Monday, November 28, 2016

Lessons Learned from Lennon

It's sad, really ...

I just heard a reporter say, "It only took a few shots from a madman's gun to destroy the dream of John Lennon".

Is he kidding??

Look ... while we all remember that fateful Monday night in December, 1980, we also realize that, though Chapman killed the man who was Legend, he completely missed the legacy ... one that lives on to this day. And lessons that we learned thanks to Lennon's short life:

From the Fab Four's pre-fame days, we learned the value of perseverance -- don't give up on your dream, your goal -- ever! Oh, you might have to tweak them a little to get what you want, but, if it's an honorable goal, don't give up!

From his days as a Beatle, we learned to make our own kind of music. Okay, maybe it doesn't sit well with some hard-nosers -- but, if it's honorable, if it makes a point -- and if it's you, go ahead and play it, no matter what you do in life.
We've learned to develop a sense of impish humor. After all, it is LIFE we live -- so show it. I don't know of anyone who was harmed by Lennon's wit ...

He also showed us to be honest, even if it costs you a little. He said (and rightly at the time) that The Beatles were "more popular than Christ", and society bristled. Beatle bonfires were everywhere -- and even a faux assassination "prank" occurred during their show in Memphis, Tenn. in 1966. But, as we all know, John recovered from that (as did Paul, George and Ringo) and created a new and exciting chapter in rock music with the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club album. They only became greater ...

While he had his troubles in the Seventies, he also taught us to speak up -- become an activist for change! Sure, he got Nixon's attention -- but he also inspired young people from around the world to stand up and be counted -- and not back down!

He taught us about the importance of dads being as involved in raising their children as the moms are (his five years as "househusband" to help raise Sean); how to finally beat an addiction (preferring -- behind Yoko's back, he would jest -- chocolate to cocaine); and how to change for, reconcile with and truly love your spouse!

John was truly a "Working Class Hero" -- an Everyman who'd made his mark on the world with fame given by millions of fans, and paid them back with the ultimate compliment -- by becoming one of them rather than another untouchable celebrity darling ...



Thursday, November 24, 2016

HAPPY EVERYBODY, THANKSGIVING ... or something ...

Had a little trouble getting to this blog's edit page, so everything's running just a little behind. But, since it's Thanksgiving and just now was able to get onboard again, I just wanted to share this with you. HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's Gotta Be Said ...


Well, looks like someone’s finally decided to study it:

According to a recent research by extra-marital dating site IllicitEncounters.co.uk (geez … they’ll have anything on this internet these days!) sex and rock’n’roll really do go hand in hand.

Basically, it says that rock fans are more likely to … er, “step out” on their partners (somehow, I’m faintly hearin’ the strains of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ Steppin’ Out ...). A poll of their 310,000-strong membership showed that 37% of their male and female, er, philanderers called rock their favorite genre of music.

In comparison, 20% of them dig pop and R&B,
19% favor dance music (how could you if Lawrence Welk is runnin’ through yer mind?  You’d be asleep before ya even tried …) and
17% are fans of blues and jazz.

And (get this!) three percent said their favorite was … Christian or Gospel music!

“This shouldn’t come as a surprise, really.” says site representative Sarah Hartley. “Rock music has been associated with sex since the 50s. Lots of prominent rock stars - Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry - oozed sex appeal.

“Many of our members in in their late 30s/early 40s, so would have grown up listening to pioneering bands like Aerosmith, Blondie, AC/DC and Fleetwood Mac. This may explain why so many of them are rock music fans.” (obviously, she was a child of the '70s)

Suuuuuuuure … blame it on the music, why dontcha?
Anyone ever hear of that little word "hormones?" 
Hey … get some married dudes with money in a dimly-lit bar late at night, half-crocked, with some very well-endowed young floosies who are equally drunk, and it wouldn’t matter if they were listenin’ to cats throwin' up hairballs — someone’s gonna end up … er, wellll … you know the answer …

Now, since this research was done, there's been a new format introduced to listeners (though I hesitate to call it "music").  Filled with autotunes and synthesizers to enhance the voice or fake an instrument, and with "sampling" to make the whole recording process cheaper and quicker, this "techno" nonsense is about as legit as Ben Franklin's pic on a one-dollar bill.  It's still just worth pennies.

Enhanced presentation.  Fake parts.  Cheaper and quicker.
Sounds like those "young floosies" I mentioned ...
Wonder what kind of music they listen to?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Baby-Boomer Blamin'

EDITOR'S NOTE: We'll return to SOUND EFFECTS - the true history of rock in the next post. For now, let's take a breather and do some ciphering:

Didja read in the USA Today™ where some of the other generations -- fore and aft -- are blaming the "baby boomers" (aka "us") for the problems we're having in the world??

According to a recent Gallup Poll of 1,011 adults who were reached by phone (I ask you: have you ever been contacted by these number-crunchers? Thought so. Neither have I ...), 39% say we've made things worse for our kids; 37% say we're "selfish" and 41% say we're too idealistic.

But, wait a minute: Isn't that the same as saying a Yugo (remember those? The cars that shoulda been called Itmightgo? The ones who come with replacement hamsters for the motor?) failed because "after all, it's a ... (nose stuck up in the air) CAAAAAR!!"?

Let's take a closer look at the stats, okay?:

Ummm ... didja notice that this graph came from the same source as the article that dissed us?? And, somehow, it seems the graph reflects the positive we've accomplished!

Gee ... for a generation that witnessed the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr., caused the political unrest that changed a country's thought-processes, saw men walk on the moon, risked the draft into the Vietnam War, fought in the War as well as fought against it in anti-war protests, brought civil, environmental, women's, youth voting and other rights to the forefront, saw President Nixon's resignation, went to Woodstock and similar music festivals, rocked to the sounds that changed music history, from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, I think, all-in-all, we've done pretty good, Mousers. So hold your heads up proudly and ...

stay tuned ...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Protesting Opinions

Okay, so it's been less than a week since Mr. Donald J. Trump was elected to be our next President.

Since then, there have been protests - even full-scale riots - in the streets of major cities, all because people aren't pleased with the outcome of the election.

Now, whether it's due to a dislike of the President-elect or media involvement (and it did seem they were more pro-Clinton, didn't they?  Witness the reporter who, upon her exit from an early voting post, asked an  Hispanic voter "Did you vote for Clinton or against Trump?"  Yes, the old "trick" question that schoolkids played on each other to bully them.  The poor lady got confused but answered "against Trump".), the protests are the most ridiculous knee-jerk displays of ignorance this writer has ever seen.

Why?  

Wellll ...

(1)  They're responding only to what they've heard on the media (Chicken Noodle Network, Messy NBC, and, er, Fox) - all of whom were obviously supporters of Hillary Clinton (some have even said her campaign paid them off to promote her).

(2) No matter how large or violent these protests become, none of them will be big enough to change the situation and bring Mrs. Clinton into office! Besides, it's a little premature to start all the "protesting" hullabaloo.  After all, Mr. Trump hasn't even taken the oath of office yet!  Geez ...

(3) We have a system of checks and balances in Washington (actually, it starts at the state level) that helps to keep our President and other politicos in tow.  That being said, it's highly unlikely that Trump will become the "dictator" that some expected (by the way: didn't they think the same thing would happen with Obama?  Or with Bush?  But it never happened, thanks to the c&b I mentioned.)

For decades now - and through good Presidents and those we've condemned for whatever reason - we've sidestepped the Armageddons, apocalypses and widespread destruction that so many had foreseen.  We still wake up in the morning, have our coffees and breakfasts, go to work, pull a decent wage, then come home to relax.  On Sundays, we go to church or visit families.  And all this without being stopped for random ID checks or with gunfire going on around us.

So count the blessings you do have ... embrace the freedom going on around you ... and give the new Trump Administration a chance to show us what it can do!  Who knows?  With the checks and balances mentioned in (3) above, it's very possible that the tide will change and this country will benefit more ...

Just goin' to haveta see ... so be patient, okay?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Something To Think About ...

TOMORROW, millions of Americans will be heading to the polls to vote for the person they hope will make the better President.

Now, what if we learn (worst case scenario) that the other party won ... and we're stuck with him or her at the helm for the next four years?

As Lloyd Thaxton would say, "Sooooo WHAT?!?"

Beginning with THE VERY NEXT MORNING,
we'll still awaken, free and with no restraints ...
the sun will still peek over the horizon ...
there'll still be no violence or gunfire outside our windows.
We'll still enjoy our morning coffee ...
have breakfast, go to work as we always have.
Gas and grocery prices are still (roughly) the same,
the traffic's normal ...
We can still chat on social media ... even (gasp!) by phone if we want.

On Sundays, we can go to church and worship as we please,
then drive out to visit a relative in another county or state
without being stopped and asked for travel permits ...

In other words: Whether Clinton or Trump or the man-in-the-moon wins, life is gonna go on just as it always has!!  

Listen ....
we're Americans here ...
a free, innovative, fearless people ...
and xx candidate isn't going to change
what we do on a daily basis ...
what we're thinking ...
who we're close to ...
or anything else.

So, if your candidate doesn't win, don't let it get you down!  THERE WILL BE NO APOCALYPTIC "DOOM-AND-GLOOM!" Your everyday business will continue as usual ... your friends and family will still be there for you, and you for them ... 

AND WE, FOR EACH OTHER ...













Tuesday, November 1, 2016

SOUND EFFECTS - the first records


Inspired by that invention, Emile Berliner created the first marketable record player – the gramophone – in 1887. This machine made it possible for different acts to record their music on flat discs. Now anyone who purchased a gramophone could listen to their favorite artists whenever they wanted.
While the actual invention itself sold for $200, the records were relatively cheap: just one to four dollars, depending on the artist. Of course, today’s music is recorded and transferred by newer, more portable methods, so the old 78 RPM gramophone records have become collectors’ items. Some, from recording artists like “The Hillbilly Cat” (an early Elvis Presley), are said to be worth thousands of dollars!


In 1907, Thaddeus Cahill, an inventor from Ohio, created a contraption called the telharmonium. Without question, this was the first true electronic instrument and could mimic and amplify different orchestral sounds. Though it was big and bulky (7 to 200 tons, depending on the version), it was seen by many as the wave of the future. Of course, something like this couldn’t go unnoticed, and soon musical bands of all sizes wanted their guitars or pianos amplified like Cahill’s invention. But, due to its size and heavy power consumption, interest in the huge instrument itself had all but died out by 1912.

By the late Twenties, both country and Hawaiian music had become popular, but bands noticed their acoustic centerpieces – the steel guitars – couldn’t be heard over the other instruments.
So, in 1932, inventors George Beauchamp and Paul Barth tinkered with putting electronic "horseshoe pickups" on an a portable model of the instrument. The result was the “frying pan” lap steel guitar – so-called due to the round shape of its aluminum body. Then, with the help of their partner, Adolph Rickenbacker, they began commercially producing the first electronic model. Soon, these guitars began to carry their company’s new name – Rickenbacker – as their brand.