Tuesday, November 08, 2016


Where did all the time go??

Like the batting of an eye, it's already November.
2016 is coming and going unlike anything.
The year is nearly done, and I'm still wondering wha'ppen??

Lots of trials.
Lots of tribulation.
Lots of difficulties.
I thought after I left school eons ago,
I was done with tests.

Apparently not.

They come at you out of nowhere,
much like undisciplined mushrooming
motorcyclists zooming on the road,
blindsiding you if you're unfocused and unaware.
It's a test.

Proving your mettle.
Checking for strength, for resolve.
It's always a test.
Unlike school, there is no passing score.
It's either you pass or fail.
But, one thing good about these tests.
Fail once, you can retake the test.
But, lessons should be taken away from this.
Unless you wanna be a repeater.

'16 is a helluva ride.
Still in motion, still not there yet.
It is still a solo flight, has been for quite some time now,
with flurries of events, both the good and the bad.
Leaving radio behind was a bit tough. A lengthy spell of funemployment,
with some helpful rackets sprouting about in the nick of time.
Then there were the painful gout bouts, rendering me nearly immobile.
A monobloc walker was a good friend for awhile.
On the up side, I shed a considerable amount of poundage.
I can't recall the last time I weighed 160 lbs. lol, which was, again,
both good and bad.
Good coz lotsa my old clothes fit again; bad, coz
after getting gainful employment, so was the lost poundage regained.
It's all good, though.
Again, we learn from all this.
I'm grateful for the experiences and the knowledge gained (so far) this year.
Never a dog too old to learn new tricks.
And as the sands of time empty down in a spiral in its perpetual hour glass,
you also learn the true ones from the fake.
The sweet from the bitter.
But, as they say..
the sweet is not as sweet, without the bitter.
Still, I am very grateful.
For really good friends. For the chance to share my God-given talents with others.
For the good Lord's blessings of not what I want, but what I need.
For life, itself.
I am grateful.
Truly, I am.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Live life!

Tips for an Exceptional, Superb and Powerful Life!

Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
Buy a lock if you have to.

Buy a Tivo. Tape your late night shows
and get more sleep.

When you wake up in the morning, complete the following statement,
'My purpose is to________ today.'

Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

Watch more movies, play more games
and read more books than you did last year.

Always pray and make time to exercise.

Spend more time with people over the age of 70
and under the age of  6.

Dream more while you are awake.

Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants
and less foods that are manufactured in plants.

Drink green tea and plenty of water.
Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds and walnuts.

Try to make at least three people smile each day.

Clear your clutter from your house,
your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires,
issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.

Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.
Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class.
But, the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince
and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

Smile and laugh more.
It will keep the energy vampires away.

Life isn't fair. But, it's still good.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

Don't compare your life to others'.
You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Ladies - Go on and burn those 'special' scented candles,
use the 600 thread count sheets, the good china
and wear our fancy lingerie now.
Stop waiting for a special occasion.
Everyday is special.

No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

Forgive everyone for everything.

What other people think of you
is none of your business.

Time heals almost everything.
Give time, time!

However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.
Your friends will.
Stay in touch with them.

Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

Envy is a waste of time.
You already have all you need.
God provides, remember?!

The best is yet to come.
(In Heaven)

No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

Do the right thing!

Call your family often.

Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
'I am thankful for __________.'
'Today I accomplished _________.'

Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

Enjoy the ride.
Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass.
You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it!

Have a Blessed day.
Please share with friends!


Friday, October 28, 2016

Don't Leave Home Without Them

While everyone was doin' a li'l dance,
makin' a li'l love and gettin' down tonight,
a sort-of underground movement of movers and shakers were rockin' and rollin' right under their coke-stained noses.. and the Ramones were at the eye of this electrically-charged storm.

The one.
The only.

Many merely remember this fearsome foursome as the guys with the messy long hair, leather jackets n' shades, torn jeans and sneakers and the loud guitars. I saw them first, way before I finally got to hear them. Rarely does a band come along that dresses as
snazzily as they sound. Snarly would be a more apt term. Fashion goes hand in hand with music. It's the norm. The public were half-right in remembering the image burnt into memory.
But they left out the most vital element of the buzzsaw equation..
The songs.
The music.

Little did anyone realize Joey, Johnny, DeeDee and Marky
set out to become what they thought as America's answer to the Bay City Rollers.
On glue, probably.
Looks like the boys got more than they bargained for.

Leave Home is a worthy sophomore effort.
You can hear the Ramones sound coming to its fore.
Compared to the groundbreaking debut, the tunes are gaining speed and momentum,
like a derailed express train on a collision course with destiny.
With genuine pop sense ("Glad To See You Go" and "Oh Oh I Love Her So")
and crushing killzone instinct ("Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" and the Gabbalicious "Pinhead") even in their choice of covers (Joe Jones' "California Sun")
the boys from the Bowery knew how to rock, in only two speeds: Fast.. and faster.

Direct and in your face.
The way rock n' roll's supposed to be.
Gabba Gabba Hey!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Damn Good Album

Rock n' roll need not be complex. 
Cluttered, nor complicated. 
All it takes is a guitar or two. 
A bass. A drumkit. 
A keyboard, perhaps. 
And a singer who "revels in his abandon."
Take all that, and you've got..
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. 

It's safe to say here, that the third time's the charm. Hailing from the Heartland, their roots firmly entrenched in bare bones bluesy rock n' roll, Florida native Tom Petty gained pivotal ground Stateside with this 1979 effort. Damn, if this album isn't the best they had come up with, to date.

Damn The Torpedoes' unpretentiously straightforward style aided in breaking (pun intended) the band Stateside, after garnering moderate success in the UK. Its classic rock approach breathed volumes of fresh air amidst the upsurge of synth-powered electronica of the late 70's and early 80's. Damn, if it didn't bring it all back home. Straight back to the basics. 

The band banged out two hit singles with a fiendishly flamboyant fervor, in "Don't Do Me Like That" and the forever memorable "Refugee," with its soaring Hammond organ, crisp, thunderous drums and stellar Jimmy Iovine production sheen. Tom Petty himself, on top of all that, sneered his way althroughout in wild desperation, like a caged animal. 
Noteworthy album tracks like "Here Comes My Girl" and "Louisiana Rain" showcased the band's succinct talents, proving them, in true AOR fashion, as worth much more than just their hit singles. 

It's this characteristic style that set Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers far apart from its contemporaries. In an age of ever-evolving technology whose fast-forward developments attempt to outrace each other, it's the rootsy Rock n' roll spirit that is most modest, and keeps us grounded and real.

It was never about complications nor complexity. 
It's simple, uncomplicated and straight to the point. 
It's Rock and roll. 

A Trick Up Their Sleeve

It's the stuff dreams are made of.

A struggling Midwest rock n' roll band releases a bunch of stateside albums to lukewarm reception.
Scoring a hit single in "Surrender" from Heaven Tonight, the Tricksters still faced the challenge on the domestic front, but due to the band's unprecendented and seemingly overnight success in Japan, as evinced by their (supposed-to-have-been) Japan only live album release At Budokan. Imports leaked into the US, which forced Epic to put out a domestic release.
For a band close to being dropped by their label, this feat finally did the trick, so to speak.

Riding on the international stardom garnered by their live album At Budokan, Cheap Trick steamrolled through the end of the 70's with an album that was sked to be released, but put on hold, due to the aformentioned Budokanmania.

Dream Police finally saw the light of day, hot on the heels of all the building furor and resulting fame, featuring new tracks that bomped as hard as the competition could conjure, yet shone with a Pop brilliance, boasting tight Beatlesque vocal harmonies to rival their idols and superb chops honed over years of touring.

Tracks like the lilting "Way Of The World," replete with crunchy guitars, that roaring Robin Zander baritone, with soaring strings thrown in, give the necessary oomph reminiscent of their live sets.
Experimentation also came into play in this stew, with lengthier opuses ("Gonna Raise Hell" and "Need Your Love"). Not to mention the hit singles in the mesmerizing ballad "Voices" and the runaway train-like title track.

All told, Cheap Trick went all-out with all its aces up their sleeves. Their 80's efforts may have paled in the ensuing years, but in 1979, the Universe conspired with Cheap Trick. Certainly a great trick, as well as a treat.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A toast

A toast to new beginnings. One of my favorite sayings comes from a movie from the not-so-distant past.. "Sometimes, a man finds his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.." truer words were never spoken, for me, at least. For the longest time, I avoided the three letters B.. P.. O.. until my first brush with it in '08, and then the full-blown 'infection' in '09. Though it was semi-regular albeit short-lived, it was a revelatory eye-opener. New things, new possibilities. Now, I've come full circle, sort of. Something I've "avoided" for the longest time, has come around and bitten me in the proverbial butt. Big time. But no complaints here. Things are looking bigger, brighter, and better like never before. It's funny how things just seem to work out on its own. How easy it all was to procure employment; how effortless the hiring process was; how quickly the events transpired, and how the minor adversities seemed to have solved themselves on their own. No matter how cheese-n'-cracker-y it sounds, some things are just meant to be. Cheers to new beginnings.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Smashing B-Side Covers

The first time I heard the paranoiac cover of The Cars' "You're All I've Got Tonight" was in the movie The Saint, in a car chase scene, where it, all three seconds of it, was heard blaring in the bad guys' SUV, while hunting down Val Kilmer and a square, yet buxomy Elizabeth Shue. I had no inkling it was a Pumpkins cover, until I scanned the soundtrack credits at the flick's end.
Not bad.

Covers are pretty much hit or miss. Usually the latter. But once in a blue moon, there's that one cover that actually works. Of the grunge-era bands that came and went, I still share an affinity to a handful. The late lamented Alice In Chains, though more rock in a traditional sense, "Rooster" still holds water to this day (which is why I surmise its inclusion in Terminator Salvation). Of course, the pre-podium preaching Eddie Vedder-led Pearl Jam (only up 'til Vs., the rest all goes downhill), and The Smashing Pumpkins.

Usually filler material, or bonus tracks, if you wish, covers are merely spur-of-the-moment jams the band unconsciously compelled out of the blue; at times, they're conscious efforts, sometimes to great effect, and sometimes, not.
Corgan and company saw it fit to cover The Cars, Alice Cooper ("Clones (We're All)"), even Missing Persons' "Destination Unknown" and The Cure's "A Night Like This" as bonus tracks to their "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" single from their double album Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness.

To compare the covers with their originals is moot point, and an exercise in futility; as the former almost always pales in comparison to the latter. But once in a while, there are the exceptions to the rule.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Man Who "Saved" Fleetwood Mac

"He's the guy who saved Fleetwood Mac," said lanky drummer and usually jovial Mick Fleetwood once in the 70's. Naysayers will digress and disagree, but at a certain point in its history, Bob Welch may have achieved just that. After the Peter Green-helmed blues-based band named after its drummer and bassist respectively ran a spell of misfortunes, such as member departures, and member dillusions, in stepped Welch to save the day. Though fleeting, he had made his mark, for the Mac, as well as for himself.

Bob Welch's French Kiss was one of '77's delightful surprises.
Snazzing up an already classic ballad, Welch proceeded to "Sentimental Lady" a refreshing shot-in-the-arm, so to speak; the once languid hit was now given some Pop sheen, with a little production chores help provided by former Mac bandmates Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, offering a brittle soundwash and crystalline production sparkle.
Earcandy perfection.

Save for the hit single, and an evocative "Ebony Eyes," French Kiss traversed between semi-hard rock and disco-ish pop, an album originally slated for release as Welch's third offering under the name Paris, Welch's previous band after leaving Mac.
With enough muscle to duke it out with other bands of that time such as Boston, and pop sense to keep the competition at bay, French Kiss is definitely one for the ages.