Thursday, December 29, 2011

The "Flower Child" circa 2011

This is a continuation of the post on our sister site, Beyond The Rock

Now it's winter of 2011. Forty years after-the-fact, we have a war in Afghanistan. People are starving, tortured and/or murdered in various countries and under other regimes. Gas prices are still at an amazing high. Power and personal freedoms are being wrested from the hands of the people by a Congress they've learned not to trust.
Yet, the baby-boomers - this same group that so valiantly championed the cause of peace and equality forty years before, and of which I am a member - have become largely silent, seeming to stick their heads in the sand and hide from our present national and world situations in hope that they'll go way.

What happened to the once-resonating voices of peace? Have large families, larger paychecks and the responsibility that comes with maintaining material security taken the edge off our active and vocal protest of the wolves at peace's door? At one time, we could - and did - change the political fabric of America. Yet, today, most of the protesters of yore are content to "let it slide" or have someone else do it for them.
We were willing to put it all on the line for peace - including facing arrests and jail-time. Now, at a time when our country - our world, for that matter - needs us to speak up, we've become strangely silent.
We have the greatest buying power, the most political pull, and the highest demographic of any other age group in the nation. Years ago, we had longed for the day when we would have the authority - the power - to change the world. Now that we have it, though, we're not using it. Has our spunk given in to complacency? Do we believe that, despite our values as young people, what's happening in this world is of no consequence to us?
Again, I ask the question: What happened to the voices of peace? Have we surrendered to the establishment at long last? Are we afraid - or, worst of all, so involved with ourselves and the money-machine feeding us that we just don't care?

It's time for every person who was ever a "child of peace" to answer that question.

COMPOSTING


One thing that baby-boomers gleaned from the Sixties was a profound respect for the earth ... and that included making their own compost for their gardens.  Did you know you can take grass clippings, leaves -- and even kitchen scraps -- and make your own organic compost? It's true! And, in order to do it right, you need a good, solid and dependable composter . And, by clicking the link you just saw, you'll find a fantastic selection of the best! Not only that, but you'll also find some great links to learn more about composting!
So, before the spring planting season comes up, how about going organic this time and get a good, solid composter for your garden??

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Listen ... I'll be back next week with new posts ... and, beginning in the 12, more frequent visits. But today is a special time for the triple-F factor: food, family and friends (not necessarily in that order). Soooooo ...
C ya then ... on the flip side!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Uncle Lloyd's Greatest Message (Rewind)

NOTE: Recently, I was asked, via Facebook® message, if we could repeat this post. Somehow, it held a little sentimental value for the FB friend (unh-unh ... I don't give names unless authorised by the writer! Besides, he's bigger than me ...). So, it's with pleasure that we do this special "Rewind":
For years, we of the Clique-and-beyond looked forward to getting home from work so we could get the latest thoughts from Uncle Lloyd and his blog. Whether we agreed 100% with him on everything or not (and disagreements were rarer than Vitalis™ in a headbanger's dressing room!), we loved every minute we "visited" with him.

Then, of course, we had his book (Stuff Happens, of course) to keep us company. Through it, we felt as though he really was our favorite uncle, showing us better ways to deal with life's challenges.

Yes, there were those of us who remember his segments on both The Today Show and Fight Back! In the latter, he gave us a lotta boss info on all kinds of goodies to make our Wal-Mart® shopping easier (if we'd had the store back then. As far as shopping there -- and with apologies to Clark Howard -- I still have to ask myself "Why??").

It goes without saying that his most memorable achievement to many boomers was The Lloyd Thaxton Show (now, why'd I say that?? Didn't I say it "goes without saying"?? Oh, NOW I remember ... we do have post-boomer mousers on board here). He brought the message of good times and rock-and-roll to our homes every weekday at 5 PM.

But the greatest message that Uncle Lloyd conveyed wasn't in his show, or in his book, or in his other shows.

It was found in the soul and heart that he shared with each and every one of us. When he had something bearing on his mind, or when he really felt great about something, when he was reminiscing -- or even when he was "up against the wall" with cancer -- he was still the epitome of hope, smiles, and an attitude that just grinned a big "Everything's gonna be all right. C'mon ... let's have some fun while we're here ..."

A cautious optimism? Confidence? A habit of being upbeat?? Let's face it: Lloyd Thaxton just had a tremendous love of life and all that was in it! And, in his too-short time with us, he tried showing us, through his words and actions, that "Hey ... it isn't gonna BITE ya! ENJOY life!! It really ROCKS!!"

Chief, we're still learning ... but, then again, we had a great teacher ...

WELD-DONE!

I've noticed that, here in Ashland, the college is putting up a new cosmetology building.  Amongst all the workers are about three or four that are doing some serious welding on the building!  Now, obviously, these guys are going to need to maintain the best welding supplies possible, along with jackets, gloves (it is getting cold out there, gang!) and anything else that will keep them safe! On my way in to work this morning, I pointed them in one direction ...
And, by clicking on the link I gave them (you just passed it a second ago), you can get exactly the same quality, value and service as the professionals! You'll also find great discounts, free shipping on some items, and a whole lot more!
So click there now for the best in welding supplies and equipment. You'll be glad you did!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ruffled Feathers ...

IT'S TIME TO FLY AGAIN 2012 is just a few weeks away and, waiting silently on the edge of his perch high atop Melody Mountain here in beautiful downtown Ashland, KY., an eagle is ready to try out his newly-healed wings ...

I was first called that 25 years ago by a third-grade student at Pineville (NC) Elementary, where I had volunteered as a teacher's aide and tutored. It became my pen name whilst a syndicated columnist, and lasted until 2005, when The Rock Relic emerged.

Over time, the Relic character grew (and, for that, I thank you), but the person of Chuck Hinson began having a few ... well, let's say "troubles".
Those began to multiply, and it affected both my health and my work (thus, the finances). But this Relic still trudged on, all the while knowing it was in my power to control the situations ... rather than have them control me.

A few days ago, I was checking out my archives when I ran across a challenging email from my late mentor and friend, Lloyd Thaxton (aka "Lloyd Thaxton"). When I'd told him, back in '06, about the old "Eagle" monitor, he sent these words in one of his emails: "You're an Eagle. Then, FLY, EAGLE, FLY!"
Those words sent chills down my spine. Uncle Lloyd's been entertaining a heavenly audience since 2008 ...
(By the way: That earlier "aka" bit? That's how LL signed one of his first emails to me. Just included that as a tribute ...)

Then a very wonderful reader included, on her Facebook® page, one of my favourite Biblical verses (Isaiah 40:31):
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
At the very same time I read this, the radio was playing a song by one of my all-time favourite country artistes: The late Waylon Jennings.
The song??
The Eagle.

NOW ya see why the bird's gonna be the word again??

Now, on the rock side of life, I'm adding a little to the mix: I'm reviving the Electric Eagle (many thanks to Spencer Hannabuss, my British mate from The 286 and, formerly, The Fore, for this idea). For all other writes, it'll be non-"Electric". For you who don't like eagles ... well, just be sure to carry a good, strong umbrella ('cause we know what to do!) ... lol

So, come 1 January 2012, "The Rock Relic" will become just that: A relic from days gone by. But the Eagle ... gonna be flyin' high once again!
(here's the vid ... listen to the word. It's my declaration for 2012)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A High I.Q., Huh??

Y'know, it always amazes me when I hear someone bragging about his (or her) I. Q. Yesterday, whilst I was on lunch, I heard a young man doing just that. He said he was known to have a "160" -- more than (in his words) "most of these losers in here!"

WOW!! Einstein had a "160" (see above pic)! So he ...

he works at a local telemarketing firm (note: not a rocket scientist as I first imagined whilst in "awe" of this genius ... [not to knock anyone who does it if they need a job, btw])

Look ...

Whoever brags about this "I.Q." stuff's got it all wrong, anyway! You take a battery of tests (most of them on paper), then they're gauged and determined by whoever has administered them.
But, man, there's more to determining your "intelligence quotient" than what you put into a paper-pushing session:

You need to have learned from your life experiences -- and applied those lessons wisely as an integral part of your life. These would have to be gauged over years and your testers would have to watch you every waking moment to be sure they've got the whole picture!

And THEN ... expect to pay the same amount for food, coffee or gas that everybody else pays! You can look forward to putting your pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us. In fact, when the time comes, you'll be in the same place as we all will be eventually -- rich/poor, black/white, average/high "IQ".

So don't try to impress me with your "smarts", okay??  I'd rather talk to the real intelligent people, like those who put in a hard day's work at a Wal-Mart or other job, then come home to feed their families, love and tend to their kids, pay their bills, clean their houses -- then start the whole thing over the next day and never lose their smile and hope.
They know how to balance it all properly, where the whole family benefits.  They don't care about impressing anyone ...
that, my friends, is intelligence personified ... and, coupled with wisdom, love and perseverence, it's unbeatable ...

(PS  For those who are wondering: I was tested in April, 1970 by the Department of the Army as having an I.Q. of 145. But don't hold me to that today, okay?  It's just good for a laugh, IMHO ...)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And The Holiday Season Begins ...


Okay ... if you had a great Thanksgiving this past Thursday, raise your giblets!

Actually, it's nearly a ... well, it is a week after Thanksgiving, and time that I did some catching up here:

Now, I know about how turkeys meet their demise and end up on our dinner tables ... but I'm convinced that the one that (the cats and) I (and the dogs) noshed on actually died of dehydration ... a year before Thanksgiving! I mean, it was so tough that, for a moment, I considered getting out the needle and thread and sewing a new jacket out of it (or has Lady GaGa copyrighted that move??).
Thankfully, there is peanut-butter and jelly ... if you can find a small jar that costs less than a gallon of gas these days ...

THE WAL-DORK HYSTERIA

Of course, what's Thanksgiving Day without its ensuing counterpart, "Black Friday", which started on Thursday night at Wal-Mart®?
There must be some hidden ingredient in holiday turkey that causes some consumers to dress like drunken, color-blind circus performers -- all to converge on Wally-World at this one particular time of the year!
It was either that, or they've revived the Hinson family reunion after all these years ...
And, for all it's played up to be, it's strange that the shoppers who attend this magical event called "Black Friday" never seem to leave the store with the smiles and optimism they enter with.
Blood? Yes. Sweat? Uh-huh. Tears? You bet. But "smiles and optimism"? Naaah ...

POST-THANKSGIVING WEEK

Let's see ... after a weekend of Alka-Seltzers®, leftover turkey in every conceivably-edible form and the end of the football game that began on Thursday evening  (even if I liked the game, I couldn't've watched; I was busy sewing a new jacket ...), came Cyber-Monday, Take-It-Back-It's-The-Wrong-Size Tuesday and Why'd-You-Get-That? Wednesday.
I can hardly wait to see what the rest of the week brings ...

CAUGHT IN THE WEB?

I know we have a lot of readers deep in the heart of Texas -- especially in and around the Houston area; and I also know that some of you are wanting to get a solid shot at producing your own material on the web.
The problem is (and this is common), you don't really know how ...

Well, if you're needing help with your web presence, it's just a click away! You see, for the best and most affordable web design Houston has to offer, the folks at Softway Solutions can help you with custom web designs, mobile apps, flash animation (in 3D, no less!) and even business applications -- all at prices that won't dent your wallet!
With their years of experience, reputation for producing top-quality work while staying under-budget, and some world-renowned clientele, you can rest assured that you'll have the best developers on your side!
So give them a call today! You'll be glad you did ...

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Visit From St. Nick (circa 2011)

Okay … gotta ‘fess up here: I first produced and published this piece a few years ago … but, considerin’ the Christmas season is here again (and what an ingenius idea it was, time-stamping it to refresh every 365 days! WOW!!), I thought it’d be apro … apropri … cool to play it again today for yer readin’ pleasure. So, enjoy if ya can:


Hey, little mousers … how ’bout gatherin’ ’round and let Uncle Relic read y’all a real good Christmas story, okay??
It’s called … well, it usedta be called The Night Before Christmas but it's, ummm ...  "souped up" a little, just for fun.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (skeptic’s version)
(NOTE: These remarks are, in no way, a reflection of this writer’s feelings.  I think this was passed down by CNN through FOX then ABC, then the NATIONAL ENQUIRER made a fuss about it …)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
(so they have MICE? THAT’S UNSANITARY! Why can't they go down to the hardware store and get some D-Con™ traps?)


The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
(Geez ... these poor folks don’t even have a working washer-dryer!)

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
(Hmmm ... maybe the last name of the washer repairman?)

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
(Awww. while MOST kids go to sleep thinkin’ of CARS, GAMES or SEX, they’re thinkin’ FOOD! Tsk … poor, starving waifs …)


And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
(Suuuure: Man and wife, kids in bed, naked except for kerchief and cap. To sleep. Uh-huh …)

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
(Probably just a stray dog. Why be so PARANOID?? And you ain't buyin' that "spring" nonsense, I hope.  Hmph ... his WIFE probably kicked his butt out to see what it was ...)

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
(Well, if he hadn’t eaten the sash to begin with … poor nutrition habits! [Huh? I dunno ... I guess it's imitation JAPANESE food or somethin' ... obviously, the KIDS didn't eat it. They're STARVING!])

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
(Now, why
“breast”? Why not “mantle” or “lawn”? Why does everything have to sound sexist these days?  And why am I sounding like Andy Rooney?  Let's move on ... )


Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
(Yeah … right. “Little old” drivers are rarely “lively and quick”. Seen the HIGHWAYS lately?)
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
(Gotta admit ... it's the strangest entrance I've ever seen for a washer repairman!)
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
(Now, what exactly IS a "COURSER?")
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
(Awww, geez ... he’s gonna wake up the KIDS, who are dreaming of “sugar plums” …)

Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
("now" WHAT?!?)
On, Comet! On Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
("ON" what??)
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
(Now, WHY doesn’t he use the DRIVEWAY like everyone ELSE?)

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!
(Dash away all of what? Man, you better park that rig and get to fixin’ that washin’ machine!)

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
(Umm, dude?  It's, like, SNOWING out there??  Hurricane season's PASSED!)
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
(can anyone explain this line?)
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew
(I ask ya again: what’s a friggin’ COURSER?? Thoughtcha had REINdeer, bubba …)
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
(Forget the toys; let’s fricasee those REINDEER! Should taste better than “sash”!)
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
(Come ONNNN! They’re gonna wake the kids, I tell ya! An’ who’s gonna replace those SHINGLES??)
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
(He was probably drawin’ it back to BUST that dude for makin’ all that racket ...)

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
(waitaminnit. Isn’t that “entering without breaking”? And why was he carrying a “bound”? Is that, like, a WEAPON or somethin’??)
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
(Awwww, CRAP! There goes the clean CARPET! Well, with the exception of the mouse droppings … )
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
(It’s late … strange dude looks like a peddler, breaking in through chimney with some weapon called a "bound" … yep: five to ten at San Quentin at least!)
His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
(WHOA! Sounds like daddy was gettin’ turned ON by the dude in red!)
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
(Man, this cat’s gonna set off the SMOKE DETECTOR!! An’ if the WIFE hears that, she’s gonna hit the ROOF… and THAT'LL knock off all those tiny REINDEER! And then PETA will be on THEIR backs and …)

He had a broad face and a little round belly
that shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
(almost sounds like some weird PORNOGRAPHY, doesn’t it??)
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
(like HECK it didn’t … didn’t Linda Blair do the same thing in “Exorcist”?)
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
(WAIT!! What … what was the “jerk” doing with him? When’d HE come into the picture?)
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
(HE’S GONNA BLOW A BOOGER!! HE’S A REDNECK! I KNEW IT!!)
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
(oh …)
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
(hmph — earlier he called 'em by name. Now he just whistles for ‘em?)
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
(what the heck?? Since when does a thistle have DOWN??)
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

AWWW, WOULDN'T YA KNOW? HE WOKE UP THE KIDS WITH ALL THAT CLATTER! NOW, ALONG WITH SCARED YOUNG'UNS,  THE OWNER’S GOT

  • A CHIMNEY TO CLEAN
  • SOOTY FOOTPRINTS TO VACUUM
  • LYSOL TO SPRAY, TO GET THAT FRIGGIN' PIPE SMOKE OUTTA THE ROOM 
  • THE KIDS TO CALM DOWN and get back to (ahem!) “sugarplum-land”.
  • AN UNSATISFIED NEARLY-NEKKID WIFE WHO DOESN’T KNOW HE WAS MAKIN’ EYES AT SANTA …
  • A POSSIBLE POLICE REPORT TO FILE
EDITOR’S NOTE: So, here, we have the tragic story of an impoverished, fairly uneducated family who lives in unsanitary conditions. Then, one night, upon lying down after a questionable meal — and with his precious children so hungry they’re dreaming of food — the man of the house comes face-to-face with an intruder. The perp made his way into the house in unconventional fashion, and proceeds to make a mess. Strangely, the man becomes attracted to him … and doesn’t stop him or his accomplice (aka “a jerk”) from their crime.
Pity, isn’t it??
Awww, the heck with it … MERPYSONS CHRISTOLIDINGS! (Well, it’s now 2011, and we’ve gotta be careful with our greeting, kids … so I've combined them all into one!)

ROCKNOTE: The above greeting was one coined as a collaboration between The Relic and Lloyd Thaxton in 2006. As so many “politically correct” people wanna downplay the “CHRISTmas” thing, and others don’t see it as a HOLIDAY, we just combined “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” all in one.
See ya on the flip side, when we get back to norml … normle ... ummm, something like that ...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Let's see ... as of now, there are parades getting lined up, football fields that are getting fresh lines on them, panicky turkeys occupying towns with signs saying something like "The 99% eat chicken! Down with the 1%!" and anxiously weighing themselves in hopes that their Slim-Fast® diets (poultry version) worked.

It's nearly Thanksgiving ...and it brings back so many memories to me, as I'm sure it does for you:
  • Back-in-the-day, mama used to take the names of all the folks in the immediate family (including grandkids), write 'em on little slips of paper and put them in a hat. After the big feast (and, listen ... nobody could cook as good as my mama -- though Gladys Goodman [my first wife's mum] came pretty close!), we'd "pass the hat", with each of us pulling out a name.
    Soon, it'd come my turn. I'd reach inside the fedora and pull out one from the very bottom.
    To this day, I still can't find family records on the kid named "DryCle Anonly". I knew his age, though ... he was always a young "7 1/2"!
  • Once, when I was married and the kids were just little tykes, the wife and I were trying to cook a turkey. Came time to coat it with juices. I yelled out, "Where's the little baster?" My son runs into the living room to baby brother, yelling, "HEY, MIKE! DADDY'S LOOKIN' FOR YOU!!" 'Twas then my wife-at-the-time reminded me that "baster" has a long ... not short ... "a" in it!
  • By the time the late '90s rolled around (yes, 1990s!), I was helping a friend with his turkey (he and his family'd graciously invited me for dinner). Of course, if you're gonna stuff it, you've gotta reach in and get that little package of whatever it is from inside, first.
    Well, Dave had a horse disguised as a dog (silly guy ... trying to cover and say it was a dog called a "Great Dane" or something.  Nice try.  Didn't look a thing like Victor Borge), and he was next to the kitchen counter, watching as I was wrist-deep in the bird.
    Suddenly, I ... well, have you ever had one of those sneezes that you're just not ready for??  I mean, all you can do is turn your head and let fly?
    Yep. Turned my head at the last second and instinctively pulled my hands up to cover my mouth.
    The only problem was that ... er, one of them was still in the turkey ....
    it slung off my hand, smacked the dog in the forehead, bounced over, hit a chair and came to rest in its seat.
    And don'tcha just hate it when you get thaaaaaaatclose to big sneeze ... and it never happens??
    Uh-huh.
    But Dave finally broke the deafening silence that followed the turkey's "plop" in the char ...
    "TOUCHDOWN!!"
Now ... why not share some of your memories? I'll be glad to print 'em here! And, for all of you (huh?? No, he washed it off, checked it over and still cooked it! Brave soul ...) who are anticipating a great holiday coming up ... HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

MORE THAN A SMOKE ...

There are still a lot of men who top off the Thanksgiving meal with a good cigar before the football game comes on.  And, of course, there are those who enjoy them any time ... but they can't be just run-of-the-mill cigars, like the off-brands you find at convenience stores and such!  They need to have the smoothness and luxury as well as the flavor!
What they want are the legendary Davidoff cigars -- for generations, these Swiss cigars have brought smooth smoking enjoyment to thousands of smokers worldwide!
Now you can enjoy the finesse and pleasure of these fine cigars -- and all you have to do is click the link you just passed!
You can choose from Panatelas, Demi Tasse, and so many other fine blends -- or try one of their samplers -- at pleasantly-affordable prices!
So top off your holiday doings with one of the fine selections from Davidoff! Enjoy the smoothness of a cigar that's fit for the holidays!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Notes From The Checkout Line ...

This is your roving reporter, Chuck "Scoops" Hinson, broadcasting from the field here in Ashland, Kentucky. Right now, I'm in lane 8 at our neighbourhood Wal-Mart®, waiting for the eight people in front of me to check out.
We're ... we're hoping to get a word from some of thegeez ...can we get this line movin' sometime this year??the customers here in line about the recentSir, will you PLEASE stop hitting me with your buggy? Thank you ...the news that's been on everyone's minds.

Oh ... and it's 9:00 PM my time, Saturday night (8:15 Wal-Mart® time ... they throw in the extra minutes if you buy the clock):

Sir??  Excuse me ... SIR??  May I have ... oh ... excuse me!  Ma'am?? "WUUUT??"
"Ma'am, can you tell our viewers at home what you think about ... about the original Black Sabbath finally returning?"
"HUH?? Wha ... you mean they moved Black Friday back by two more days?? Shoot ... that was my only chance t' get away from the ol' man durin' them football games!! And on the Sabbath?? God ain't gonna""NO, ma'am. I mean the rock group ..."
"The who??"
"No, ma'am. They're still together, I think,. I'm talking about Black Sabbath here!"
"You mean they're gonna git rid of Black Friday?? Lawd'a mercy, I ..."

"Have a good day, ma'am!"
Now ... let's see whoSir? No, sir, I'm not harassing the customers! I'm with TMCTV and ...
"(ahem!) This is the front-end manager here at Wally World and, sir, what do YOU think about the recent problems at Penn State?"


"Well,(is this thing really on?? WOW!!) well, we always pride ourselves in low, low prices, and that motor oil's been one of our biggest sellers. But IIII ... I haven't heard of any problems with it! What ... what'd they say was wrong with it?? Let me know an' I'll pull 'em off the shelves!"

"No, sir ... I mean the trouble they had with Sandusky over the past week ... do you think it ..."
"What happened in Sandusky??  I've got relatives who live up there in Ohio, and they ain't said nothin' about anything goin' on!"

"Sir, I'm talking about Jo Pa!  Do you think he should've stayed, or ..."
"Now, what in the far does my Pa haveta do with it??  But, ma'am, if'n ya talked with him, dang right he shoulda stayed.  I mean, runnin' out on me and mama and Billy Joe like that ... "
"Uhhhh ... thank you sir!  LOOK! There's someone on Aisle 27 needin' your help ...""Huh?  We ain't got no 'Aisle 27'!" "Well, just imagine there is.  Just like our readers imagining this is a broadcast ..." 


(We're cutting this short and pulling "Scoops" back in the studio.  As he's doing this, he's also fighting a humongous case of bronchitis -- but, as soon as he starts to recover, he'll be back online [give it a good three days, at the most, okay?])

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Relic In Chi-Town

It all started so innocently on that July morning ...
Y'see, back in '99, I took my (then) daughter-in-law and two-year-old granddaughter to Chicago so we could witness Kaela's dad graduating from boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Air Station.

I said the trip started innocently enough: Since I hadn't been to Chicago since 1897, I thought it was safer to take the Greyhound™ bus. Nothin' to it: Buy tickets, load baggage, find seats, relax. Right??

Yeah ... uh-huh ... suuuuure ...

Since the night before had been a long and sleepless one, I dozed off just before the bus approached the Indianapolis station for one of its famed stops (long enough to get a drink, not long enough to use the bathroom). Suddenly, I heard Kaela's unmistakeable cry.

(Now, for this next part, PLEASE understand that I was groggy. Please?? Thank you ...)


So, still mostly asleep, I instinctively reached over, rubbed her arm and mumbled, "There now, honey ... grandpa's here! You're gonna be okay!"

Suddenly, I was hit by a wadded-up piece of paper, and my name was being whispered loudly but urgently: "Chuck! CHUCK!!"
I barely cracked open my eyes when I noticed Kaela ... sitting with her mother ... on the other side of the aisle!!

I went from a drowsy to "freshly-poured-ice-down-my-pants" look in .015 milliseconds. If Kae's up there with her, then who was ....??

As they (and a few other passengers) began laughing, I slowly, hesitantly glanced beside me.

Now, I dunno ... maybe the sailor was coming off leave or something ... but, fortunately, he was still asleep! Thank goodness. Maybe I was off the hook? Probably not, considering it wasn't his arm I was stroking (NONONO!! It wasn't, er, "that" ... it was his leg! His LEG!! ONLY his leg!! Geez ...)

And I was right. By the time we pulled into the Indy station and I started to g-e-n-t-l-y get up to retrieve K's diaper bag, he tapped me on my hand and slipped me a piece of paper with his phone number on it! (And, no, I didn't, so don't ask ... let me suffer in peace, willya??)

Finally, after pulling into the Windy City (I'd moved to another seat. By myself ...), we got off the bus and into a cab, heading for the Metra™ train station.
Now, for you who've been there, you know there are some revolving glass doors in front -- and Chicagoans move faster than the speed of light through those things ...

ummm, until I showed up.

Carrying all the bags so K's mum could focus on carrying her, I waited until just the right moment and finally jumped into a vacant door ... which was smaller than my load ...
and jammed the entire system!

Y'know, people look a mite funny when their faces are pressed against glass ...

Eventually, I got out ... just to see my daughter-in-law nearly bent over in laughter ... red-faced, but laughing at me (imagine ...)!!

On the escalator going up to the elevated train platform (remember, me: pack mule. Daughter-in-law: protective mum), one of K's shoes fell off. Gallant granddad to the rescue. I reach over to retrieve the shoe ... a couple of bags fell off my shoulder and sped down the escalator and ...

remember the old bowling alleys?? Well, replace the pins with humans, and ...

All I could do is run down ("down" an "up" escalator!), grab the bags, look around in embarrassment whilst trying to save my butt by mouthing "I'M FROM KENTUCKY!" and run back up the moving staircase while keeping my head bowed (at least that way they wouldn't see the foot in my mouth!)

On the train, the conductor would come back and announce each suburb on the route as we reached it. The first time, little K. looked confused. The second time he came back, she looked angry. The third time he came back to announce the suburb, she jumped into the aisle, put her hands on her hips and yelled out, "NO S--T!!"

We finally got to the train depot at GLNAS (no, that's not me in the pic. My hair didn't start turning grey until after this ...) and had to get over to the gym where the commencement was to be held.
But there was a problem: A wicked-looking barbed-wire fence separated us from the main area!

Natch, Mr. Braveheart took all those bags and negotiated the fence ... pulling barbs out of his torn shirt, wiping off a little sweat and blood with my hand. FINALLY ... I'd made it! I turned around ...
to see K and her mum standing in front of me ... and they were (do I haveta say this again??) laughing!!

Six feet from where I went through, the fence had stopped, allowing anyone (with any sense) to go around it ...

We finally got to the gymnasium and the ceremonies (and, I've gotta admit, when Tim marched in with the grads to Anchors Aweigh, I jumped up, tears flowing, and shouted. The guy behind me did finally apologise for burning my butt with his cigarette, though ...*).
After a fantastic July 4th weekend with him (and a great stay at the Great Lakes Navy Lodge), we took another stop in Chicago -- a very brief and cautious one (eyes watched ... and remembered) -- and headed home.

*(Alright, I've gotta 'fess up: The reason behind the tears and shouting was that I was proud of my boy. I'd raised him and his bro, Mike, by myself since they were pups, and to see him marching out there, so dedicated in his perfectly-pressed Navy whites, made me feel tower-tall ...)
But I wasn't done with Chi-Town ... yet:
A year later, whilst on the way to work with a client up in Canada (I took a non-sailored Greyhound™ this time), I stopped in the Windy City; since the next bus wasn't due for another eight hours or so, maybe I could make up for the mess I made last time.
Yeah ... right ...
I put my cigarette out in the ashcan as I turned around and headed for the terminal. With enough time on my hands, certainly there'd be enough time to take in one of the city's famous blues gigs.

Suddenly, people started running in and out of the station, yelling excitedly. I looked out and saw the unmistakable flickering of fire!
Apparently, somebody'd thrown a cigarette ... into ... the ... wrong can. One marked ... 'garbage'!
It was all just a simple mistake. I mean, any balding Kentuckian could've done it ... right??
Anyway, after viewing the resulting festivities ... er, from a distance, I thought it'd be a good time to exit the station right then (or, until the next bus came). So I checked my pockets and realised that ... I'd lost my ticket!!
No problem, really. Since I was sitting in the station when the flames started flickering, I just backtracked. There it was ... fifth seat from the right. I grabbed it, put it in my coat pocket, and took off.
"Hey!! HEY!!" The guy who was running after me had blood in his eyes: MINE!

"Who the hell do you think you ARE, man?? Gimme back my ticket NOW!!"
Judging from the way he was reaching for my coat lapel, I don't think he wanted it for warmth! But I obliged (either that, or this 6'4", 275-pounder was gonna make me "late" -- and I don't mean for the bus; it's what my friends would've called me ...)

"Look ..." I stammered to him (and the now-gathering crowd of mostly-roughnecks) as I pulled it outta my pocket. "I bought this ticket in Ashland, Kentucky, and I'm headin' for Canada. See?? It clearly shows I'm heading to ...

Boston, Massachusetts ...

So, as I was fumbling my apologies and handed it back to the man, another guy looked over and under the seats. "Here go one for ..." he checked it out ... "Calg'ry, Canada ... an' IT from Kentucky!" He handed it to his friend who grabbed my lapel, opened my coat and shoved it in the side pocket.

No, my friends ... I don't think Chicago, Illinois, will ever forget me. That's why I now have insurance ... and a good set of fake glasses-and-nose in the event fate lands me there again!
(DISCLAIMER: Don't get me wrong; I really love Chicago. The events that occurred in these posts actually happened, but does not reflect the city or its people ... most of whom I hope to see if I'm ever allowed back there ...)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our 60 Minutes Were Well Spent ...

Each week, he made at least 60 Minutes of our time a lot more bearable ...

When I read that Andy Rooney -- the sometimes-ascerbic-but-always-lovable commentator who capped off CBS' famed primetime news magazine -- died yesterday, it was with the feeling that we'd lost an anchor of this turbulent boat called American Common Sense.

Still, most of us saw it coming, not so much due to his age as the fact that he had finally retired from the daily grind he'd known for a half-century. You see, when a career that long comes to a halt and you're left little more than time on your hands, your body is going to react accordingly; it's used to the rigours of the workplace.

Rooney was a man who wasn't afraid to speak his mind -- a rarity, even in these days. And, when he spoke, people listened, whether he was on the TV screen or on the street. With a build akin to a bulldog, square face and bushy eyebrows, he could command attention from anyone (mostly because they'd be afraid to really let that "bulldog" loose ...).

And he could be humourous -- not a comedian, but someone who could find a bit of laughter in the ironies that surround politics or other news items. Yes, it was rare, but he could also deadpan as well as a Buster Keaton or Johnny Carson.

The big question has been, "Who will replace Andy?" and is asked even more since his passing.
The answer is obvious: No one.
Because, you see, some people are just flatly irreplaceable ...

HIGHLIGHTING THE KIDS

If you've got little ones running through the house (or are the proud grandparent of some of them), you've probably heard of Highlights™ magazine. Chock full of activities and other goodies for children, it provides hours of fun for them with each issue!
And, when we're out-and-about, you might want to pick up a copy for them -- but there are some newsstands that may not carry them, or, if they do, you'll have to pay standard newsstand prices (and those can be high).
Of course, you have the option to subscribe to the magazine, and have it come straight to your house rather than searching all over town for it -- but, while subscription rates are normally lower than newsstand, wouldn't it be nice if you could shave just a little more on the price?
Well, you can -- and just by clicking on this link, where you're offered special highlights coupons !
Imagine your little one, busy as a beaver as he/she enjoys the activities and more that the Highlights™ Magazine offers -- and learns so much in the process!
So click that link now and take advantage of the savings today! Your child will love you for it!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stuff Happens ... Even To Me!

Yep ... it happens to the everybody at one time or another.

Lately, I've been bogged down with deadlines, another studio biting the dust, doctor visits -- even a wardrobe malfunction (actually, my pitbull-wannabe -- the daring Shih-Tzu pup Yoshi -- pulled out one of my shoestrings, but that "malfunction" line sounded more dramatic ...). Of course, there came Halloween, where a bunch of weird-looking little characters came knocking on the door (three trick-or-treaters and an Amway® salesman. Gave them all candy and sent them on their way ...).

Yep ... stuff does happen. But it's stuff you can certainly handle. As Uncle Lloyd would say, "After all, it is only 'stuff'! Just make sure your stuff -- the stuff that's inside you -- is stronger than that other stuff!"
With that in mind, I've swept up the leftovers and am ready to take the helm here again.

STAY TUNED Recently, I started pulling notes together for a book about LL's life -- highlighting, of course, the period from host of The Lloyd Thaxton Show to his stints with The Today Show, Fight Back! and the book Stuff Happens! Whilst it's still a long way off, just reading the notes, poring through the emails we sent each other, remembering phone calls and reviewing the DVDs made me realise just what a gem we really had during his time here. I mean, here was a man who touched not only every base in the world of media, but every heart that came to know him!
Incidentally, the first two words of the paragraph up there, as you know, was his "sign-off" at the end of his blog posts. And I'm thinking of using it as the main title to the book.
If anyone wants to help with this -- memories, pics, whatever -- just email me, okay? We can make this a joint effort -- a tribute from his fans and friends!

HE LET THE FINGERS DO THE TALKING  I rarely get to watch the tube like I used to (kiddies, "the tube" is an ancient description of an old contraption called "television".  It's a square looking piece of furniture with a glass front -- sort of like it was styled after your laptops monitor!  Ask your grandparents to demonstrate ...). 
But there was a lady on a local channel who said that, whenever she felt upset or down, she'd draw little "finger people" on her digits and then make them "perform" a comic rendition of a song she'd hear on the radio.  She said it's "guaranteed to break apart those blues you're feeling."
She said she'd gotten the idea as a child ... from ... a TV show her sister watched everyday after school!  There was a guy on there who would do the same thing! 
Er, ummm ... anybody we know, ma'am??
Ahhh, the finger people make the big time!

But WAIT!!  There's MORE!!! ...

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY to Wally World about a week ago (actually, I was already in the store, but that subheading sounded good ...):

An older gent was looking at one of the "new" Tiger Beat™ mags (no, they're not the same. All glossies, glitz and glamour ... no solid stories or stars, IMHO) when I mentioned the Man who Made the Mag to start with.

The fellow looked at me and smiled a less-than-toothy grin. "Why, I remember him! Whatever happened to them little puppets he bounced around there? Looked like he had 'em on his fingers or somethin'. Did anybody keep 'em?"
Only in our hearts and memories, brother (yes, with a smile on my face and a bit of pride in my heart, I did explain!) ...

REMEMBER THE POOL!

It's already mid-Fall, and winter's right around the corner -- and, as we all know, time to secure everything that we normally use outside so they'll be safe during the upcoming cold-as-all-get-out season.
But, for you who have them, please remember to make your pools safe as well!  They can attract everything from the loads of leaves that are currently falling to little kids who can fall into them without your knowledge.
So sturdy, reliable swimming pool fences are absolutely mandatory for safety purposes -- actually, they're vital all year 'round, but definitely for this time of year because most pools aren't watched as closely as in the summer.
Now, you might think it'll cost a mint to have your pool secured. But it doesn't have to be: You can have the very best pool protection, and at prices you can afford!
But these folks do more than just show you their product: They "go the extra mile" and provide you with informative articles and rules (even a blog!) on pool safety, different types of covering (including automatic covers) and more.
So why not let the people who've already installed over 65,000 of these nationwide make your pool safe and secure? You'll definitely appreciate it -- not only during this season, but throughout the year!
Click that link now!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rasslin' With A Devil ...

Now, I'm not going to lie to you ... I've got no room for ol' Beelzebubba in my life ...
BUT ...

that doesn't mean I haven't tangled with him from time to time.

Y'see, we had a church just a few houses down from ours on Morrow Avenue. And, back in 1962, that joint was hoppin' with "hallelujahs" and amass with "amens" -- and you could hear the service almost all the way to our house.

Well, one Sunday night, they had a big baptismal service (some churches like to use creeks or swimmin' holes; all we had was Sugar Creek, down in Jimmy Miller's pasture. That was off-limits though 'cause, whilst it's a good thing to be baptised, I don't think becoming "glow-in-the-dark radioactive" is part of the deal ...)
Now, we'd just come in from our own church's service and, at about 9 PM or so, mama gave me a big, black garbage bag and told me to go put it in the can at the end of our property. I wasn't happy abou(tell the truth, CH)I was scared to death about goin' out after dark -- especially that far from the house (a habit I didn't break until I was 31, I think ...).

But, in the silent darkness of that side of Morrow ...
I ...
slowly ..
crept ...
out ...
and walkedasfastasIcould to the trash can.
Everything was eerily quiet ... and a little bit foggy ...

SUDDENLY ... from down the street I heard this guy, screamin' all kinds of gibberish, running like a madman and flailing his arms ... and he was coming my way! Then, frozen in my tracks and hoping it was just gas I was passing, I saw him: sopping wet from head-to-toe and wearing ... a sheet or something!

I made it back to the house and under the living room chair in seconds! (Where the bag went is anybody's guess ...)

A FEW WEEKS LATER, after being told at school that the guy had just been baptised "in the Spirit" as well as "in Pineville water", I was asked by my part-time friend, Bobby (who'd only beat me up at recess when his friends were watching. Otherwise, he was cool ...), to go to church with him.

Uh-huh ... that church!

He came by the house at about seven or so that Sunday night, but we got there late anyway. I didn't know until later that they'd just had a play of some sort, with one guy playing an angel and another one dressed as the Devil.
After the "fire-and-brimstone" preaching (and I've gotta admit: Preacher King could put the fear of the Almighty in you with that booming voice of his ...), there was the obligatory "altar call".
Bob whispered "Let's go on up front and kneel at the altar." I asked him why, and he told me that, unless somebody went up there, the preacher wouldn't close the service.

So I went ... and kneeled ... and, like Bobby, bowed my head like I was prayin'.
SUDDENLY (yep ... here we go again ...), the organist stopped and, from the side door came ... The DEVIL! Or at least the guy who played him, still in costume with horns and tail and lookin' a little like an evil "Elmo" doll (I've gotta tie this into today's culture to relate, right??).
Now, remember: I didn't know about the play that went on earlier -- and, hearing the commotion, I opened my eyes just a little and peeked to my left.

Remember that chair I'd crawled under after that baptised guy scared me?
Yep. And I think I broke my old record in gettin' there ...And I haven't seen Bobby since ...

CLEANING HOUSE

I've got to admit that I'm a stickler for a clean house. But, sometimes, you need help in cleaning things like carpet and upholstery in order for it to be done right.
Now, if you live in the Raleigh area of North Carolina (my home), you can get the very best service by visiting some fantastic carpet cleaners chapel hill nc has to offer. They're not only thorough but affordable!
By clicking on the link I just gave you, you'll not only find more about their services, but they'll even give you their specials, introduce you to some of their clients -- and even share some great cleaning tips as well!
So why not give them a call, and give your carpet and upholstery the first-class treatment it deserves? You'll love the results ... and their prices!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Site For Sore Eyes ...

Beginning with this post -- and upon the closing of my other (non-rock) site -- we're gonna rev this site up a bit.
I'll be reposting the best of that site over here as well as continuing our regular chats. So, in essence, you'll have two! TWO! TWO BLOGS IN ONE!!
We're starting it today, so ... enjoy:


I remember, years and years and ... okay, I was told ... that, once, I was a child -- a member of an elite Pinevillean force known as Hinsons. Feared by no one, we trampled the grounds of Morrow Avenue and played amongst the wild creatures that roamed the wilderness ...

Wait ... I'm getting ahead of myself here ...

Welcome to the new addition to the Mouse House. These ran in the Coffee Talk column I had in our local paper years ago -- but this is better because my dogs can't pee on it. Unless one of them get up here on the desk and takes good aim ...

Anyway ... where was I? OH, yeah:

I was of the feeding group known as "kids". The scrawniest and biggest-snouted of them, I was often corralled for feeding, teaching and disciplining. Very embarrassing when you're 16, but I dealt with it.

THEN, ONE TRAGIC DAY, I found myself pursued by a wild, bloodthirsty hunter (actually, 7-Up® would've been better to drink) who wouldn't be satisfied until I was brought down!
We married a year later, and brought forth two sons of the same species ...

Interesting thing about kids: They come in four stages:
  • Poopey -- self-explanatory if you've ever changed a diaper
  • Sweaty -- little kids have a knack for sweating when they play. This doesn't stop until they get older and work at McDonald's®. But, as little tykes-on-trikes, it smells kinda sweet (unless they're just phasing out of that first stage).
  • Mopey -- When they grow into middle-school age, they begin to mope around clumsily, like Congressmen or something. Ask 'em what's wrong, and you'll get the same answer: "NUTTIN'!", followed by a pause, a breath, and, most likely, "Well, see, there's this girrrrl, and ..."
  • Master of their Universe - self-explanatory, I think ...
And you've just gotta love the way they think when they're little. I remember my son, Mike's, eyes when he crawled into a Toyota Tercel that I'd just gotten. Whilst I was checking to make sure he and Tim's seat-belts were fastened, he looked around at the car's interior then, with a gleam in his eye, exclaimed, "WOW, Dad! When you die, can I have the car??"
Thankfully, the car went before I did. And I'm not "went" yet. Wait ... let me check ...
Right.
Besides, I've got a Malibu now so I know I'm safe: It doesn't go anywhere ...

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

'Twas Upon This Day ... (A Volk Tale)


Yea, and thus it was, in a tiny village  in the land of California, that being on the Banks of Bur, that a child, being young, was born this day in the year of yore (or, admittedly, anyone's), nineteen-hundred and forty-five.

Actually, I'm talking about the superstar bassist/vocalist/entertainer/producer/band frontman/core member of Paul Revere and The Raiders (their hit-making years of 1964-1967) ... ummm (wait a minnit.  I have his name here somewhere ...) ..

Awww, you know I'm talkin' about the legendary Phil "Fang" Volk -- a man who not only made The Raiders "the greatest show-band in America" (this from none other than Paul Shaffer, bandleader on The Late Show with David Letterhead), but is still thrilling audiences today with foot-stompin' rock that could put most of today's acts to shame!  In fact, his act also includes his lovely and talented wife, Tina Mason, daughters Jessica and Kelly, and one of the hottest bands you'd ever wanna hear.

Yeah, when his parents ("Mimi" and George) came home with Philip Edward Volk that day in October, their neighbours could only remark "So you've got yourself a brand new baby!"  And his brothers (George and Danny) probably thought, "Hey!  He looks Just Like Me!"  Undoubtedly, the youngster was always "Hungry", and his mum realised "the diapers, they need a-changin",

but the Volk clan (including his sisters Irene, Marilou, Christine, and Jeannie) stood by him as he started Steppin' Out of little-guyhood and into the man that we knew and loved as this country's "clown-prince of rock".
After his tenure in The Raiders, "Fang" joined his former bandmates and brothers-in-rock, Drake Levin (guitar) and "Smitty Smith" (drums) to form a band called The Brotherhood. (though Drake and Smitty are no longer with us on this planet, their memories are still so very cherished.  RIP, guys ... you're missed everyday  ...)  Because they were still under obligation to Columbia Records, their new band never hit it as big as PR&R ... but they were awesome, nonetheless ...

Now, when I mentioned that Phil (Fang, Phil-Fang) was (Phang? Naaah ... too oriental ...) the catalyst behind the Raiders' style and popularity, it was because he had presence, talent, humour, spontaniety and looks. He also had a great appreciation for each and every fan (and there were millions!).

Today, he's still got all those traits ... and, when you find that "Fang and the Gang" are playing near you, do whatever it legally takes to get to his show: Drive. Take a bus or train. Take a cab. Walk. Bribe a turtle if necessary (though you'll have to start early ...) but get there!

So, a SUPERHUMONGINORMOGANTIC
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
to PHIL "FANG" VOLK
from every rocker here at The Mouse Clique as well as on our sister site, Rock Revolution.

Monday, October 24, 2011

THE GIFT of TODAY

Whilst I'm building new script for the blog and taking care of other business, let me share this post that recently ran on my COFFEE TALK blog. I'll be back with new material on Wednesday:

Whilst I normally cart a load of funny stuff and dump it here in this blog, this time I thought I'd share something a little different.
You see, I met a friend of mine at the supermarket and, quite frankly, he looked a bit seriously depressed. He said there wasn't anything to look forward to in his life anymore; he was behind in his bills, lost his job and his wife, and was ... well, he was down on everything.

Maaaan, who are you kidding?? Yeah, I feel for the guy, but ... well, "nothing to look forward to"??

Look ... let's take this in order, shall we??

(1) You woke up this morning. Consider the alternative. You could've died in your sleep last night -- but you didn't! Sooooo, you're (a) seeing the dawn, (b) hearing birds outside your window, (c) maybe catching the aroma of fresh, morning coffee as it's brewing ...

(2) You're free to go outside to get your paper, turn on morning music, check the "Today" show on television, and move around the house/yard/street/stores, etc. There are thousands who are in jails and can't do that -- or hospital rooms, confined to beds right this very minute!

(3) You have hundreds of minutes ahead of you -- and all of them unused and just waiting for you to fill them up with something good. You've got the power to do that, y'know!! Look at your arms for a second: Is anyone "twisting" them to do otherwise?

(4) Now, I know you've got things that are hurtin' you, but -- well, let me ask this: Do you remember anything bad that happened to you in, say, 1975? Okay, how's that affecting you now? Does it still make you wanna cry, or tear someone's lungs out? Or have you gotten over it?
Well, I GUARANTEE that you'll survive these heartaches, too!
And the way to do it? Remember those "unused minutes" I talked about? Fill them with productive action that will provide positive results! And why let something -- someone's actions -- control you? Remember: YOU'VE GOT THE POWER OVER YOURSELF! YOU'VE GOT YOUR HAND ON THE CONTROLS!! It's YOUR plane ... YOU fly it to the heights you want!

And don't forget this little wonder we call the internet! Use it to regain a step or two ... to search for a new job, make new friends, etc. You can even Google® whatever's bugging you and find loads of ways to help you win over the situation(s)!

So, man, don't ever overlook the awesome gift of today that we've been given! This can be the day that the pendulum finally starts swinging in your direction again ...

Okay ... 'nuff said. Share this with someone if ya think it'll help, okay?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Who's WHO???

Over the past few months, I've gotten a number of emails at the RockRoom asking if I was any kin to this yokel (see the pic on the left).
Yep, it's the (infamous, crazy, weird) Unknown Hinson -- a guy who puts the "sic" in "music".

Actually, we're not related at all (his real name is Stuart Daniel Baker).

His gimmick is his looks -- all put on (have you ever known a Hinson to look that weird?don'tanswerthat,please) The dude is quite a performer, though, and does some killer rockabilly.  Plays a lot of small venues ... a little too strong for Top 40 or mainstream, though (geez ... have ya heard him??).

Another question I'm constantly asked is if I'm kin to The Hinsons gospel group. Mebbe -- I'm not exactly religious in the normal term (I have my beliefs and faith; let it go at that), but these folks are talented! And I understand they're great folks around their fans, too!

But the Relic stands on his own. I was (according to some. Well, maybe a handful. Okay ... two, then) a nearly-famous local rocker (that word, "fame", sticks in my craw. That and a buck will getcha any size coffee you want at McDonald's), decent DJ, and now overworked writer. Unless someone comes up with another one of us, that's it!
Only one Pineville-NC-bred Chuck Hinson with those creds ... but the best credential of all is that I carry my father's name. And that, my friends, is worth more to me than all the accolades I could ever have otherwise!

THE "NAME GAME" CAN BE TRICKY:  A few decades ago, when I was still living in Charlotte, my buddy John got me hooked up with a part-time job.  Now, dishwashing wasn't my top choice as a second income but, when you've got more "outgoing" than "incoming", you've gotta beef up the account somewhere.  And there was an older lady who manned the old Hobart™ machine in the shift before mine.
I went to introduce myself to her as I arrived for my first day. The conversation went something like this:

"Hi!  I'm Chuck Hinson.  I'll be washing dishes on the next shift."
"I leave here early!""Well, ma'am, that's fine!  I can start now and you can go ahead and clock out, I guess"
Thinking that she might not have heard me, I introed myself again ... only to get:
"I LEAVE HERE EARLY!!  Cant'cha HEAR ME??"|
"Yes, ma'am.  And it's a real pleasure to know you!  So I guess you can go now!"

She looked at me in disgust, threw her dishtowel down, stomped over to the time clock and punched out.(rather that thing than me ...)
As she left the clock, she looked back at me and yelled, "I LEAVE HERE EARLY!"I yelled back, "AND I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR TIME OFF!"She cut me a look that, had it hit the dish machine, would've cut it in two ... and then turned and stomped off.
Still wanting to know her name, I sneaked over and checked her card. It said ...
"OLIVIA EARLY ..."
The woman just had an accent. And I ended up with Grade A Jumbo (eggs, that is ...) on my face ...

More later. Stay tuned ...

 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dog-Gone!

It's become a daily routine ...
Whenever my little Shih-Tzu, Keiko, sees me heading for my work desk, readying for the day's assignments, she tags along faithfully and takes her place on the floor beside me, ready to defend me against any crumb of strudel that falls from my hands (yes, I carry my breakfast with me).

You know, we've had quite a few songs dedicated or referring to dogs over the years. My favorite one's on the "B" side of The Who's My Generation ... an instrumental called Dogs, Part 2 (PS  Have you ever wondered why so many of these hits never seem to have a Part 1?). Both Keith Moon and John Entwhistle had major runs in that powerhouse of a rocker. Listening to it a few days ago (including Roger's rare fade-out where he called for a dog and laughed), I wondered why there was such an obsession with dogs during 1965!

Beginning with the great Rufus Thomas, you had Do The Dog, Walkin' The Dog and my favorite, Somebody Stole My Dog. At the same time, Perry Como was reviving the pop hit, How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? on his show. One of the most hip-shakingest, midriff-jarring dances in teen America was called The Dog (trust me ... it took me a month before I could walk straight again).
Then, on their debut album in 1966, The Monkees had a comical filler called I'm Gonna Buy Me A Dog (side 2, last track, original More of The Monkees, Colgems Records). This one was also considered a bit sexist, because Micky was singing that he could get a dog to do what his "girl" used to (incidentally, since the boys weren't playing their own instruments on record yet, listen for Dolenz to mimic the drums with his "boopboopshebopbopwhamawham" -- and Mike laughing in the background just after it).

After that song (which, though never released as a single) made it big with local rock bands around America, the "dog" craze kind of died down a bit. But, for just a couple of years or so, dogs actually had a part in the progression of rock-and-roll ... and, for that, we give them a special "bow". "wow"....

iPhone, YouPhone ...

Everybody seems to have the new iPhones these days. These portable powerhouses provide everything "internet" ... and phone ... right at your fingertips!
Of course, for every iPhone, you need a good iphone case -- and the ones you find in some stores just aren't sturdy enough, don't fit your model, or are overpriced.
So what do you do?
For the very best of cases, all you need to do is click the link I just gave you. Not only will you find a great assortment of styles and designs, but you'll find the best prices anywhere!
So click that link now and start pampering your iPhone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

(Inter)netting A Date

As most of you know by now, I spend most of my work hours behind the wheel of a mouse that takes me down this internet freeway. Whether it's articles, blogs or research, there's at least one part of my business that demands the keys be in the ignition at all times ...

Of course, amongst the emails, pop-ups, requests and more, there are the obligatory offers from some webside "lonely-hearts-club", boasting that I can find my "perfect mate" through them (and, this, to a guy who can rarely find the mate to his one black sock!).

A couple of months ago I heard, from a couple of receptionists in clients' offices, that they'd "found someone on the internet", and were eagerly anticipating a future of love, contentment and roses ...
ahhhhh, but a few weeks later these same excited young ladies looked somber and disillusioned. I innocently asked how their new relationships were going, but they mumbled something like "aw-it-didn't-work-out" and then avoided the subject.

You see, they were so enthused about finally meeting that "special someone" that they become susceptible to the alibis and lies that so many are prone to spew in hopes of attracting the opposite gender.  And these lies can range from relatively harmless (face it ... most men are not 'George Clooney lookalikes') to potentially lethal (hidden police records, sex offenders, etc.).
More often, these lies cause the lovestruck to come back home with tears in her eyes, dejected and mad because she's been lied to ...
or (as happened recently in Kentucky), not come back home at all ... at least not alive ...

Now, a person can find a truly honorable and loving person on the other end of their web connection ... and wonderful things can really grow from that. But it's important that you take time to really know that person before setting up that first date -- or making any other future plans. Here are some things to watch for:

When that "wonderful" person arrives online to chat, are there any long lapses between his/her responses? Does he "beat around the bush" rather than answer a question directly? Does he push for an immediate commitment? Begin to talk more about sex and his loneliness? Want to come and see you immediately??
These are just a few of the "red flags" to look for before even thinking about getting closer to someone you meet online. In fact, the biggest "red flag" could be that you did met him or her via an internet dating site! You see, these things are set up with "romance" (c'mon, let's call it like it is: more often, it's with "sexual encounters") in mind.

But there are so many other ways to meet and know someone on this information superhighway: If you're in a specific group or forum, on Facebook® or elsewhere, you're in an already-moderated environment (so he'll have to watch his step!). And the key is take your time to really know the person you're interested in! Listen to your intuition, take it as slow as sorghum molasses, and play it safe, okay?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Duly Noted

In my office, I have a big accordion file that normally catches the loose notes -- slips of paper on which I've scribbled ideas or thoughts during the day. After transferring them to WordPad for later coordination and use, I stick the longhand in there and clean it at least once a month. Sooner if I drop part of a sandwich in it ...

Last night, after donning the aerator mask and Brown Mule™ gloves, I plowed through them, just in case there were some that missed being computerised. And, yes, there were a few:

For example: Here's one that says "DESIGN CHANGE? TMC, ala BCH?" If you noticed my non-rock blog, the template has been changed to give the reader more choices -- make it more interactive.
So why not this one??
Well, it's all in respect to Uncle Lloyd. For years, he kept the style that all of us Blogspotters are given when we sign up. But we recognised it as his style; when you clicked on a blog that had the "standard" template, we thought of it at the Thaxton style.
So, in honour of our friend, mentor and favourite uncle, I decided to keep the body as-is and just toy with the heading to reflect the Mouse House itself.

Then there's this one with just three letters: DVD?
Every week, I get at least three emails asking what the status is on the DVD that LL was working on prior to his passing. Honestly, I don't know; everybody's "mum" on this one. There are some rushes that I've heard about, but no word's come in concerning finished product yet.
But this is one venture that shouldn't be left on a back-burner. If anything, we need that Thaxton humour in our country more than ever! Agreed?

Then there are notes I made from our emails, blurbs from Stuff Happens!, photo tags and even Wikipedia® excerpts, all collated for a manuscript that, eventually, will be a book about Uncle LL. Still in the works, it takes extra time and money (both which are scarce at the moment) -- but you can bet your bottom, Dollar (that should read "bottom dollar". Sorry ...) that this is one project that's gonna be completed by year's end!

There's more to come, but, for now, gotta get a couple of assignments in before deadline. And apologise to my dogs.
I thought they'd eaten that last piece of ham-on-rye sandwich I had three months ago! WOW!!! Amazing what you can find in this file ...

Stay tuned ...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It Was Three Years Ago That ...



Three years ago yesterday, the world of rock-and-roll darkened -- and the legends of the genre, both here on earth and already with the angels, bowed their heads in grief over a very special loss ...

When I heard of Uncle Lloyd's passing, I remember just sitting at my desk and just staring into space; my entire body felt as if someone had just run a couple-thousand volts of electricity through it.
And, then, the tears came ...



Lloyd sent me the above cartoons a short while before he died -- and, if you'll look at Jerry Von Amerongen's title, you'll see an "inside joke" between us; I'd just moved from Ballard Street to my digs on 29th St. here in A-Town.

Of course, there were a load of other things we passed back and forth via both email and the snail version. But, after hearing about his passing, it took forever to enjoy them again (I couldn't even enjoy his book Stuff Happens! though I'd already read it cover-to-cover a few times ...).

Now, Lloyd's back pages are still available for reading at his old blog address (and I urge every M.I.T. grad [ie, you passed your Mouser In Training, which means you're entitled to share our cheese stash here ...] to click on his blog and take in some fond memories as you re-read his posts.
In one of them, he talked about death, and how obituaries are full of people whose life read "(year of birth) - (year of death)". He thought it was sad that people's lives between birth/death dates have been relegated to just a dash. Then he asked something very deep:
WHAT WILL YOUR DASH STAND FOR?

On this anniversary of his death (from multiple myeloma), I can just hear him saying: Chuckie, why oh why are you 'celebrating' my DEATH?? I was BORN, you know ... and I built a pretty good 'dash', if I do say so myself. FORGET that last number -- it will happen to EVERYBODY at some time. It's more important for you to do something with that 'dash' in BETWEEN the numbers!


And so we will, chief ... so we will ...

Stay tuned ...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Loose Notes from The Desk ...

Y'know, ever since the beginnin' (when all was dark, and the rock planet was still in disarray from prior civilililizations), I asked readers to email rather than do those "comments" below (though I do welcome those!), 'cause I'd rather do some one-on-one with my fans and readers or both or either.
So I set up the RelicMail. And, believe me, the RM's been filled most days with threats ... er, nice stuff from readers. In fact, some of the ideas I've had for material have come from you!
But I'm often asked, "Where do you get all your information and stuff for your blogs?" Geez ... givin' away my sources is like KFC® givin' away its recipe for fried chicken! There are some things that are still sacred in this world ...
so shhhh! It's a seeee-cret!! 

But lemme say that the sources I have are the best in the biz (many times, from the acts themselves!). And I can tell ya this: on occasion, knowledgeable superstars like Ron Ryan (Riot Squad), "Moulty" Moulton (Barbarians), Mike Tinsley (Hedgehoppers Anonymous), Frank Allen (Searchers), Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits), Phil Volk (Paul Revere and the Raiders), Spencer Hannabuss/Nathan Persad (The Fore, The 286), Matt Hardy (The Fore, PaperFaces) and others offer their input, and I'm obviously glad to give credit (no checks or cash, though).

But, without a doubt, the one man who had the most impact on this RockLife (hmmm ... sounds like a good name for a webside new Spaper, doesn't it?? Stay tuned ...) was the Chief himself, Lloyd Eugene Thaxton (three "e"s in "Eugene". None in "Lloyd").
In fact, a coupla nights ago, I found most of the emails and communiques we shared during our all-too-brief friendship -- and started reading. When LL spoke or wrote, he did so from his heart, to your heart -- and in a one-on-one, personal way that made you remember every word that he said.
As I read, I thought about my favourite flavour of people on FB -- those of the F.A.N.G. group (fans of the legendary bassist for Paul Revere and the Raiders, Phil "Fang" Volk) -- and how Uncle LL would've loved to be part of them.  He and they (we) would've had a field day talking and reminiscing ...

But, most of all, I realised how much I not only miss the Head Cheese (his words, btw) of the Clique, but how I have been so influenced by him!  I mean, this cat actually made rock-n-roll happen in the mid-Sixties by giving exposure to acts like the Raiders, Sonny and Cher, The Byrds and James Brown (see above pic, where Lloyd is trying to teach Mr. Brown how to add dance to his routine [or do I have that backward?]).

Now, I've gotta figure how to get all these printouts, mags, DVDs and more back into their special, hermetically-sealed-box-that-won't-be-on-Funk-and-Wagnall's-porch, without feeling a whole lotta sadness over our fave Uncle's passing.
But I can hear Lloyd saying: Look, don't be sad about this.  I'm up here on cloud nine (literally), and okay.  But what I want you to do is to rock like you've never rocked before!  Enjoy the party ... and never lose sight of whoever brought you to it, okay?? Don't worry about me ... we'll meet up again someday.


ROCK LIKE YOU'VE NEVER ROCKED BEFORE!  Sounds good to me ...


TICKET TO RIDE 


Every airport and bus terminal in this country seems to be in dire need of quality ticketing agents (if you've taken either mode of transportation, you'll know what I'm talking about).  But there are so many people out there who've been trained in ticketing and can't seem to find a job in their field -- just as with any other job search, it all seems to be "hit-and-miss".
But if you want to hit a potential "home run" and land the job you're trained for, then just step up to the plate and click the link that'll help you find the best Ticketing Agent Jobs around the country!
It only takes a minute, but, once you find the one that suits your needs -- whether in New York or New Mexico (or any place in-between), you'll be on your way to a fulfilling and profitable future as a Ticket Agent!
You'll even find the Top Ten jobs for ticketing agents (and, by the way, they're not all travel-related!) -- jobs that are just waiting for someone like you to fill their vacancy!
So what's keeping you? Click that link today ...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Little Craziness Never Hurts ...

Y'know, in the world of rock-n-roll ... in fact, in the music world itself ... there seems to be a lack of the one thing that can turn people on, get endorphins rushin', and make life a little easier to bear.
It's called humour.
Now, there's no doubt that Paul Revere and The Raiders had it. Their mid-Sixties' hits were all Top-40 material, and their onstage and (and, as we read from Uncle Lloyd's Tiger Beat awhile back) occasional offstage antics made for some of the most flat-out entertaining vignettes in rock-and-roll history .

But there were those who could get their humour onto the radio, and with great results: From the Trashmen's Surfin' Bird (which, incidentally, was about a dance, but became a popular voiceunder for some of the craziest bits on television) to the King of the Road himself, Roger Miller, at one point in time humour was actually an integral part of our listening pleasure.

Miller always seemed to be smiling while singing his signature hits like Dang Me, Chug-A-Lug, England Swings, You Can't Roller Skate (in a Buffalo Herd) -- and hit us broadside with serious, thoughtful hits like One Dyin' and A Buryin' and Husbands and Wives.
The man was one of the most likeable guys off-camera, and he's sorely missed.

Another performer not only set the stage for some megafunny hits but also developed sort of a "prototype" for rap!
Ray Stevens, of Ahab the Arab fame, could belt out some hilarious stuff (including Gidget the Midget, Along Came Jones and The Streak) as well as some amazing story songs like Have A Little Talk With Myself (which was covered by Sammy Davis. Jr.) and, of course, Everything Is Beautiful. But when it came to rhyme, meter and phrasing -- all in spoken-word verses -- nothing could beat 1969's Gitarzan. If you listen to rap and hip-hop today, you'll hear exactly the same meter, the same timing ... but Ray did it years before!

Of course, today's laughlord is "Weird" Al Yankovic, whose parodies of the hits-of-the-day have gone platinum! But there's one other, who's a fave amongst kids of 2011 and is, as of this post, enjoying a reunion of the band and a solid new LP.  Primus (with legendary bassist Les Claypool) are known for their offbeat tracks -- like the one from the Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure soundtrack called Tommy the Cat.  With a dynamic heavy-rock beat, the song sounds like it's ripped out of a Garfield® comic ... when you visualize the graphics, it's totally cool!  And, on another album, they rip through some serious rock for two tracks and then -- without any advance notice to fans -- break out into a very hillbilly song, Puddin' Tane!  Zany but so cool ...

Anyway ... in this day and age, we really need a few laughs ... even in our music! And I predict that it won't be long before someone else steps up to the plate and hits a homerun with a #1 smiler ...
so stay tuned ...