that fond of cleaning her litter box all time. It seemed like she didn’t care where she popped a squirt or pinched a loaf. It was pretty nasty.

The novelty of seeing her blindly bump into things wore off rather quickly. Especially when she sensed an opening ahead, but had no idea that there was a low overhang. I would hear her little skull meet that object and it sounded like a really loud knuckle pop. I felt bad for her so I know she’s better off.

We ball parked her age to around 19 years, but an old girlfriend claims that she was around when Monroe made her appearance back around 1990-1991. Either way, she had a good and easy life.

--The Dick Broadcasting Company’s Holiday Party was last Friday night. And there were a couple of big surprises.

First surprise… Mike “Mr. Weekend” Sutherland was the dinner entertainment.

Mr. Weekend (or as he was often referred to… “Weak Knees”) performs a salute to Frank Sinatra and friends. I kept waiting for his Sinatra take on “Old Man River” and “Mrs. Robinson” (…fooling with that young stuff like you do… boo, hoo, hoo… woo, woo, woo). Two very wrong Sinatra classics in my opinion, but hilarious!

Secondly… For the first time that in my four years of attending the DBC Holiday parties… There was dancing.

I kind of felt bad for the DJ, because every segue from song to song would be scrutinized by almost everyone in the room. In my mind, that seems like it could be a hard gig.

And the most shocking thing… Watching Chris Kelly dance.

It was painfully funny, but I totally admire his spirit. Kelly got out there and danced as if he didn’t care what anyone was saying about it. He rarely moved on time with the beat.

It was like when you’re at a stoplight behind a car that’s using a turn signal… You’ve got music playing… And on every 28th beat, the light flashes on beat with the snare drum. Kelly could never synch up with the beat and it was like watching a mime pretending to die in quicksand.

Several times my date Kira, Jaclyn, and Heather tried to get me out there, but I wasn’t about to hit the dance floor without the proper music. I told them if the DJ had a copy of Judas Priest’s “Turbo Lover (Hi Octane Dance Mix)” that I would gladly follow them to the floor. Luckily, the DJ didn’t have it and I get to live another day without a dancing embarrassment.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rolling Stones 'Goats Head Soup'

Have you ever been constantly reminded of some event, some object, or even someone?

It’s been happening to me almost on a daily basis and it’s been driving me crazy.

I was watching an episode of Entourage a few weeks ago and the cast ends up in a certain city for the Comic Con International. Back when fires were raging in California, the newscasts were about nothing except the possible destruction of that same city. Even when I look at a TV during sports reports or broadcasts, that city’s name scrolls across the screen telling me how that city’s ball team did.

I don’t seek it out. I don’t even want to seek it out… It just comes to me at the most unexpected times and from the most unexpected places.

Take for instance last night…

I was writing up my blog entry with my back to the television. The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric was on. I wasn’t paying attention to any particular thing about the broadcast until we, the viewers, were told about the death of Reverend Ike Turner… Notorious wife beater and footnote in rock n’ roll history. My ears perked up and I instinctively turned towards the TV to see the rest of the obituary.

Guess what… He died in that damn city. The same city that’s constantly an ice pick in my brain. I’m sick of it!

--Do you ever see the same numbers over and over again?

I see my birth date all the time. Sometimes, when I look at a clock during the 11 O’clock hour I see it. Just the other week, I saw the halftime stats for the Washington Redskins game. The total possession time during the first half by the Redskins was my birth date.

I’ve even had register totals at the grocery store come out to that amount. I’ll look at a CD and every now and again, there’s a song with my birth date as its length.

At first, it drove me crazy. Now I consider it as a good omen. And it’s only been happening within the last few years… I’d say about the last 5 years.

When I spoke about this with a friend that practices New Age beliefs… She told me that it’s a sign that I’m on the right life path. The reason I didn’t see it until a short time ago… I wasn’t where I was supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. When I see those numbers, it’s reassurance that all is right and I’m still on the path.

Meanwhile… That city keeps popping up every day. It’s got me thinking about a lobotomy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kenny Rogers 'Twenty Greatest Hits'

If I ever start a Yes tribute band, I would name them “Affirmative”. Just a random thought.

--I had a remote today at a cellular store with Katie from 1075KZL’s Murphy In The Morning Show. And since I’m the promotions part of it… I’m the guy who gets there an hour early to set everything up.

This morning while getting the remote up and running, I overheard a conversation between a husband and wife. It cracked me up! The conversation went like this…

Husband: “How many times does 8 go into 24?”

Wife: “I don’t know. Don’t bother me with things like that.”

I was thinking two things… Either he’s really stupid and they’ve been together WAY too long or their finances are nothing but a mess.

--I recently watched a movie from Netflix that knocked my socks off! I gave it 5 out of 5 stars! It’s called Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer.

It’s a little weird and unsettling in places. Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer has a fairy tale type feel to it. It has a narrator, Dustin Hoffman, and Alan Rickman. And it when it takes you to the end of the film… It gives you such a hard left turn… You could very well turnover.

Here’s a link to Netflix where you can read the film’s description.

The film runs over 2 hours, but I’m telling you… You will not care because you won’t even notice. It’s that good.

And if you’re a Netflix-er like me… We can be Netflix buddies! Just send a request to

--Sorry about the shortness of this update… I’ve got a full schedule tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

REO Speedwagon 'Second Decade Of Rock & Roll 1981 - 1991'

My musical-loving P.I.T.A. (Pain In The Ass) friend Christine told me that I should give a new reality show a try. She started talking about this guy that makes cakes in Baltimore, but he doesn’t do just any cake… His creations are a bit different. It’s called Ace Of Cakes.

I tried to keep my eyes from glazing over while she told me about this show and the reasons why I would like it… I think I did all right. I maintained eye contact giving the impression that I was interested as she told me about mechanized cakes and ones that explode. To me, the guy and his cakes sounded slightly interesting… But I’ve got more pressing things to watch.

Let me put it into prospective for everyone out there…

My all-time favorite rock band is KISS. I love them! If I could, I would purchase just about all the merchandise they pour out into the market. Gene Simmons is my favorite member of the band. But do I watch Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels?


Did I watch Gene Simmons’ Rock School?

Only one episode.

I just don’t care for most reality shows. I liked and will still watch the granddaddy of the all… COPS. And I loved WWE’s Tough Enough. But nothing else seems to thrill me.

Sure… I’ll admit that I have sat through a couple episodes of So You Think You Can Dance.

I was at a friend’s house who enjoyed the show and I was impressed with those dancing mofos that seek out their 15 minutes of fame. And I will admit that I liked the show and the talent exhibited by the contestants.

So when my friend called me at home before the show aired one night to ask if I was going to watch it… I said, “No. I’m not going to watch it.”

She couldn’t understand it. She said, “You LIKE the show. You told me that you liked it. Why aren’t you going to watch it?”

Frankly, I wasn’t interested in watching it alone. Again, I had better things to watch. She enjoyed watching it and I liked watching it with her. We could talk and comment about what we were seeing. We’d knock back some alcohol while watching. It was good times.

She just cared more about the show than I did. I only enjoyed watching it with her. I had no desire to see it without her… It doesn’t grab my attention like that.

I’ve said it before and I’m writing it down again… If it’s not something that I can watch over and over again for the rest of my life in reruns or on DVD, then I’m not going to waste my time watching it the first time.

Are the reruns of American Idol burning up the local ratings charts? Are season sets of Dancing With The Stars setting new sales records?

No. That’s because there’s no reason to see the outcome again. There was nothing of substance or meaning during the initial first-run airings… The herd mentality is the only thing driving those types of shows. It’s the perfect “water cooler” chatty type of stuff. It seems like something, but it’s really not.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I enjoy shows where someone gets a little artistic by creating, writing, and hiring a group of actors to perform them. Shows where you may actually remember something from them. Shows that cause you to quote lines for the rest of your life (“Not even Roy Clark?” Chris Peterson, Get A Life).

Hey… If you enjoy reality shows, that’s cool with me. Just don’t expect me to watch them. My rule of thumb… If it’s not going to be running on TV Land in 30 years, then I’m not going to waste my time watching it now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ratt 'Reach For The Sky'

Everyday I exercise my mental illness when it comes to selecting my musical choice of the day. And there was a question about how the CD by Life, Sex, & Death came up again within a week or so. Look… It just happened. A new CD was introduced to my collection (Kansas) and by using the last two numbers in that selection’s catalog number to count off to the next selection… Life, Sex, & Death’s CD made a return visit. I didn’t get to the same Metallica CD because I didn’t write up an entry that day.

At least I admit my mental problems and I’m willing to do it on the World Wide Web.

My life generally seems as if there’s no order because I have no set schedule. I have to basically drop everything in my life for something that may come up concerning Rock 92 or 1075KZL. And when you work with Jack Murphy… There’s no telling what and when something is going to happen. You have to be fairly flexible with that man.

The only sense of order that I have in my life are my rotations. I rotate my musical choices and I also rotate my clothing. It’s the two things that I have control over. So that’s it… Within my skull nutshell.

Today’s musical selection is by a band that just doesn’t get enough respect. Ratt were an awesome band. But now they’ve been heaped onto the “hair metal” pile with other bands that clearly suck now as much as they did then. In my opinion… Ratt never sucked. They were clearly better both musically and lyrically than most of the other bands from that era. How Bon Jovi remains a viable and hit producing band these days is beyond me.

Bon Jovi has only 2 songs that I like… “Wanted Dead Or Alive” and “Roulette”. They had keyboards and immediately a red flag sprang up before my mind’s eye. Don’t even get me started on the band that I saw Ratt touring with this past summer… I just don’t like Poison and I never have. I've always considered them an insult to hard rock. Many bands like Black N’ Blue, Kix, Y&T, Kick Axe, Raven, Masters Of Reality, and Trouble were pushed out of the way and forgotten because of Bon Jovi and Poison. They were stylish and good looking. Therefore they got more attention. Style was more important than substance because of the video heydays of MTV.

I wanted an old friend of mine to see Ratt so bad! They were touring with Poison. As it turned out that night… Poison outperformed Ratt. I admit it. I was let down that my friend didn’t get to see the Ratt that I remembered and fell in love with back some 25 years ago. It was only the second time that I was impressed with Poison’s live performance… I have seen them live at least a dozen times.

I had seen Ratt about as many times and that last show was the most disappointing. Oh well.

Ratt’s ‘Reach For The Sky’ CD was a big disappointment to me when it was released back in 1988. For some reason, the rock rodents from L.A. used horns in their music and it sounded as if they were losing their edge. You can hear those horns in “Way Cool Junior”. And the other thing that I didn’t understand about ‘Reach For The Sky’… The album cover never made any sense to me.

In my opinion… Ratt’s EP was not only a great hard rock release, but there’s a slight little punk undertone littered throughout. They looked slick on the outside cover (almost like Duran Duran), but the music within was harsh, loud, poorly produced, and in your face. The first chords of “Sweet Cheater” make me reach for the volume knob and crank it up to this very day.

My little rotation habit (an OCD really) brought up Ratt’s ‘Reach For The Sky’ today. I probably haven’t played this CD since I got it almost 20 years ago. And I must say that it has grown on me a bit. Or perhaps I have mellowed a little over the years like a good brand of Scotch Whiskey.

The weather was perfect for Ratt today. The high temperature was 78 degrees. That allowed me to roll down the windows and crank up some Ratt, baby!

For those of you that legally download MP3’s, I will suggest a few of my favorites:

“Lack Of Communication”
“You’re In Love”
“Back For More”
“Sweet Cheater”*
“You Think You’re Tough”*
“She Wants Money”
“Tell The World”*
“Round And Round”
“Dangerous But Worth The Risk”
“U Got It”*

* Songs from that first EP. Yeah… It’s that damn good!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 'Southern Accents'

I’m not a big fan of Christmas and I never have been. The traffic gets hellacious and folks tend to be a little cutthroat when it comes to prized real estate such as parking spots. Working retail for close to a decade has made me very cynical and slightly scrooge like.

Even as a kid, I became disenchanted with Christmas once I reached the age of seven. But I would say that my downhill slide started even before then.

While drinking with Weather Dave and all our friends the other night at Natty Greene’s… Dave started slinging lines out of Holiday Classics complete with an impression of those characters. He and Doug McKnight were just yucking it up, but I had no idea what they were doing or talking about. They mentioned shows like Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty The Snowman, and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. I just sat there listening, holding my pint of Old Town Brown, and scanning the place for another familiar face.

I have seen pieces of those specials, but never the whole thing. I’ve also never seen A Christmas Story, It’s A Wonderful Life, or Miracle On 34th Street.

First of all, I don’t like musicals. It drives me crazy when a character suddenly breaks out into song and there’s a full invisible band backing them up. It just never made sense to me. I just don’t like the story and dialogue perpetuated through song. No one in normal and sane everyday life breaks out in song during a conversation… So I don’t want it on stage, in my movies, or my television shows.

While growing up, my parents would turn the boob tube over to those Christmas specials. My sisters would sit, watch, and in some cases… Sing along with these shows. Me? I would bail out as soon as that first song kicked in.

I would say that I’ve seen maybe the first 5 minutes of all those classics, but once the singing starts… I have no idea what the rest of those shows are about.

All that Holiday singing and cheer has kept me from watching those non-musical films and specials. It’s like I have a small irrational fear when it comes to Holiday movies and specials. I don’t even want to take a chance because there may be a small percentage of song being sung by a character in those jokers.

I took a chance on watching The Polar Express last year and wouldn’t you know it… Some assh*le character started singing and this assh*le stopped watching it.

I’ve heard from many that there’s no singing in the film A Christmas Story and that it’s quite funny. But I can’t bring myself to watch it. It plays for like a full weekend on TNT or TBS or some other network, but I cannot abide all the commercials. For every ten minutes of movie you get 4 minutes of Madison Avenue telling you what you need or what your loved ones need to be happy. That’s enough to make me eat a bushel of poisonous Mistletoe with a side of Holly berries.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite Christmas movies…

Die Hard
Black Christmas (the 1975 version)
Silent Night, Deadly Night (the 1984 version)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The Homecoming: A Christmas Story

The last one is probably one of the very best of Christmas movies and kicked off the CBS television series known as The Waltons. I was never a big fan of The Waltons until I saw this film at about 1 a.m. in Jeff Kay’s apartment.

We had to be at work early one Sunday for inventory at Peaches Music & Video. Jeff Kay suggested that since we all weren’t going to get out of the store until late Saturday night or a few hours before inventory time (it generally started at 5 a.m.), we should stay up all night drinking beer and watching cheesy movies. One of his suggestions was The Waltons: The Homecoming and it turned out to be one of funniest damn films that I had ever seen.

If you’ve never seen it… Have at it! You’ll be quoting lines for the rest of you life.

“Bootleg whiskey. Don't those crazy old women know I don't allow whiskey in this house? I've got young children in this house! What sort of example do they think we set here? You take it out yonder and pour it on the ground!”

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Various Artists '1970's FM Hits'

I was invited to come hang out on Friday night with Beaverhausen and some of her friends. She wanted me to meet someone. She thought that the two of us could possibly hit it off. And if not, then perhaps make a new friend. You know the drill, don’t cha?

I sure do. It’s loads of fun going in blindly not knowing what to expect and not knowing how to act. Since I usually act like myself, it’s not usually a good thing. Unless I’m wearing a monocle, I tend to be me and I’m nowhere near the suave and debonair border. I’m slightly on edge and afraid to speak my mind on subjects being discussed around me. My views, you see… Aren’t exactly within “normal” parameters. And people either don’t get my jokes or maybe I’m not as amusing as I think I am.

But over the two days leading up to the little get together… I heard nothing from Beaverhausen. All I knew was the general location within an 4 mile stretch of road known as Battleground Avenue.

Friday afternoon, I was getting the sneaking suspicion that I was developing an eye infection. I won’t go into the details, but I couldn’t wait to get to my contact lenses out and call it a day.

I met some friends at Natty Greene’s for a few drinks simply because I haven’t seen them in a long time. I hung out for a couple of hours and went home. On the way, I got a text message from Beaverhausen asking if I were on my way. I called her up and asked just where they were… She handed the phone to someone else. He gave me the address and I was only a mile or so away. The phone was handed to Beaverhausen again and she asked, “Can you pick up something at the liquor store for me? I didn’t have time to pick anything up.”

Sure… I can deal with simple requests. But I was a little irritated that the liquor store was a few miles in the opposite direction. Being the kind of guy that I am, I said that I would do it. Then she started talking like an auctioneer with a grocery list of items that I had never heard of. I said, “Hold on. I don’t know what you’re talking about and I’m going to have to write this stuff down.”

So when I got to the booze shop I called her back up to go over the items again. She was telling me about things like “pucker” and tequila. Two things that I know nothing about. I didn’t know what “pucker” was and to top it off… Beaverhausen was giving me the metric sizes of the stuff! I don’t know nothing ‘bout no metric system, Miss Scarlet. So being the metric-moron that I am (and I don’t know anything about kilobytes, gigs, and computer crap either)… I asked for measurements using pints, fifths, and gallons. You tell me 1.75 liters and I’m scratching my head to get rid of the confusion itch. But the itch immediately starting turning into a rash and Beaverhausen was starting to sense that. She said that they’d call the hooch house and have them gather the items to leave at the counter for me. She’d call me back to let me know when it had been done.

After about 5 minutes, I called her back. She still hadn’t called them so I decided to go ahead on my own.

I found the “pucker” crap near the front of the store and then ventured around for the tequila. I never drink the stuff (I detest it) and had no idea what I was looking for… I only had the name and size… 1.75 liters of something called “1800”. After looking around the parts of the store that I had never ventured through, I found the tequila section. I found the “1800” on the top shelf, checked the label for metric size, checked the price tag underneath the bottles, and nearly dropped a kilo in my pants! That “1800” sh*t was FIFTY BONES!

No way I was picking that up, so I started looking on the bottom shelves for Senior Vladimir who resides in my price range. He apparently doesn’t venture outside of Russia. So I sent a text message back to Beaverhausen as I searched and priced Smirnoff Red Label vodka. She wanted the 1.75 liter size which translates to the gallon size for me. For what they wanted, I was looking at spending $80 on something that I had no intentions of ingesting. The message I was sending out was “Who is paying for all this?”

I felt like I was being set up and footing the bill. I was unsure and I didn’t like it. The reply I got was a simple “?”.

With my eye bothering me, the unsure feeling of going into an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people, and possibly getting stuck with purchasing $80 of liquor without repayment… I sent a message to Beaverhausen saying, “I am out. Goodnight.” I put the “pucker” back in it’s place, left the store, and pointed Roxy to the way home.

I didn’t answer her calls and I didn’t answer her text messages. I felt a little angry and didn’t want to talk. Because when I’m angry, I tend to say hurtful things that I don’t mean. The Scorpio in me really comes to the forefront when I’m angry. I can be extremely precise with a furious scalpel and get to your weak points very quickly. And over the years, I’ve learned to control it by shutting down and no longer expressing myself or emotions. I will walk away and allow myself some time to calm down. And it’s best to let me do that.

Then I got a message from Beaverhausen that I had to respond to… She asked what grade I was in and told me that I was acting like a child. To which I responded with “You send Opie to do Otis Campbell’s shopping. I didn’t know what I was looking for and I didn’t like the price tags. If it was that important to have all those items, you should have made time to get them yourself. G’nite.”

And that was pretty much the end of my evening. You tell me this by leaving a comment… Was I wrong?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Life Sex & Death 'The Silent Majority'

What is the deal with earpieces these days?

It seems that every mofo on the planet is sporting one of those damn things. To me, those types of people are like the same types of people from 10 years ago that did their damnedest to let everyone around them know they owned a cell phone. It’s like they have to show everyone just how important they are by strolling around God’s creation with a Bluetooth device jammed into their ears.

Just last night, I was hanging with Weather Dave, Jaclyn, “B-Ware”, Heather, and Doug McKnight down at Natty Greene’s when we noticed a couple of real doucheketeers (a Jeff Kay-ism) strolling down the stairs with those Bluetooth things wedged into their ears. They were amongst friends and probably wives… But they simply had let everyone around them know that they were way too important for hand-to-head cell phone conversations. Radio communication is way more important for these “Uhura’s” than face to face conversations.

A buddy of mine went through a phase with his little Bluetooth device… His name is Tim. It would drive me crazy that he would constantly have that thing lodged in his ear as we ate at East Coast Wings. Sometimes, I thought he was talking to me when he was actually talking to someone else.

I’m starting to think that a Bluetooth device is just another phallic display for men.

Another thing I don’t like about this trend… When these yahoos are using their phones with their earpieces, I think they’re talking to me. I usually say, “Excuse me?” Or I just start answering their questions.

And what’s the deal with restaurants adopting this same type of look?

Have you been to Chili’s in a while?

More than half of the wait staff are running around with earpieces and microphones. I simply can’t believe there’s someone in the back watching and monitoring all of the things going on in Chili’s. It gives the impression that there’s a SWAT trained person in back ready at a moments notice to give the order for a wing delivery to drop from the ceiling with ropes and napkins.

Do they think that I, the customer, feel more assured that I’m being waited on properly and without incident when “Amber” brings my Chicken Ranch sandwich to the table with a phone headset?

I guess the average Chili’s customer is confident that their food orders will be carried out with great precision and skill from the earpiece wait-squad. Hey, whatever gets you through the indigestion…

The only time that I wear an earpiece is when I’m driving and I have to use the phone. And even then, the person I’m talking to complains about not being able to hear me. There’s too much “road noise” or maybe I’ve got my Life, Sex, & Death CD playing too loudly. I’m just looking out for my own safety as well of those around me.

Am I being silly about this? Or am I right about all this “ear pretentiousness”?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jerry Lee Lewis 'Last Man Standing'

I finished off Freaks And Geeks: The Complete Series on DVD. I wasn’t impressed at first, but by the 3 disc… I was waiting for the next one like a man on a deserted island waiting for an Omaha Steak to wash ashore.

I hated that the show had to end. It ended without making me wonder about the character’s outcomes… I just figured that everyone made it out alive.

The guidance counselor turns the main character, Lindsey Weir, onto the Grateful Dead’s ‘American Beauty’ LP and she ditches her intellectual pursuits to twirl after the Dead on the road. Kim joins her along the way proving that she will always be her friend no matter what lies ahead in life.

Nick Andopolis leaves his Rush and drums behind to pursue dancing and the dying musical form known as disco. Meanwhile, everyone else remains the same and yet they stretch out. Daniel bonds with the geeks by playing Dungeons and Dragons with them. And Ken learns to accept the fact that his girlfriend was born a hermaphrodite.

Beautiful stuff, really.

The show ends okay enough despite the unanswered questions. I can totally live with that. And I highly recommend Freaks And Geeks even though I wasn’t sure at the beginning. I gave the series 5 out of 5 stars.

Last night I started season one of Gilmore Girls. I wasn’t sure about that one, but I have several Netflix friends who loved the show. So since I respect their opinions, I added it to my queue.

Through the first 20 minutes, I wasn’t sure. But by the end of the first episode, I could tell that I was going to be hooked! The writing is witty and full of pop culture references… Just my style. I like Lorelai’s character… The unwed mother who gave up everything to raise her daughter and chase her own dreams. And for some reason, I like the Luke Danes character. He’s rough around the edges and says whatever he wants.

I may just get hooked on this show.

As for the recent movies… The Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer was very uneventful and not nearly as fun as the original. I gave it 3 stars even though I still don’t understand the Silver Surfer character.

I also checked out Cheap Trick ‘Music For Hangovers on DVD. I purchased the CD when it was released, but never knew there was a DVD to go along with it.

It was filmed on video (should have been filmed) and shot by what seemed to be amateur camera folk. Overall, the performance from Cheap Trick is top-notch despite the production values.

Cheap Trick are a band that doesn’t get the respect that they deserve… But if you see them once, you can always say that you saw a legendary band that few recognize as such.

I gave Music For Hangovers 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, December 03, 2007

K. D. Lang 'Shadowland'

The time is near for me to say goodbye to a longtime friend… A friend of mine that has been with me since 1998. A friend that I hung out with despite all the stares and laughter from those around us. A friend that has been with me through all the good times and bad. A friend that I will miss greatly because there’s just nothing else like it… My Dick Trickle Helig-Meyers racing t-shirt.

I didn’t like NASCAR racing when I was a youngster. I just didn’t see the point in watching 40 rednecks drive 500 miles in a circle. I would tell my father that and he would say without turning his head from the television… “Son, you just don’t understand.”

I didn’t and I can see that know. At the time, I had no interest in NASCAR at all. The only names that I knew were the ones that I saw on advertising posters or t-shirts drifting around my personal space. I knew about Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Mark Martin, and the favorite driver of my parents… Bill Elliott.

By the way… Bill Elliott has one of the greatest quotes in NASCAR Victory Lane interviews. After winning the Winston Million, he said something like this in the Winner’s Circle… “I’d like to thank Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Coor’s beer…”

If I had of seen that on live TV, I’m sure I would have busted a testicle laughing. I have seen the interview on ESPN Classic.

One Sunday night, I happened to be finishing up some laundry at my parent’s house. The sports report was on and they were running down the list of top 10 finishers for the race that day. I wasn’t really paying that much attention, but one racer’s name caught my attention like a tank in a Wal-Mart parking lot. That racer’s name was Dick Trickle.

I busted out laughing and my parents were used to me making uproarious outbursts. They didn’t ask, but I had to say… “Who is this Dick Trickle? Is this guy real? It sounds like a slang term for a venereal disease!”

Following NASCAR as they did, my parents had never thought of that little viewpoint and they too started laughing.

That name caused me to search out Monday’s newspaper to find where Dick Trickle placed the previous day. As I started reading articles in the paper, I became more and more fascinated by the man behind the funny name. As it turned out, the guy has more stock car wins than anyone else in the history of the sport. He waited too long to join the ranks of NASCAR. He is the oldest NASCAR Winston-Cup Rookie of the Year at the age of 48. A record that will most undoubtedly stand.

I started following Trickle when he was driving the #8 Snicker’s Ford Thunderbird. While watching the races on TV, I would always have plenty of FunSize Snicker’s on hand. If Trickle fell out of the race, there would be no more Snicker’s for anyone.

The guy’s name was so popular that ESPN would always list where their favorite driver finished.

I even had the pleasure of meeting him once…

I heard all kinds of stories about the man from other NASCAR fans. How folks would camp out in the infield during race weekends and how Dick Trickle ended up hanging out with them on a Friday night drinking beer. For some reason, beer or as Trickle called them… “Barley pops”… Were always involved.

Because of his age and NASCAR owners going with younger and prettier drivers… Trickle struggled to find full-time rides in stock car’s premier league. I kept the faith and I believed that if he found the right combination and sponsor, he could win at least one race in what was then called the Winston Cup Series.

The first race I saw was at North Wilkesboro with my buddy Wally Harrison during Richard Petty’s farewell tour. Dick and Richard, the old guys, were starting in the top 10. They didn’t finish there. But it was great seeing the Snickers Thunderbird race right in front of me.

Dick Trickle was a character in the fullest sense. He drank beer and smoked. He even smoked while he drove in the races. He said things off the top of his head without thinking about how others would react. And on a short track, the guy was always a contender if he had the right equipment under him.

And about his name… He thought it was good that it caught everyone’s attention. He didn’t mind having his name as a joke around the track’s port-a-johns… “I just saw Dick Trickle” was a common phrase when some guy came out of one. And I liked wearing Dick Trickle t-shirts. It did seem kind of funny and I was one of the few wearing one.

In a sense, Dick Trickle made me feel special. And I hate that my shirt must be laid to rest.

As you can see from these pictures… The shirt is worn out. I placed a white towel inside to show where the holes are and the collar is frayed.

But instead of tossing it into the garbage and letting it decompose in the landfill at the end of White Street… I’m going to dispose of it like an American flag. It has served me well and must be burned with fire.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lenny Kravitz 'Mama Said'

The only thing that surprised me about Evel Knievel’s death was his age. I ventured a guess of 78 and he was only 69. I guess breaking just about every bone in your body will age you beyond your years. The last time I saw Evel on television… He looked like a skinny Q-Tip equipped with an oxygen tank that possessed a very bad tan. He didn’t look good.

When I was a kid back in the 1970’s… Evel Knievel was jumping his motorcycle over just about every Mack Truck or Greyhound bus on the planet. And he usually did it on ABC’s Wide World Of Sports to inspire America’s children to break arms, legs, and skulls. If you were a kid and you had a bicycle back then… You were jumping something and tearing up your Toughskins along with your own epidermis.

I remember watching Evel jump Snake River Canyon in Idaho. The event had already happened on closed circuit TV for paying viewers around the world, but I had to wait until it was replayed on Wide World Of Sports. I knew the outcome, but I didn’t care. I wanted to see exactly what had happened. It was pretty disappointing.

I practically had all of the Evel Knievel toys when I was younger. Those things actually kept me from jumping by bicycle over Dad’s 1963 Chevy Corvair. Yeah… I thought about it. If it weren’t for those toys, I probably wouldn’t be here right now or at the very least… I would be talking very slowly from the brain damage.

I would jump my Stunt Cycle over all kinds of things. I had the transporter. I had the Stunt Car. I even had the Sky Cycle. Of course, the Sky Cycle was meant for jumps off houses and other high spots. My friends and I would spend HOURS winding up and releasing those toys every day. The Evel Knievel stuff was crazy! We would find new ways to tear them up and buy more. Kenner toys made a mint from those things! And what a genius plan it was.

Evel Knievel also made movies, but I only remember one… Viva Knievel starring Evel, Lauren Hutton, Gene Kelly, and Leslie Nielsen (from Airplane! and the Naked Gun films).

No… You can’t take anything seriously when Leslie Nielsen says it. Hell, you can’t take anything seriously in the film Viva Knievel. It is an unintentional bad film.

Here are some points of interests…

Evel sneaks into an orphanage during the wee hours of the night with a load of Stunt Cycles and his own action figures for all the kids. The kids wake up and start freaking out. A questions and answers session breaks out until one little boy gets out of his bed and starts making his way over to Evel. The little boy says something like this… “When I saw you get up and walk away from that crash…” He drops one of his crutches. “I knew that I could do it too…” The little boy drops his other crutch. “You’re the reason I’m walking, Evel. YOU’RE THE REASON!”

Oh, that’s funny stuff!

But it doesn’t stop there… No. Evel Knievel shows off his classy and suave ways with the ladies. When talking with Lauren Hutton’s character, he calls her “Miss” and she quickly corrects him with a “Ms”. Evel says, “So are you a woman, or a Ms.?”

During the film, Evel gives a speech about the dangers of drugs in front of a large crowd gathered before one of his jumps. He likens the drugs to Indy racers using Nitro in their cars. Neither are good… Blah, blah, blah… And one day, as Evel says… “You’ll blow all to hell.” One classic anti-drug speech.

One of my favorite lines in the film… Evel’s about to make a jump and his technician stops him and informs him that HE’S going to make the jump. Evel asks, “Have you been smoking something???”

The technician says, “Man! Maybe you oughta get high!”

Simply beautiful.

Viva Knievel is one of those films that is so funny… You should watch it with friends. The lines are hilarious all the way through… You just can’t take the film’s villain Leslie Nielsen seriously, especially when he commands a gunman to “Drop him! DROP HIM!!!” It just makes you bust out laughing.

If you like bad movies… Check it out. It’s a riot! If you don’t like bad movies, at least check it out for Evel’s Orphanage faith healing scene. It’s that funny.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Kansas 'Point Of Know Return'

I continue my trilogy of dead celebrities with Washington Redskins Safety, Sean Taylor.

Now first of all, I’m not a huge football fan. I don’t watch every single game. As a matter of fact… I watch only the Redskins games during the regular season. I’m a very passive fan when it comes to the NFL as a whole. I may occasionally watch some playoff games and if I’m invited to a party… I’ll watch the Super Bowl.

It’s not that I don’t like football, because I do. I just feel like watching only the games with the Redskins because I have a stake in what they do. I was born into a family of Redskins fans. Right after I exited the womb, I was handed a Redskins hat and t-shirt.

I used to keep up with the names of the players, but over the years with free agency… I just gave up retaining all names and keeping up with all the changes. If you put a gun to my head and asked me to name 11 current players… I’d fail miserably.

The only real thing that stands out in my mind concerning Sean Taylor was the time he spat into another players face. Sure, he was a really good player with the potential of being a great player. But his problems both on the field and off kept him from achieving notoriety as one of the great Redskins players. He did a lot of stupid things for someone possessing the gifts and talents that he had.

So when I heard the news that he was shot in his Miami home… I must admit that I wasn’t all that surprised. When I heard that he had died… That was a little bit of a shock. The prognosis from the previous day seemed dire, but when I heard there was a squeeze given to the doc’s hand… It looked as if things for the most part were going to be all right.

I flew the colors that day out of respect. I wore my personalized Redskins “Away” jersey (white) as if I were wearing a black band that covered my upper body instead of just my bicep.

The friends and peers of Sean Taylor’s spoke about how he was changing his life. And that makes me a little sad… The guy had the potential of being more than a footnote in the history of the NFL.

I’ll write about Evel Knievel tomorrow.