The 30 Day Song Challenge – Part 1

Y’all know I’m a rebel, right?? You also know that on previous occasions I have been inspired by things I see on social media. I saw this challenge on Facebook awhile back and immediately knew it was something I wanted to dive into. However, not only do I not have the patience to post a different song every day for an entire month, but I also didn’t want to be flippant in my answers…I feel like it is important to provide context. I have been listening to a lot of music the past few months, so I’ve taken some time to really ponder my responses. I have added the extra stipulation…just as a fun obstacle for myself…that no artist can have more than one song (although there is one exception to that rule). I could do this challenge several more times and choose totally different songs, but I’m pretty satisfied with the list presented. Enjoy.  

 

 

 

 

1       A song you like with a color in the title…

Purple Rain (Prince)

I have to be honest…I was never a huge Prince fan when I was a kid & he was popular. It wasn’t until I grew up that I really understood the depth of his talent. His performance at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2007 is certainly one of the best ever. In 1984 the film Purple Rain was released in theaters, but let’s be real…all anyone remembers about that movie is Prince’s love interest Apollonia Kotero appearing topless, which 12 year old Me was rather psyched about. The song is much more memorable. There are dozens of tunes with a color in the title, but this one popped into my head almost immediately.

 

 

2       A song you like with a number in the title…

1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky)

Countless songs come to mind. I could pick any of several dozen tunes, but I’ve chosen to go off the beaten path. It seems odd that a song written over 120 years ago to commemorate a Russian military victory could become a staple of America’s celebration of independence, but it is one of my favorite moments every July 4th, especially when played by the Boston Pops. The song is about 16 minutes long, and I encourage everyone to enjoy every single second of it.

 

 

3       A song that reminds you of summertime…

Summer Wind (Frank Sinatra)

Ol’ Blue Eyes!! Summer is my favorite season, and there is no shortage of songs out there that symbolize it in various ways. Having said that, one can’t go wrong listening to The Chairman croon about painted kites, golden sand, & a blue umbrella sky.

 

 

4       A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget…

Bad Bad Leroy Brown (Jim Croce)

This one is really difficult for me because I associate music with happiness & good memories, and I’m not sure I even bother to connect music with people I don’t like. However, after much ponderation I did recall a funny story. About two decades ago I spent seven years as a supervisor at a teleservices company. We always played music during the call session, and then we’d turn up the volume at break time. One day a busybody from the corporate office was lurking and questioned whether or not Bad Bad Leroy Brown was “call center appropriate” because of the lyric “baddest man in the whole damn town”. The company liked to represent itself as having “Christian values”, although in my experience that wasn’t exactly true. At any rate, I am a Christian myself but far from a prude, so I found her opinion laughable. I wonder what she would have thought had she heard us playing Brick House by The Commodores (which was a regular part of the rotation)?? I have more than one reason to dislike this person, but the Leroy Brown story fits the present criteria just fine.

 

 

5       A song that needs to be played loud…

Paradise by the Dashboard Light (Meat Loaf)

I have a lot of great college memories, especially when it comes to Greek life. Paradise was kind of an unofficial theme song for one of the sororities on campus, and things always got a little bit rowdy when the song came on. Meat Loaf enjoyed a brief career renaissance in the early 90’s, so I suppose that was part of it too.

 

 

6       A song that makes you want to dance…

Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Blues Brothers)

Forgive me, but another college story. This is our fraternity’s unofficial theme song, accompanied by a well-choreographed dance (always sublimely performed once we were…comfortably numb) and a bawdy post-dance chant that I cannot repeat within the family friendly confines of The Manofesto.

 

 

7       A song to drive to…

I Can’t Drive ‘55 (Sammy Hagar)

Has it aged well?? I don’t know. Certainly driving 55MPH seems like a quaint idea in these days of 65/70 miles per hour speed limits. But when the song was released way back in 1984 exceeding 55MPH seemed cool & edgy. Actually Sammy Hagar could easily update it to I Can’t Drive ’85 and wouldn’t have to change anything else.

 

 

8       A song about drugs/alcohol…

Cocaine (Eric Clapton)

I have never been into drugs myself with the exception of a few adventures with weed, and my drunken frat boy days are way in the rear view mirror. However, there are a ton of superb songs about such activities, and this one immediately sprang to mind. Clapton is truly one of the all-time greats.

 

 

9       A song that makes you happy…

Footloose (Kenny Loggins)

I can’t dance myself, but how can one not love a snappy tune that just makes you want to shake your groove thing?? If I’m in my vehicle and Footloose comes on the radio I’m turning up the volume and rockin’ out, and I’m not shutting off the engine ‘til the song is over.

 

 

10     A song that makes you sad…

I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston)

I’m a sucker for a good romance. 1992’s The Bodyguard starred not only one of my favorite actors in Kevin Costner, but was the film debut of songstress Whitney Houston, a longtime teenage crush. Houston was enchanting, and her premature death devastating. At any rate, for The Bodyguard she remade what had originally been a hit for Dolly Parton in the early 70’s. I am a person who is always rooting for the guy & girl to end up together at the end, so a song about things not quite working out makes me sad anyway. Add in Whitney Houston’s haunting rendition of the song and her tragic demise and…well…I’m a little verklempt.

 

 

11     A song you never tire of…

Leave a Tender Moment Alone (Billy Joel)

I’m a huge Billy Joel fan, so I could listen to practically his entire catalogue all day every day. However, given the task of choosing just one song things become clear. Joel’s vocals are so good on this tune, and my heart longs to meet a gal that can make me feel what he expresses.

 

 

12     A song from your preteen years…

Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)

No one was bigger than Michael Jackson in the 1980’s. Billie Jean was released in January 1983, before I turned 11 years old. It was a catchy song with a cool video, and that spring Jackson performed the song on a Motown TV special, introducing the masses to The Moonwalk. My childhood was full of pop culture moments like that.

 

 

13     A song you like from the 70’s…

Somebody to Love (Queen)

I almost hate broad questions like this. Can you narrow it down for me?? The 70’s were such a great decade for music, so it’s hard to make a definitive choice. Using my own self-directed parameters makes things a little easier, and I feel like I really need to include a song from Queen. You can have Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions, & We Will Rock You (all fine songs…don’t misunderstand)…for my money it doesn’t get much better than this. Queen’s combination of beautiful lead vocals by Freddie Mercury, impeccable musicianship, and melodic harmonies is unmatched in rock music.

 

 

14     A song you’d love to be played at your wedding…

Now & Forever (Richard Marx) & From This Moment On (Shania Twain)

I can’t choose just one. I suppose one could be played during the ceremony and the other as a first dance, although to be honest I’ve never been enamored with the whole idea of a bride & groom’s first dance for obvious reasons. Anyway, I think both songs are perfect for such an occasion.

 

 

15     A song you like that’s a cover from another artist…

To Make You Feel My Love (Garth Brooks)

About a year ago I was laid up in the hospital and kind of tired of television (the more things change…yada yada yada), so I began listening to a lot of music via the Amazon Music app on my phone. I’m not a country music guy, but I do enjoy some Garth Brooks and stumbled onto this one, much to my everlasting pleasure. What I didn’t know until later was that Brooks recorded the cover in 1998…the original had been written by Bob Dylan a year or so earlier, and even though it was on one of his albums he never released it as a single. A few months before Dylan’s album dropped my man Billy Joel recorded the song for his Greatest Hits Volume III. As much as I love Billy Joel I have to say that I enjoy the Garth Brooks version better.

 

 

 

This feel like an appropriate time to take a break. Stay tuned for Part 2!

Farewell Whitney

I was watching  The Hangover.

It was a snowy night in February. One of those lazy Saturdays where one slowly melts the hours away reading, napping, snacking, and watching movies. Then I decided to check out Facebook and see if others were having an equally exciting weekend. That is when I saw the news.

Whitney Houston was dead.

I turned my TV on to CNN and spent the next few hours watching their admittedly awkward coverage. As unprepared as I was for the news of Whitney’s death, I was even more surprised by my reaction. I am normally somewhat dismissive or at the very least unemotional in a Vulcanic kind of way about celebrity deaths. Michael Jackson is dead?? Ehhh…he was a freak who likely molested little boys. Great songs though. Princess Diana is dead?? Ehhh…her greatest accomplishment was marrying well. And the news coverage was obscenely excessive, especially given that Mother Teresa died the same week. Amy Winehouse?? You didn’t exactly have to be Miss Cleo to see that coming. But this…this is different. At one point, as CNN went to commercial and was playing some of Whitney’s songs, I found that tears were streaming down my grizzled face. Dismissive?? Unemotional?? No…this time, for some odd reason, I was profoundly sad.

I was SO in love with Whitney Houston when I was 14 years old. She, along with Who’s the Boss? star Alyssa Milano, were among my first celebrity crushes. Whitney was beautiful and her songs were awesome. I didn’t necessarily understand it on a conscious level at the time, but I think I was in the early stages of truly understanding talent and developing good taste in music.

Then in the early 90’s, when I was in college and had moved onto other interests and my musical palate was evolving, Whitney Houston married Bobby Brown and the magic was gone. She became a cliché. Domestic violence. Drug abuse. Rehab. Embarrasing appearances. Erratic behavior. Oh there were flashes here & there, but for all intents & purposes her brilliant career ended somewhere around 1997. It’s staggering to think of the music & films the world was robbed of in the past 15 years.

And now there will be no dazzling comeback. That beautiful voice has been silenced forever. We don’t yet know the “official” reason, but of course most have jumped to understandably logical conclusions. However, I come not to bury Whitney but to praise her. The who’s, what’s, and why’s don’t really matter anyway. I will let others assign blame. The fact is that the life of one of the most intensely talented performers in recent memory has been senselessly, needlessly, tragically cut short.

Fortunately, we do have a solid library of music produced by Whitney before Bobby Brown dragged her into the abyss. And that is my purpose here today…to celebrate the life & music of my dearly departed celebrity crush. To Whitney…wherever your soul currently resides…I can only say that I will always love you. So, without further ado, I give you…..

 

from the home office in Angel City, FL…..

 

The Superfluous 7 (in no particular order) Favorite Whitney Houston Songs:

 

One Moment In Time


How Will I Know


So Emotional


Where Do Broken Hearts Go


All At Once


Didn’t We Almost Have It All


I Wanna Dance With Somebody

100 Favorite Movies…..#5

Do you remember 1983?? I do…sort of. I was 11 years old and in the 6th grade. Ronald Reagan was in office and proposed the Strategic Defense Initiative, more commonly referred to as Star Wars. The U.S. Invaded Grenada, an island that very few had ever heard of and probably 95% of the population still cannot locate on a map. Everyone wanted their MTV, a channel that at that time still aired music videos. Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a national holiday. Return of the Jedi ruled the box office, or one could buy a $3 ticket to see films like All the Right Moves, Flashdance, The Big Chill, Mr. Mom, Terms of Endearment, Valley Girl, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Right Stuff, Scarface, Eddie & the Cruisers, Jaws 3-D, Octopussy, The Outsiders, Risky Business, Trading Places, and War Games. DeLorean stopped making cars two years before a DeLorean was used as a time machine in Back to the Future. McDonald’s started selling something called Chicken McNuggets. Chrysler introduced us to the minivan. Legendary college football coach Bear Bryant died. Sally Ride…well…rode the space shuttle Challenger, becoming the first woman in space. Challenger would carry the first African-American astronaut into space just a few months later. Underdogs NC State, lead by coach Jim Valvano, shocked Hakeem Olajuwon and his Houston Cougars to win the NCAA basketball championship with a last second shot. Michael Jackson’s album Thriller spent over 9 months at the top of the charts and Madonna released her self titled debut. The Red Hot Chili Peppers also had a self titled debut album. The Japanese started selling some sort of video game system named Nintendo. Poison and Run DMC began their careers while ABBA and Sly & the Family Stone ended theirs. The Price is Right began having contestants play a game called Plinko. CMT, The Disney Channel, & The Nashville Network launched. Every child in America wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid. We said goodbye to Archie Bunker, MASH, Taxi, CHiPs, Laverne & Shirley, Square Pegs, and Little House on the Prairie while saying hello to Webster, The A-Team, and Mama’s Family.

 

And quietly, right before Thanksgiving, a little movie called A Christmas Story came to your local cinema. Most folks didn’t pay much attention at the time, and by Christmas it had ended its brief run. 27 years later it is among our most beloved holiday classics and one of my all time favorite films.

 

There are certain benchmarks that measure the passage of time, touchstones that commemorate life’s events and happenings. Auld Lang Syne and the big ball drop signify a New Year. The Jerry Lewis Telethon envelopes Labor Day. The kickoff of football season means summer is over and autumn has arrived while baseball ushers in springtime. And for me, the first time I catch A Christmas Story on television (usually on Turner Classic Movies on Thanksgiving or the day after) means the Christmas season is in full swing, while the final showing of the annual 24 hour marathon that ends at 8pm on Christmas Day is the unofficial end of our most glorious holiday.

 

I cannot imagine that there are many people that have never seen this most nostalgic of Christmas classics. It is the story of a 9 year old boy’s dogged determination to overcome the persistent objection “You’ll shoot your eye out!!” and receive the only gift he truly desires…a Red Ryder BB gun. Along the way we see typical snippets of boyhood Americana…the school bully, overbearing but lovable Moms and gruff, foul mouthed, well intentioned Dads, interactions with neighborhood chums, teachers who are much more aware of their students’ shenanigans than the kids realize, inadvertent use of foul language resulting in a child’s mouth being washed with soap, and a visit to a mall Santa who isn’t exactly jolly. The story is set somewhere around the late 1930’s/early 1940’s and of course was thrust upon the public in the 1980’s, another case where a sense of timelessness and wistful nostalgia crosses the time-space continuum and adds to one’s eternal enjoyment of the experience. Based on stories written by humorist Jean Shepherd about his childhood in pre-WWII Indiana, A Christmas Story has well developed characters and a rapier sharp script that is funny yet poignant and maybe even a little subversive. I have read Shepherd’s works, or atleast the one’s germane to this movie, and he is a very good writer. However, I think we have a rare example of the movie being better than the book.

 

It will forever be amusing to me that A Christmas Story was directed by Bob Clark, whose other notable films include Porky’s (and Porky’s 2), Rhinestone, and the original Black Christmas. Clark’s sensibilities would not seem to lend themselves well to the family/holiday comedy genre, but somehow it works perfectly. If one pays close enough attention there is an edginess…just the slightest hint of twisted, dark humor…present. But overall A Christmas Story is a movie to be enjoyed by, if I may steal a line from Nat King Cole and Mel Torme, “kids from 1 to 92”. The cast is absolutely perfect, with my personal gold star going to Darren McGavin as The Old Man, aka Mr. Parker, the father who is never given a name. McGavin did some other notable stuff in his career…the sci-fi cult classic TV show Kolchak: The Night Stalker, supporting roles in Airport ’77, The Natural, & Billy Madison, and a host of guest starring roles on various television shows from the 1960’s through the 1990’s…but his legacy will forever be tied to our current subject du jour. The Old Man is an odd combination of tough talking disciplinarian and clueless buffoon. In other words, he embodies a typical Dad. Sure the kids and their escapades are cute, and Ralphie’s schemes to somehow land that BB gun are the centerpiece of the movie. However, I submit that the sublime pleasure that is A Christmas Story is just as much about The Old Man’s potty mouth, his disdain for the redneck neighbors and their dogs, the ongoing battle with an old broken down furnace, and of course the overwhelming pride he feels after winning a trivia contest and being awarded with a hideous pop art lamp in which only he can see the beauty. The Old Man isn’t quite a slapstick fool in the vein of Clark Griswold, but one can see shades of Griswold-iness in he and his family. I recall reading somewhere that Jack Nicholson was the first choice to play The Old Man, but that he would have been too expensive. Just another one of those happy accidents in cinema where creatively working with a low budget ended up being so much better than just throwing money at the issue.

 

As mentioned, few took notice of A Christmas Story when it hit theaters in 1983. But television gave it new life, first on HBO in the mid to late 80’s and then on the Turner family of networks in the 1990’s. Momentum built slowly but surely and was given a huge boost when a 24 hour marathon, spanning 8pm on Christmas Eve to 8pm on Christmas night, began airing annually in 1997. In the ensuing 13 years the rise from forgotten theatrical disappointment to quite possibly the most popular Christmas film of all time has been meteoric. I cannot say that I have ever watched all 24 hours of the marathon because I do have a life, but I usually catch bits & pieces throughout and probably sit down and watch the whole thing twice. I would like to believe that A Christmas Story would have been recognized by the masses for its genius without the less-than-subtle marketing blitz, but let’s face it…the American public will fall for the hard sell and can be goaded into bandwagon jumping. I suppose scoffers will always believe this to be a movie that the public had to be convinced to like, and that may be true on some subliminal level. But I think it is safe to assume that we have all been sold lemons of far lesser quality (look at the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for example) than A Christmas Story, a film that deserves its place in the pantheon of traditional holiday entertainment, and has earned its high spot on this particular list as well.

 

 

 

 

The 2009 Year In Review

It’s that time again, when we take a trip down memory lane and remember all the highs and lows of the past 365 days. As always, while we pause to look back we also look forward, embracing each new day with renewed optimism. Each breath is a gift from God, and whether we are perfectly satisfied with the status quo or desire some semblance of change in our lives, it is up to us…not the government nor any other entity…to make the proper decisions that will facilitate our happiness.

 

Personally 2009 was a case of a few steps forward, a step or two backward…change but not necessarily progress. Transformation is slow, but I see the hand of God working within my life. I just need to get out of the way, something that I am not as good at doing as I’d prefer. The great new job I got near the end of 2008 lasted less than 6 months, as I was fired from Verizon in March. It turns out that they don’t necessarily give a damn about their customers, only the bottom line. If that means tricking folks into buying bells and whistles that they neither want, understand, or even realize they are receiving then that’s just dandy because it’ll be 6 months before most customers actually examine their phone bill closely enough to recognize they are being screwed and call in to cancel those services. If I seem like just another bitter former employee that is unfortunate because I simply speak the truth. I am not a salesman, and I am certainly not abjectly amoral. The day those wretched souls lowered the boom on me I could not stop smiling. Do I miss the $20/hour paychecks?? Of course. But I sleep at night and I can look at myself in the mirror. Anyway, after a couple months of down time I got a new job at a 24/7 abuse and neglect hotline where I am not paid nearly as well but I am much much happier and feel like I am actually doing something positive. So all’s well that ends well, as ol’ Will Shakespeare might say. This fall I traded in Big Red, my 13 year old Buick Skylark, on a truck (still unnamed at the moment). I bought an IPhone. Those events have pretty much been the highlights and lowlights of my year. I am not all that exciting…I work, I play with my puppy, I am active in church and with Literacy Volunteers, and I watch way too much TV and waste far too many precious hours on The Internet. That’s pretty much it. I am very aware of my shortcomings and as always look at a new year as an opportunity for positive transformation.

 

We started out 2009 by swearing in a new President, and the results thus far have been inarguably subpar. Anyone who disagrees has their head stuck so far…well, somewhere…that the jaws of life may not be sufficient to set them free.

 

Speaking of our socialist leader, he was awarded The Nobel Peace Prize. No one seems to have a good explanation as to why.

 

The biggest story in 2009 continued to be the economy. I can’t add anything substantially new to the conversation, but suffice to say that I do not believe more government is the answer. The massive New Deal-esque bailout package has thus far been a flop with no signs of that changing. And no matter how much the “mainstream” media tries to twist itself into knots to paint a positive picture, the fact that there is no job growth is a sure sign that there is no economic recovery.

 

Many Americans were brought to their knees by something called Swine Flu, or if you prefer the PC term, H1N1. I’m undecided as to whether it is a genuine semi-pandemic or just unnecessary mass hysteria. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle…it is a legit disease with some rather nasty effects that affected millions, but I don’t think it really warrants comparisons with the bubonic plague.

 

Former comedian Al Franken was elected to the Senate from Minnesota. These are the same people who elected former pro wrestler Jessie Ventura Governor a few years back. Maybe we should consider selling Minnesota to Canada.

 

My Pittsburgh Steelers won their record 6th Super Bowl in extremely exciting fashion. I just wish the success had carried over into the following season. The Penguins brought yet another title to Pittsburgh by winning the Stanley Cup. Wherefore art thou Pittsburgh Pirates??

 

The war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues. No one seems to give a damn anymore.

 

Uber-successful TV drama ER ended its 15 year run. Having spent far too much of my life in hospitals and around doctors I never really made an effort to get into the show, but the few times I watched it over the years it seemed well written and acted.

 

Companies that went under in 2009 – General Motors, Lehman Brothers, Chrysler, Eddie Bauer, The Rocky Mountain News, Goody’s Clothing, and over 140 banks nationwide. I’m quite sure I am forgetting several notables.

 

The New York Yankees bought…ummm, I mean won…the World Series…again.

 

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevic became a national joke after being thrown out of office for attempting to sell the available Senate seat of now President Obama. On the bright side he finished 3rd in the Grant Goodeve Lookalike Contest.

 

King of Pop Michael Jackson died. Parents of small children everywhere are breathing easier.

 

Sonia Sotomayor was voted onto The Supreme Court, a breakthrough for Latinas. The fact that Justice Sotomayor’s qualifications were quite suspect didn’t seem to matter. It’s all about being inclusive and multicultural these days.

 

A really cool video of a Minnesota couple’s…shall we say “nontraditional”…wedding entrance became a YouTube sensation. Redemption for Minnesota?? Maybe.

 

General Motors became Government Motors and Chrysler was forced to merge with Italy’s Fiat. Ford stands alone as the only remaining free market American car company. The Obama Administration has already begun using its takeover of GM as a way to further a radical global warming (or is it climate change??) agenda.

 

I’m not sure what the top grossing movies of 2009 were or what made the critics all tingly, but I went to the theater three times. I saw The Hangover, Star Trek, and A Christmas Carol. I quite enjoyed all three.

 

A Muslim extremist masquerading as a psychiatrist infiltrated the United States Army and killed 13 people at Fort Hood in Texas. This should scare the living hell out of everyone.

 

Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Jessica Simpson all had a rather quiet 2009 by their standards, but the pop culture machine found new twits to waste valuable time on in Jon & Kate, The OctoMom, the Kardashian clan, and some guy who made the world think his 6 year old kid was in a runaway balloon when he was in the attic all along. Edward R. Murrow and Chet Huntley, wherever their souls reside these days, must cry a little every time they see Access Hollywood, Extra, and The Insider.

 

59 year old Tom Watson darn near won the British Open.

 

Pilot Sully Sullenberger became a national hero after saving the lives of 155 people on board a commercial airliner. The engines on the plane died and somehow the pilot maneuvered it so that it landed on top of the water in the Hudson River, not sinking until all the passengers had been safely rescued.

 

Conan O’Brien took over The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon took over Late Night, Jay Leno got his own show at 10pm, and David Letterman became a bitter old man who cheats on his girlfriend with members of his staff. America suddenly decided we needed more sleep and started turning off the TV earlier.

 

Tiger Woods was discovered to have been putting his balls into more than 18 holes. Idiot.

 

Microsoft, having realized that Windows Vista was a colossal flop, came out with Windows 7. I myself am still using Windows XP cause that’s how I roll.

 

Politically correct, racially sensitive types got their panties in a bunch when a white cop in Massachusetts arrested a somewhat well-known black Harvard professor who was being a jackass and deserved to be arrested. President Obama angered policemen everywhere by saying that the white cop had “acted stupidly”. Obama smoothed the whole thing over by inviting the two men involved to the White House for a Beer Summit. If only legitimately important issues were as easy to solve.

 

Paula Abdul left American Idol. Oh my God, how will I ever find the strength to go on??

 

Millions of horny teenage boys (okay okay okay…and grown men) got the opportunity to see ESPN sportsbabe Erin Andrews au naturel. Unfortunately the circumstances were so creepy that it had a negative impact on one’s enjoyment of the show. Not that big of an impact, but nevertheless an impact.

 

Speaking of creepy…Congressional ne’er-do-wells Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid got really close to ramming a universal health care measure through, even though 60% of the American people are against it. This was made clear over the summer in a series of contentious town hall meetings in which many Congressmen were confronted by angry constituents that they theoretically represent but in reality could not possibly care less about. Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana proved themselves to be filthy whores whose votes can be bought. I suppose that shouldn’t shock anyone, but the blatant disregard for morality and the will of the people never ceases to amaze.

 

Michael Vick made an uneventful return to the NFL. Good for him.

 

Not even the combined magnetism of Obrahbama was enough to snag the 2016 Olympics for the city of Chicago. I blame Steve Bartman.

 

England’s answer to American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent, produced an overnight sensation in 47 year old Susan Boyle. Because we human beings are shallow, belittling types the hosts of the show and the live audience immediately began to laugh at Ms. Boyle when she came onstage because she did not fit within the Barbie Doll parameters we all expect from our stars. Ms. Boyle shut the morons up rather quickly when she started singing, and it should have been a valuable lesson for all involved.

 

The Obama Administration showed early signs of stupidity back in April when it allowed Air Force One to fly low over Manhattan for a photo op…the same Manhattan that witnessed 9/11. You remember 9/11…when airplanes were flown into The World Trade Center?? Morons.

 

Alaska Governor and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin took a huge political risk by resigning from office. Most assume that Palin will make a bid for The White House in 2012 or 2016 (or both), and it is my opinion that she may have made a serious error in resigning. I’m not sure she’s electable anyway, but quitting in the middle of her term just gave her enemies on the left unnecessary ammunition.

 

Part of the government bailout that bears particular attention is Clash for Clunkers. Though numbers can be twisted in such a way that the program looks like it was a rousing success, those numbers are rather specious at best. And again, the whole thing was a not-so-cleverly disguised attempt to further an environmentalist wacko agenda.

 

RIP – movie auteur John Hughes, actress Farrah Fawcett…Senator Edward Kennedy…actor Patrick Swayze…Congressman Jack Kemp…sidekick Ed McMahon…actor Karl Malden…Golden Girl Bea Arthur…guitar guru Les Paul…boxer Arturo Gatti…wrestling legend Captain Lou Albano…infomercial king Billy Mays…Vegas headliner Danny Gans…funnyman Dom Deluise…actor David Carradine…King of Pop Michael Jackson…Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboard player Billy Powell…radio voice Paul Harvey…actor Ricardo Montalban…politico Robert Novak…comic Soupy Sales…NFL QB Steve McNair…former host of MTV’s classic game show Remote Control Ken Ober…newsman Walter Cronkite…actor/singer Al Martino (Johnny Fontaine in The Godfather)…sportscaster Harry Kalas…former NBA coach Chuck Daly…baseball player and famous brother Dom Dimaggio…actress Brittany Murphy…jazz saxophonist and former NBA player Wayman Tisdale…Cincinnati Bengals WR and former WV Mountaineer Chris Henry…evangelist Oral Roberts…and impressionist Fred Travalena

Random Thoughts 11

Welcome back Bret Favre…I guess. I find it sad that he waffled so much that he became a punchline and turned people against him because of a perceived diva attitude. Now he’s back and no one outside of Minnesota gives a damn.


When someone mentions Uncle Jesse do you think Full House or do you think Dukes of Hazzard ??


If anyone out there has a pug and has considered joining a site called Pugs.com, do yourself a huge favor and skip it. The people who interact on that board on a regular basis are a bunch of arrogant, self righteous jackasses who won’t offer any real insight. Instead they’ll just act superior and belittle you with insulting replies to genuine questions.


I think Pete Rose should have his ban from baseball lifted only after his death, ensuring that his enshrinement into baseball’s Hall of Fame would be posthumous. That would permanently cast his story in a tragic light while still rightly recognizing on the field accomplishments.


The powers-that-be can classify it as a homicide if they wish, but the bottom line is that Michael Jackson’s death was the responsibility of one man…..Michael Jackson. Sure, he had more than a few enablers and sycophants who used and abused him, but at the end of the day he was a grown man who got himself hooked on painkillers and died because of that addiction.


I’m so tired of people who wallow in the victim mentality.


In case you’ve ever wondered,  no…a dirty house is not child abuse. It may be poor parenting, bad judgment, and a negative reflection on one’s values, but it is not abuse. Unless there are rats or roaches or something.


I’m no Plaxico Burress fan, but he got royally hosed by being sentenced to 2 years in prison for shooting himself.


The molten lava cakes from Domino’s are spectacular…..but you can find the same thing in your grocery store for a far more economic price.


While the death of Senator Edward Kennedy is sad just as anyone’s death is sad, thinking people will resist the urge to follow in lockstep with the drive-by media and put ol’ Teddy up on a pedestal. He was not only flawed like all human beings, but was more flawed than most. No one should ever forget that, no matter what the law officially declared, he was responsible for the tragic death of a woman 30 years ago, a crime for which his family’s money and power assured he’d never pay for.


To round out this sports heavy edition, my thoughts on Michael Vick: I’m not a fan…never have been, never will be. But that’s because he played for Virginia Tech and was a punk even then. As far as the dog fighting business…it was heinous, thug behavior that shouldn’t have been shocking to anyone who’d noticed the fact that Vick is indeed a punk. However, he has paid his debt to society. Everyone deserves a second chance. If being in prison and losing the great life he had humbled him in any way and forced him to reevaluate the meaning of his existence then that is a good thing and he needs to be given an opportunity to become that new man.

Random Thoughts 10

I seriously doubt if I will ever get into Twitter…..but never say never.

 

A study has found that individuals “with unpopular names are more likely to engage in criminal activity”. Oddball names are “connected to factors that increase the tendency to commit crime, such as a disadvantaged home environment, residence in a county with low socioeconomic status, and households run by one parent.” The study goes on to say that “adolescents with unpopular names may be more prone to crime because they are treated differently by their peers, making it more difficult for them to form relationships.” Allow me to translate: if you think you’re being cool by naming your illegitimate baby Loquanda, FayNeNe, Donquavious, Shataniana, or adding Da/De to common names like Shawn, John, etc……well, you’re not. You are starting that child’s life already behind the curve and reinforcing stereotypes rather than proving them wrong. Maybe we should call this The Orenthal Theorem.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he would jump at the chance to drive in the Indianapolis 500 if there were not a conflicting NASCAR race on the same day. – Atleast he couldn’t finish 38th…..there are only 33 cars in the Indy 500.

 

An update on The Stimulus: it’s still not working.

 

The U.S. Agriculture Department would be given the power to regulate all food sold in schools, including vending machine snacks, when Congress renews child nutrition programs. Agriculture Committee work on child nutrition will begin with a draft that gives the USDA the authority to oversee all food in schools, so nutrition programs are not “undermined” by junk food in vending machines. There has been “pushback” from schools that count on revenue from vending machines to pay for student activities. – I’m a solutions oriented guy..…so I suggest the government just ban vending machines from schools and pay for all student activities by raising taxes. Why waste time when that’s where Hussein Obama is headed anyway.

 

ESPN’s newest on air talent, Michelle Beadle, makes a favorable first impression. She’s reminiscent of a perkier, younger, somewhat less sultry Ellen Barkin.

 

The past several weeks have seen the deaths of actors David Carradine, Karl Malden, and Farrah Fawcett, singer Michael Jackson, Japanese wrestling legend Mitsuharu Misawa, sidekick Ed McMahon, infomercial guru Billy Mays, retired boxer Alexis Arguello, impressionist Fred Travalena, and former NFL QB Steve “Air” McNair. I’m not one to put celebrities up on a pedestal, but what a brutal month. May they all rest in peace.

 

Speaking of McNair…..as much as everyone wants to put him up on a pedestal because he was a star athlete (misguided hero worship that usually begins in junior high), the simple fact seems to be that he was just another guy cheating on his wife with a much younger woman. It’s likely that she had the attitude shared by young women everywhere, an overly romantic and idealized view of love. She probably thought he was going to leave his wife and they’d live happily ever after. She found out she was wrong, flipped out, and now they are both dead. Very sad story, and all too common.

 

An employee at a New Jersey chocolate processing plant died after falling into a vat of hot chocolate. He was dumping raw chocolate into the vat for melting when he fell in from a nine-foot high platform. – Wow…what a tragically awesome way to go.

 

I’m not so sure that Sarah Palin resigning as Governor of Alaska was such a wise move. Time will tell.

 

ESPN’s Mike and Mike were recently contemplating ways to make baseball’s all star game matter, lamenting the fact that it currently doesn’t, and trying to figure out why. It’s quite simple really. Baseball itself has become increasingly irrelevant. The game is populated with cheaters, junkies, and thugs. Babe Ruth was a beer guzzling, woman chasing, hard partying character…..Barry Bonds and his ilk are just a steaming pile of garbage. Clean up the game and it will regain its significance.

 

Michelle Obama showed off her more expensive taste in fashion by carrying a $6k black alligator manila clutch while strolling the wooded landscape outside of Moscow, Russia. – I’m not a woman and admittedly know nothing about purses…but how ostentatious is that??

RIP Michael Jackson??

Michael Jackson

Image via Wikipedia

How about burn in Hell…..cause that’s exactly what he’s probably doing.

I realize the things I am about to say might upset some people. I’m fine with that. If you are offended by my remarks then you are probably just the type of intellectually vacant societal parasite that I have no interest in knowing anyway. I am at a crossroads in my life where I have finally decided to lay it all out there, consequences be damned. What others think is irrelevant. Political correctness just sucks us deeper into the abyss.

It’s been a rough week in the pop culture realm. I’ve always heard death happens in threes, and this week saw the passing of three entertainment icons…..Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. It is this last death that we will concentrate upon for the moment.

Michael Jackson was only 50 years old and he keeled over, apparently of a heart attack. We’ll get to the “apparently” part a bit later.

I was as surprised as anyone by his sudden death. It made me wistful for my childhood. As a child of the 1980’s Michael Jackson is a fixture burned indelibly into my memory. I can’t honestly say I was a huge fan, but I was somewhat of a fan. I bought Thriller. I liked Billie Jean, Beat It, Man in the Mirror, and some other tunes. I may have even owned one white sequined glove at some point. There is no disputing the fact that the man was a very talented entertainer.

But sometime during my night of slumber immediately following the news of Jackson’s demise, something began to seethe inside my soul. My reaction segued from nostalgia to irritation.

What I am really struggling with is the knee jerk reaction to his death, the one where everyone wants to put him up on some sort of pedestal. The masses are conveniently forgetting that this is the same man who underwent so much plastic surgery that he became unrecognizable in comparison to what he looked like naturally, was accused of child molestation multiple times, and engaged in other bizarre behaviors. Some stories, such as him sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber or buying the bones of The Elephant Man, were urban legends. However, they were rumors fed to the drive-by media by Jackson himself, ultimately making the truth not that much less peculiar. The pedophilia all by itself is enough for me to disregard the man. I am a believer in the old idiom “where there’s smoke there’s fire”, so while it is true that Michael Jackson was never convicted of a crime it seems more than likely that he engaged in atleast some nefarious activities. On top of all that the man was reportedly $400 million dollars in debt at the time of his death. Yes…you read that right…..$400 MILLION. That’s insane. How exactly does one dig a hole that deep?? Also, as alluded to earlier, the cause of death is “allegedly” a heart attack. I quotation-mark that because there are some rumblings that drugs may have been a factor. Michael Jackson had some history with substance abuse, so it is not an outlandish theory. Time will tell of course, after all the autopsy and toxicology reports have been completed. But for now we have a man being put up on a pedestal, being celebrated…..a man who not only likely violated children in some fashion, who apparently died not just broke but ridiculously in debt, but also a man who, despite a life of unimaginable fame and fortune, may have died just like a common ordinary junkie. I am aware of people in my own realm who desperately want to break their drug addiction but cannot afford the relatively small expenses incurred by enrolling in a Christian based treatment program with an enormously successful track record, so excuse me if I can’t seem to find much pity for The King of Pop, someone who could have gotten the best treatment available anywhere in the world but chose not to.

Back in 1997 Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died within days of one another. I don’t have exact statistics, but I clearly recall that the media coverage of Diana’s demise was overwhelming, lasting for several days. In comparison Mother Teresa was barely talked about. That was a watershed moment for the “mainstream” press, one that all involved should forever be ashamed of. Princess Diana, while certainly a charitable and kind humanitarian, was simply a pop culture icon. Mother Teresa was…..well…..Mother Teresa. She was literally a modern day saint. Yet the media and its complicit sheep spent endless hours practically deifying someone whose greatest achievement was marrying well. Something similar seems to be happening now.

As for Michael Jackson…..he’s dead, and I’m truly sorry for that…..sorry for his family, friends, and fans. His music will and should live on. But let’s not lose perspective, something we as a population do all too easily.

Random Thoughts 9

So Chastity…um, I mean Chaz…Bono is getting an addadicktomy. That might be news if she/he were relevant in any way whatsoever.

 

“Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums. In a letter to the CEO’s of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold ‘may be too onerous’ and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper. The legislators asked the companies to “make appropriate adjustments” to their underwriting standards for condos.” –  These two idiots should be removed from office immediately. Barney Frank is an embarrassment who can’t even talk right, let alone lead anything or anyone.

 

I think John Mayer’s music could grow on me if I gave it half a chance.

 

At what point, what hour, is it proper to stop imparting a wish for someone to “have a nice day” because the day is essentially over??

 

I couldn’t possibly care less about these John and Kate people and I’m tired of hearing about them.

 

Why does everyone suddenly want traded away from the Denver Broncos??

 

There is public outrage concerning Republican Governor of South Carolina cheating on his wife. Back in the Clinton years it was “just sex”, no big deal. I’m just sayin’…..

 

RIP Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. I feel like my childhood is slowly dying, and it makes me sad.

 

The Oscars are doubling the amount of Best Picture nominees to 10. When was the last time Hollywood even produced 10 films worthy of such praise??