Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Station Identification ...

Ahhh, the old days ...

We'd be watching Uncle Miltie fumble through a hilarious sketch on Texaco Star Theater when, during what we now call "commercial breaks", the announcer would proclaim "We now pause for station identification. (cue station logo, or just the letters "NBC" in gray, shadowed block letters) This is the NBC Television Network.
It always looked a little eerie to me (I was just a youngster at the time. No, really!).

Well, we all have what's called "identifiers" on this thing we call the "internet" -- and, sometimes, our own "station identification" is ripped off by "hackers".
Hackers. It's a word that previously meant "chain smokers" or "cats who have continuous trouble coughing hairballs up!"

And, as luck would have it, I drew the losing numbers in the hacker lottery last week -- and proceeded to have not only my Facebook® page pilfered, but my bank accounts (both business and private) put into the red!

I know it's not uncommon for this stuff to happen these days, but, of course, I had the same reaction as everybody else: Why'd they have to choose ME? followed with the self-pitiful I thought everything was secure!

But then I remembered what Uncle Lloyd told me, years ago when I had a full website that was breeched. If you build something great and somebody else tears it apart, rebuild!! They only took what you made -- they didn't take the blueprint for it! That's in your head! So rebuild!!!

Of course, when you do that, you want to be sure and make it bulletproof this time:

Change passwords (make 'em harder for anybody to figure out; but be sure to remember them yourself!).
Use your "private browsing" function when browsing, working or especially when buying online.
If you do buy something, be sure it's over a SSL (secure socket layer. You'll know it's that when you see an "https" at the beginning of the web address).
Don't give out any personal information to anyone who doesn't already know you (friends, family, etc.). And ...
NeverneverneverEVER EVER give your social security numbers over the web!

Now, I'm gonna rebuild everything, and it's all gonna be tougher than my ex-wife's cooking (not that she was bad, but she was the only woman I knew who could burn water ...).
If you need help in making your sites, etc., more secure, check out some great reads at Cybercrime.com. You'll also find some great links there that can help you even further!

Soooooo, time for me to get busy. But ... stay tuned!

Friday, July 23, 2010

One Strrrrange Auction!

Man, this has gotta be the strangest collection ever to be auctioned! Certainly, it's the eeriest ...

On August 16, 1977, Elvis Presley -- the "King of Rock" -- died of heart failure caused by prescription drug overdose in Memphis, Tennessee.
And now, you -- yes, YOU! -- can be the new owner of the tools used in his autopsy! And, hey ... they've only been used once, so they're practically new!! (Don't push ... line forms to the right and ... okay, we have one person, so there's ... wait! He ... he's just shakin' his head and walking away! geez ...) The auction will be held on 12 August, just four days before the thirty-third anniversary of Elvis' death.

THIS JUST IN: Popular U.S. jazz singer Al Jarreau is in critical condition in a French hospital after collapsing on stage Thursday evening, according to hospital sources. The 70-year-old singer, best known for his hit "We're In This Love Together", collapsed during a concert in Barcelonnette in the southeast of France, and is suffering from respiratory problems.
I'll keep you posted with updates on his condition.

BEACH BOYS REUNITE FOR 50th ANNIVERSARY?? That's the word comin' in from the surfsides of sunny California! There are only three of the Beach Boys' most popular lineup left (Mike Love, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine). Al took the place of original BB David Marks just before the band hit superstardom, but word hazzit that, along with longtime member Bruce Johnston, Marks will rejoin the band for the big gig. No word yet on who they'll pick to replace Dennis Wilson, their original drummer who died in a boating accident nearly thirty years ago.

MOVIE TALK ... As I mentioned earlier, actress Amy Adams has been tapped to play Janis Joplin in an upcoming flick on the rock/blues legend's life, Janis Joplin – Get It While You Can.
But now there's another one -- but ya don't have to save up for tickets yet. Y'see, it's been in development for ten years now, and, supposedly, it's to be called The Gospel According To Janis. Although nobody's been cast to play Pearl (c'mon, don't tell me you don't know her famous nickname!), the movie's producer, Peter Newman, along with his business partners, owns the rights to most of her music.
Two movies are already set on the life of legendary soulster Marvin Gaye (one has former "Law and Order" star Jesse L. Martin doing a spot-on rendition of Marvin), and I'm kinda confused as to why these cats just don't compare notes, get their facts straight, then pen one big blockbuster movie about these legends!

SPEAKIN' OF 'CATS' ...

The coolest cat in the UK, Ambrose Mogg, is the purrr-fect publicist for The Merseycats -- a band comprised of legendary musicians from some of Liverpool's greatest Sixties rock acts.
He and I made friends recently (and why not? Everybody who reads this knows I am proprietor of quite a few whiskerlickers!), and he keeps me up-to-speed on what his mates are doing over in the Merseyside. These cats do something that's totally fab: They meet and perform every Thursday night to raise funds for the Rock-n-Roll Children's Charities around the Liverpool area!
It made me think (now, get ready for this, 'cause it doesn't happen often, right??): Why don't American rock legends from that era do the same for stateside children?
Not only do these guys churn out some dynamite music, but they all have a great time doing it! And to think that, from all the merriment and melody, many kids get the helping, healing hand they so desperately need ... it's awesome!
Any takers on this side of the pond??

Stay tuned ...

Monday, July 19, 2010

The BEATLES WIG

It came in the mail on Saturday morning ...

First let me set the stage: The previous Saturday (10 July) was International Beatles Day, and it was centered in (where else??) Liverpool. Natch, one of the traditions is to wear a Beatles wig whilst you were celebrating.

Well, a lovely sunbeam emanated from the 'Pool and shone directly upon my office in here in A-Town -- and, with that warmth came a Beatles wig (amongst other nice items)!
Anxious to see what it was like, but careful of the packaging (it was quite precious to me), I opened it and ... it sorta gravitated to this bald pate of mine (apparently thinking, "Gee, this scalp needs me").

First, I let my little "zoo crew" take a look. Beyond the terrierterror Tonka growling and K-Cat jumping on my shoulder with the intent of destroying this Monster-Who-Ate-Dad, there was the usual response to my appearance: furballs being hacked up, leg being lifted up on the food container to pee ...
of course, the animals acted even worse!!

Then, just for a kick, I wore it whilst out to the local grocer.

After the usual giggling by the teen cashiers and a rather surprised look by the manager (who then slowly shook his head), I studied the drinks aisle for some decent tea.
Suddenly, I heard a "spraying" sound and felt a tingling on the wig! One of the workers sneaked up behind me and sprayed the back of my wig with hornet spray!

A decent joke, I thought, all the while hoping the wig wasn't disintegrating. He apologised for the "prank" later that evening when I went by again. More about that in a minute (think: what goes around comes around ...)

Then, whilst I was in line at the checkout, I noticed the hair net that had held the wig in place during shipment had popped off and landed on the floor at the end of the line. As a young man bagged a customer's groceries, he glanced down and saw it, jumped back a foot as his eyes bugged out like saucers, said a few choice words (unprintable here), then kicked it with his foot to see if it were still alive!
I couldn't help laughing (had a hard time holding it in ...), and said not one word! Let them figure it out ...

Finally, on the way out, I overheard the lady behind me tell her shopper-friend, "that thing looked AWFUL!! And didja smell that COLOGNE he has on?? It smelled like ... BUG spray or somethin'!!"

Ahhh ... fame at last ...



Oh, yeah: FOLLOWUP -- Though the lad who'd adorned my wig with hornet spray is a friend of mine, he did apologise again later. Y'see, I'd made a run back to the store about 8 PM (gotta admit: I love their candies and sweets there ...), and he was in the lot, sweeping the bits of rubbish. There were customers coming in and leaving the store constantly (it's a popular store!).
I didn't have the wig on this time (one's balding scalp has to get air occasionally, right?), but, as I walked up to him, he apologised profusely for the practical joke.
Seeing a few customers leaving the store (and as we were close to the entrance), I jumped back, threw my hand to my head, rubbed my bald scalp and spoke loudly, "See what you've DONE?!?! You sprayed that hornet stuff on me and now ... (fake tears, boo hoo ...) I'M BALLLLD!!!!" The customers looked bewildered, and he looked around, embarrassed, "B-but, Chuck, I ... I didn't ... " I decided to let him off the hook, saying, Greg, m'lad, TWO can play at that game! and told him it was alright ... it was all in good, clean fun.

Today, I'm wearing it whilst working ... and seeing my accountant ... and getting a new replacement tire. Should I survive, I'll letcha know how it went in about 24 hours.

See ya on the FLIP SIDE ...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's A Little Late, Folks, But ...

Now ... where was I??

It's been about, what, a week since I updated this rascal?? Actually, it's been a very busy week here in A-Town, with fifteen article requests, five reviews on deadline, four acts to promote, three blogs a-runnin' (and a part-ri-hidge in a pearrrr treeee ... er,)and an upcoming trip to Liverpool (England, not Ohio or New Yawk this time) to plan.

It reminds me of something Uncle LL told me in an email he sent back in the '07: If you can handle them all, it's okay to have a few irons in the fire, but just don't get burned while you're handling them!

Sooooooo, we'll be back to regular speed (hey ... I can talk about regularity! I'll be 60 next month, so I figure I'm now entitled!!) tomorrow, so ...

stay tuned, okay??

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Keef, Mick, Lloyd and Janis

FIRST, THE HEADLINES Some of the craziest things ya see in everyday life can make for even crazier headlines, if the newspapers would develop enough humour and impishness to include 'em. For example:

During breakfast at a local restaurant, I noticed that one of my local readers, Gayle Hammond and her former boyfriend were sitting together, toasting their reunion. Headline:
HAMMOND, EX TOAST BREAKFAST Sounds delicious, doesn't it?? lol
A few days ago, whilst driving up Sixth Street in sunny A-town, a grey tabby cat (the dude was big; probably took pride in calling himself "stud" ...) actually knocked a rodent into the road -- where it met its demise courtesy the blue pick-up in front of me. Headline:
CAT BAT RAT: SPLAT!
One more: I was talkin' to a teenaged rock fan over at the grocer last night. He had read my Mouse House blog (yep ... I gave him the standard Clique invite: an engraved piece of camembert. So, when he's finished nibbling, he'll be around ...) and wanted to know more about "Floyd Thaxton". He lived in Boyd County (where this little town's nestled), and he heard his mama watched "Floyd" during the sixties. I corrected him on the name, but not until headline:
LLOYD FLOYD TO BOYD BOY

KEEF'S AT IT AGAIN!

For rock fans, this isn't really a headline anymore: The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are feuding again! This time, it's about Richards' upcoming autobiography. I'm hearing that the Stones' management team have even asked Keef to tone down his accounts of Jagger's sex and drug escapades over the years. They're afraid it might jeopardize the band's future!

Richards, who has already described Mick as a "power freak" and a "maniac", recently stayed away from the screening of the band's Stones in Exile film (at the Cannes Film Festival) to protest the way Jagger was promoting it. When asked about Richards' book, Jagger replied, "I would have thought that you'd actually have to be able to remember your life in order to write about it."
Something tells me there's gonna be more on this story, so stay tuned ...

READY FOR SOME RARE JOPLIN??

Before he became a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, guitarist Jorma Kaukonen gave guitar lessons and used his polished finger-picking style as a performer in San Francisco area blues clubs.
One day in 1964, he and Janis Joplin got together at Kaukonen's mother's home for a jam session. The resulting "basement tape" -- complete with the sound of Kaukonen's wife typing in the background -- is a classic piece of classic rock history. Listen to Joplin and Kaukonen doing the blues standard, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out".


That's it for now ... but stay tuned: there's more ROCK, RHYTHM and RIMSHOTS comin' your way in about 24. So, until then, I'll ...
see ya on the FLIP SIDE!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Word About "Celebrity"

This special edition is addressed to high-profile stars ("celebrities") of film, TV and music. It's simulcast on The Mouse House, It's Getting Better and Rock, Rhythm and Rimshots.

Yesterday, I received a rather terse email from a popular actor (don't worry, mate. Yer name's safe with me ...) who asked, "I don't know you but read your FB entries on occasion, and noticed you are from Kentucky. What makes you think you're included in our celebrity circles? No personal offense, but Kentucky is hardly a haven for beautiful people."

Y'know, it made me laugh. First, let me say that I do have a number of friends who are "celebrities". But, as a circle goes around and around, has no end and becomes bloody boring after awhile, I'd rather keep it all fresh and not "clique" myself (except for the Mighty Mouses of Thaxton lore. Then, it's an honour!).

Secondly: "Beautiful people?" Let me tell you something:

If you think you're special or "beautiful" because you're seen every week on television or in the occasional movie -- perhaps perform gigantic venues for gazillions of dollars -- you have the wrong perception of the adjectives!

You want beautiful people? Think of the woman who works long hours at the Wal-Mart®, dead on her feet but still with a smile. She's got three children to feed and clothe on her own since her husband died.
Or the guy down the street who, once, had a home and family but lost it to a vicious drug habit. He's now trying to beat the addiction and clean up his act whilst looking for any job that will accept him.
How about the old, gray gentleman who's sitting in a hospital room, holding his wife's hand whilst she lies there, only hours from passing from cancer?

Brother, these are beautiful people ...

They don't have mounds of cash to fall back on. Instead of gracing a red carpet somewhere, their "premieres" are when they show up for work on-time ... or make it to their rehab session, one more day successfully clear of drugs or alcohol ... or back at a loved one's bedside, knowing they're one day closer to meeting his or her Maker ...

They come, not from L.A. or Tinseltown or wherever, but from towns like my scenic home of Pineville, NC, or the downhome simplicity of Ashland, Ky. ... and thousands of other locations around the country ... and the world (think Liverpool, Newcastle-On-Tyne, Sussex in England).

They remember something else: Whatever their lot in life, they remember what brought them to this dance, and know that, once that "dance" is over, they'll be accepted and taken home by the same ones! Otherwise, it'll be a lonnnnng walk back ... and hitchin' a ride just doesn't work anymore.
Oh ... and those who brought them to the dance? Friends ... neighbours ... people they grew up with and know (and love) them for who they really are, and not some image on a screen or stage.

These, my star-studded friend, are the real celebrities ... the truly beautiful people. They don't need makeup, fancy clothes, limos, or paparazzi to show the world how good they are. People see their worth automatically, in the efforts they make to create a better world for themselves and those closest to them.

And, quite honestly, I'd trade a dozen "celebrities" for just one of these hard-working, caring, heartfelt "common people" anyday of the week!

So, before signing off, let me remind you of what an old friend of mine said many years ago. "Those famous people don't get it. They're born like everybody else -- ain't got nothin' on, cryin' and squawlin'. They eat, drink and (bathroom) like everybody else. They eventually gonna die like everybody else. And when that happens, they won't be no better than the ol' ditch-digger who's just a few plots down from 'em."

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cassettes Redux?

Years ago, when that little number ya see on yer left was in-style, I'd fashioned a little sideline in repairing them. My ad line read, "Dont cuss out yer cassette! Problems?? Let me remove the tape-worm for you! Non-messy, non-prescription, 100% recovery in moments ..."

Whilst the biz went under with those first "Compact Discs", I still made a prediction: That cassettes would be back in style one day.

And, ya know what?? They seem to be headed that way!

A recent report states that more boomer-aged people are preferring cassettes to CDs due to their (a) portability, (b) durability and (3) the fact that you can fix the darn things if they screw up (providing they have screws to retain the tape within the compartments).
Which is a good thing for some of us -- if you're like me, you have a little box, like that one used to ship a 50" Magnavox television, to hold your old tapes!

And, a few days ago, I ventured into the box to see exactly what I had left. After brushing away the cobwebs and throwing away a piece of cookie I lost in 1987, I found recorded voices of my parents, brother and their Siamese, "Willie" (all passed away now), voices of my sons when they were about 7 and 5 ... and some demos and recordings done by me back in 1985 (hey ... don't knock it; when played, they helped my cats get rid of their furballs!).

There were others, but after gettin' over the goosebumps after hearing my people's voices ... and a queasy stomach after hearing those songs I wrote and recorded at Studio East (but my Bombay, K-Cat, heard them and now feels much better ..), I carefully stored them back in the box.

Question to you readers: Should cassette tapes make a comeback? Let me know your thoughts, okay? We can discuss the responses from both of you in an upcoming post! Until then ...

stay tuned ...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence of Rock

This lonnnnnnng weekend, Americans are celebrating July 4 and 5 as Independence Day (the 4th's actually on Sunday this year, so the 5th is the holiday ...). And, whilst most are celebrating it as the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, others are using the holiday to reflect on other revolutionary movements that brought freedom.

A few of you might be thinking, "Uh-huh ... but what does that have to do with ROCK music?"

Answer: EVERYTHING!!

Y'see, the very theme of rock-n-roll, even before it first hit the charts, was freedom! From the Chuck Berries and Elvis Presleys in the states to the amazing bands that covered England from coast to coast (and, beginning in February, 1964, changed the course of rock music forever), the sound was raw, unchained, and thumbed its nose at censors and strict performance rules.

From T-Bone Walker and his wild splits and Hendrix-like guitar playing to the Good/Parnes management team and their stable of singers named after their sexual prowess, the world was seeing a brand new, liberated movement. Elvis had his gyrations, Faron's Flamingos had Bill Ruffley (Faron) doing splits and his drummer somersaulting over the drumkit. We were truly seeing a revolution occurring.

This independence was no more strongly felt than when The Beatles landed at LaGuardia in New York City on February 7, 1964. When young people around the U.S. saw the Fab Four in performance, and followed the antics of the "moptops" -- especially the brash, outspoken and witty John Lennon -- they began forming bands of their own, and mimicked the boldness that this band from England exhibited.

The Beatles, along with other "British Invasion" acts, not only revitalized youth in the states but also influenced them to openly protest the status quo that had been set by a previous generation. They began rebelling against inequality, prejudice -- and a war going on in Southeast Asia.

By 1969, they began seeing minute changes and, eventually, these small breaks for independence in civil and women's rights eventually became larger. The voting age eventually was lowered. And, by 1975, our involvement in the war was over.

Today, the rock world is seeing a reversion to the sounds that, actually, were the soundtrack to the amazing drama that young people unfolded in the name of independence. We're seeing the "baby-boomer" segment of America in our Congress, witnessing the results of their labour so many years ago, and actually help each other long before any state or national assistance comes.

So, if anything, rock music is independence-in-action ... and what more fitting day to honour it than on 4 July ...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Action" Thaxton??

A few days ago, whilst making a quick run through our local "Wally World" for more office supplies, I noticed a biiiiiiiiig display of action figures across the aisle from the legal pads and cheap pens. Figures from wrestling to the military, TV stars to fantasy characters (no, not that kind. Remember, Wally built a family theme into his stores ...), they were all there.

But it did provide me with Daydream #3029: What if they had a figure for Lloyd Thaxton?

I can just hear the attempt at commercial now:

"Introducing the new ... 'ACTION THAXTON' figure from MouseMania! This amazing figure is so lifelike that it's almost like having the Dean of Talk in your very own HOME! Here ... just take it from the package and ...
(waitaminnit. HEY!! WHERE'D HE GO?? DID ANYBODY SEE ... wha ... he's ... he's ... )Ladies and Gentlemen, due to circumstances beyond our control, we now return you to your regular programme
(WILL SOMEBODY CATCH THAT LITTLE DUDE?? Wha ... HE'S GOIN' OVER TO THE CD AISLE!! He's ... he's ...
BREAKIN' OPEN THE OLDIES CDs AND PLAYING THEMMMMM!!!!
AND ... OMG, ALL THE OTHER FIGURES ARE BREAKIN' OUTTA THEIR PACKS AND DANCING!! QUICK!! SOMEBODY BREAK OUT THE DICK CLARK DOLL!!! Wha ... whaddya MEAN it's gotta be paid first?? Geez ...

Now, I've gotta stop here-and-now and say I have great respect for Dick Clark and even quite a bit of tolerance for Wal-Mart, but, when ya talk about energy, charisma, presence and creativity, you've gotta be talkin' about Uncle Lloyd.

THREE DAYS LATER:Scene: Wally World parking lot, where thousands of action figures from faraway places like Target, Toys-R-Us and the North Pole have come to boogie and groove with this amazing character called "Action Thaxton". Reporters from NBC, ABC, CBS, ASPCA and even FOX have show up to report on this kinetic character and his amazing, nonstop ability to entertain ...

And now ... now there are reports that this figure was actually a promotional model, and that the people at MouseMania could not find anyone who could even come close to duplicating it!!

Ahhh, if Lloyd had been an action figure ... would the mini-LL be any different from the one we knew and loved? I don't think so ...

stay tuned ...