Monday, August 27, 2012

The Day The Hinsons Met Ashland

If you've read my other blog, you both know I reside in Ashland, Kentucky (its name, I've been told, was translated from the Huyakidden tribe as "between-rock-and-hard-place").

My sons and I moved here in 1994. We arrived at the local Burger King®
shortly after 8 AM on April 22 -- and, after they finished the last 500 repetitions of the traveling child's sacred mantra, "Are We There Yet?", I took them in for breakfast and coffee (for me. Tons of it ...).    
Then we piled back in the car and headed up 13th Street, looking for a motel.

Suddenly ...

DAAAAAD!! LOOOOK OUUUUTTTTT!! I looked ahead of me and saw all these people coming to greet us. How nice. They were all in a two-lane formation -- why, they were even honking their horns at us in appreciation ...
or ...
I was heading the wrong way on a one-way street!

TURRRRN!! TURRRRRN!!!!! So I did. I looked back at him and asked Whaddya want?? He reminded me with a thrown shoe ...
We turned left on Carter Avenue.


So I turned the car with a jerk (or maybe it was the jerk turning the car. I dunno ...) -- into a huge, adjacent parking lot. And, subsequently (as was my luck), hit a humonginormous pothole. Not that it was deep, mind you, but I coulda sworn I could hear the faint strains of the Chinese National Anthem beneath us ...

When we climbed out and dusted ourselves off (it was safe. Most of the irate drivers had gone home and were eating supper by then ...) I asked the boys where they wanted to go. Mike, the youngest, reminded me that we needed to find some place that sold toilet paper (no, I don't know why ...).
Tim had another idea. They'd stay. I could go to ... ummmm ...

Suuuuure. With my luck, they have one-way-streets down there, too ...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hey ... What's the Big "Secret"??

Hmph ... the only secret my ex ever had in her closet was a guy from the bowling alley (hey ... I'm not kiddin'! 'Twas October, '79!) ...

But, concerning that logo on the left ... I just don't get it! I mean, if everybody knows what they sell and do, then ... why is it still called a "Secret"??

Come to think of it, who's "Victoria", and why is it her secret?  And why would she care what her secret is, if we're supposed to be tight-lipped about secrets to begin with??

And why am I sounding like Jerry Seinfeld all of a sudden?  Geez ...

We've got one down here at our Town Center mall, and, honestly, there's no imagination needed when you pass by it (I look the other way as I get close. No, really ... I don't look at it! Thats why that gum machine was broken for awhile [took forever to run after all those little balls that scattered around the mall floor after I ran into it]). No imagination at all ...

But there's something else I don't understand:

Why is it that, when they have a brand called "PINK", do they sometimes have the name printed, in black letters, over a green background on some of their stuff?? Now, what sort of message is that sending our youngsters, who are just learning their colours?

Wait ... I'm not done:

Please ...will somebody tell me why those "Pink" words are printed over the rear-end of girls' britches?? I was in McDonald's (somebody's got me on a search for the elusive custard pies there on occasion now ...) a few nights ago when a girl (probably in middle school) came in with that word printed ... er, "there". Some teenaged boy read it aloud -- and her mama just about ripped his lungs out (at least verbally)!
"YOU SHOULDN'T'VE BEEN LOOKIN' AT HER! SHE'S JUST A BABY!!!" she hollered as her eyes spit out sparks ...

Look ... mom ... in fact, any female: If ya don't want guys to ogle your ... er, you know ... then don't put words "back there" to tempt 'em, okay??

I'm still wondering about that company name, though.  But who knows? Someday, maybe I'll find out who this "Victoria" person is.  One thing's for sure, though:  
she is, she's certainly lousy at keeping Secrets ...

Stay tuned ...

Monday, August 20, 2012

A New Use for Cellphones??

This was so good that I just had to tell you cheese-nibblers about it:

A new 007-esque cellphone hack could bring cheap, on-the-spot disease detection to even the most remote villages on earth.

Using only an LED, plastic light filter and some wires, scientists at UCLA have modified a simple cellphone into a portable blood tester capable of detecting HIV, malaria and other illnesses!

As it stands, blood tests require either humongous machines that cost nearly a million bucks or technicians who identify and count cells manually under a microscope. Of course, these are slow, expensive processes -- but, soon, they could be things of the past.

UCLA researcher Dr. Aydogan Ozcan images thousands of blood cells instantly by placing them on an off-the-shelf camera sensor and lighting them with a filtered-light source (coherent light, for you science buffs).

The filtered light exposes distinctive qualities of the cells, which are then interpreted by Ozcan's custom software. By analyzing the cell types present in a much larger sample, a more accurate diagnosis can be made in a matter of minutes. No more sending blood away to a lab and waiting days or weeks for the results.

Can you imagine the good that'll do -- especially in time (as well as lives) saved? It's amazing what man can come up with ...

Stay tuned ...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Whatever Happened To ...??

Most of you mousers recognize this post as one that first appeared about two years ago. But, because so many TV shows of 2012 are keen on running biographies, I thought it's appropp ... aproppria ... fitting to run it again. Enjoy:

Let's face it, Mousers: some bands make it, some don't ...

and, while Uncle Lloyd gave plenty of exposure to some of the day's top bands, it was no guarantee they'd make as big a splash as The Beatles, beards and boppers of that "British Invasion." In fact (and although they never made it to the guestlist of Thaxton's show), there's only one member of that band up there (known as Chameleon Church) who actually broke through the ranks and hit the proverbial jackpot! And it wasn't as a musician ...

It was the drummer -- a fellow named Chevy Chase.

The point is (as the point was, as the point will be. Wait -- what was the point again?? Oh ... I remember now ...) that our generation influenced everything from great comedy (Chase) to great politics (okay, it's a stretch, but let's go with it for now ...) like former Rep. John Hall [guitarist, Orleans . Remember [You're] Still the One?) and the late Congressman Sonny Bono, to movie dudes like Billy Bob Thornton and Tommy Chong (of Cheech and ...). They all cut their public teeth on the music!! Remember when I mentioned how baby-boomers seem to be "snubbed" these days (readallabouddit here)?
Well, courtesy that guitar-slinging, longhair generation, seems Sixties music is still making a noticeable impact on society! Whether it's in the music or in the Capitol rotunda, you just can't get away from it! 

Here are some shots of bands that didn't quite make the national cut back in the day ... but ... there's ... someone ... we ... know ... in these groups:

First, there's Tico and The Triumphs. Together, these kids had a great act -- but Tico, himself, had a very unique style about him (he's the dude at the top).

Why, you could almost call it ... the sounds of silence! (awwe, do I haveta spell out his real name for ya?? It's Paul Simon!!)

Then there was the country-rock of a little band called CARP -- whose off-stage antics admittedly didn't thrill a lot of fans.

But their drummer (left rear in pic. I mean, he's on the left, in the back row. When finished, his rear left with him ...) did okay for himself. A top actor at one time, he would've gotten Buddy Holly's respect a few years ago. Today, though, Gary Busey's off-stage antics don't thrill a lot of fans, unfortunately ...

Though both Bobby Taylor and his Vancouvers enjoyed limited success, can you imagine what coulda happened to the band if they'd gotten a gig on Uncle Lloyd's show?
Especially that ... that guitarist on the left (in the pic). I ... I can't ... quite make out the features, man! It's like my vision's kinda covered with a purple haze or something ...

Was that too subtle?? (Okay ... it's Jimi Hendrix!)

Now it's your turn:  What was the name of this little-known band from Texas (taken in the early Seventies)?

Granted, they weren't sharp-dressed men back then, and only one had the beginnings of a beard, but they made it to the Top of the country-rock charts a decade later!
(Hint: They named themselves after ... a brand of cigarette rolling paper!)

Stay tuned ....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Thaxtonian Effect (Pt. II)

In January, 2003, a neat little book hit the market. From a distance (without glasses), looked like just another self-help novel, wrapped in a cheery red-on-white cover.

Then, as you got closer, you saw the authors' names at the bottom -- and just knew that this wasn't going to be just any book. It had ... Lloyd Thaxton as a co-writer!
I'd already gotten a copy of Stuff Happens (full name: "Stuff Happens (and then you fix it!") 9 Reality Rules to Steer Your Life Back in the Right Direction" See, they still had some blank space on the cover ...) and within a few months it was already worn out. Not only did I read it from cover to cover but took notes, shared it with friends, then got on the interweb and told others about it!
Anyway, it was so worn-out that Uncle Lloyd sent me a brand new, autographed copy -- and now its pages are getting dog-eared (nothing against dogs, by the way. If they're reading this, they'll understand ...).
It's a mix of some great inspiration and ideas and that inimitable Thaxton style of writing (he always wrote like he talked-- in such a casual, upbeat, positive style, as if the reader/listener were his closest friend). My favorite sections? To Change Your Life (Change Your Mind) and Choose: The Power to Choose Comes From Within immediately come to mind ...
Now, if I were to count the number of people he and John (Alston, co-writer) helped through this book, we'd be here for the next year or two, at least. I toldja the man really knew how to make a positive impact.

Lloyd Thaxton, the blogger, was no different from LT the teen host, producer or writer. He was personable, alive with ideas, witty, and completely, 100% authentic (a quality rarely seen in personal pages these days).
Now, if you have a blog or site, you'll know there's a page editor called a WYSIWYG, meaning What You See Is What You Get. In other words, "the real deal".
That was Lloyd. What we "saw" on our monitor screen was the actual, bonafide man himself. No additives, no artificial color or flavor. And each of his posts were actually riveting. Not only was the man an excellent word-weaver, but each entry was so interesting that we couldn't wait to see what he'd write next!
He was a true friend to all his readers (again, the impact!), and told me once that, if one had a problem, loss or worry, he felt it. He'd even make a point to personally email some of them, as well. Talk about an authentic heart ... Uncle Lloyd had it ...

Soon, the Chief decided to make even more of his growing blog ("growing". As in "leaps and (no)bound(arie)s") by introducing a unique and fun webside kaffeklatsche we eventually called The Mouse Clique (in honor, I worked up that little logo you saw at the top of this segment).
Here's what Lloyd said in an email from April 2, 2006:

"I want to keep the dialogue going. Though there are already
4,567,532,936,001 bloggers on the web. I've decided to make it
4,567,532,936,002 by starting up my own exclusive group. Based on 'The
Frank Sinatra-Dean Martin-Sammy Davis Jr, RAT PACK' of the 60s, I've
named my little ensemble 'The Lloyd Thaxton MOUSE PACK'"

A little later, he figured, out of respect for Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter and Joey, he'd rename our little confab "The Mouse Clique" instead. Besides, what do you do but click a mouse, right? (provided it's the computer type. Otherwise, it can get messy ...)
And many came, from near and far, to hear the words of the wise one. Then they'd stop by the Clique and enjoy themselves ...
Today, it's an honor to continue the Mouse Clique in Uncle Lloyd's memory. As Cliquers begin to return to the fold (and tell others about the blog! From social groups and email addresses to MySpace to Twitter and Facebook, send out the invites, mousers!), we can keep Lloyd's words, thoughts and persona alive for many clicks (not "-ques". That's ours!) to come!
A special thanks to Aunt Barbara Thaxton (Uncle LL's fabulously-talented wife) and my main man Gary Belich for their continued help and inspiration in getting TMC online -- as well as all of you who've donned the ears of honorary mousedom to learn more about the Man With Two LL's.
Lloyd Thaxton was more than a friend, more than a writer, more than a producer or TV host.
Thaxton ... was a man who had more positive IMPACT than we ever imagined! And the world's all the better for it ...


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Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Thaxtonian Effect (pt I)

Awwww ... who wouldn't just love to have that little, streetwise kid come stay with you?
Of course, it was just Uncle Lloyd, dressed to the nines (okay ... to the threes, then) and on calloused knees, cutting up as always.
And it was that type of zaniness, combined with the most awesome emceeing in teen showdom, that won everybody -- from studio to TV and radio audiences -- over.

Recently, I did a little snoopin' ... er, researching around and found something that doesn't really surprise any of us long-time fans and friends (but it might to some of the newbies who read this): Lloyd Thaxton has had one heck of an impact on our society -- then and now!!

Okay, the Show was one -- and, if you wanna know how impactive, let me share a comment received by Mouskiteer David awhile back:
"I found Lloyd again just a little more than a year before he left us...There was so much more i wanted to know...I was just a little kid 6-8 years old when i watched his show...Seeing the fun he had changed me...I wanted to be like him...And years later...When i was in high school...Lloyd Thaxton was still on my mind...Pictures in my high school yearbook of a skit done in the high school gym testify to the influence of someone i should have been much too young to really remember...I wanted to be fearlessly fun...Not afraid to let it all hang out...And the essence of Lloyd Thaxton brought that out in me...

For a long time i wondered where he had gone...Then the internet gave me a chance to briefly interact with the man who made me wanna be a DJ...I'll never forget him."

The bold type was mine, mousers -- but the words and soul of that note was strictly David's.

Here's an article from Met News. It just brings it home a little more (click the link) ...

That "fearless fun" took TV to new limits with the 200 segments he produced for the Today Show from 1985 to 2008 (check out his IMDb profile for more on his accomplishments) and Fight Back! with David Horowitz, a consumer-oriented show that included legendary wrestler Prof. Toru Tanaka testing Timex watches!

So many of us made our shopping choices and learned a lot thanks to LL's superb productions -- and we're still applying them today! It made us a bit more consumer-conscious ..

But Lloyd wasn't done yet:

He turned millions of kids on to reading the teen magazines, rather than just watching the tube! His Tiger Beat!&#0174 magazine kept everyone up-to-date on the teen idols of the day, and was chock-full of interviews, insider stuff and, of course, those dreamy pics!
I believe the first part of that pic was the Chief's second issue. The other half of the photo is of Tiger Beat! today. Between us, mousers, it's not even close to Lloyd's quality writeup! Mostly, you've just got glossy pages full of photos and a few words scattered throughout. Definitely not the original's style ...

Now, I haven't begun to touch on one book that Lloyd, along with his friend and colleague John Alston, put together. I'll get to that in the next post (strangely enough, called "Pt. 2"!). But it was/is that book that changed/is changing thought patterns and improving lives around the world!

THE TONIGHT SHOW ... starring:

It's gettin' to be a little obvious that Jay Leno and crew is pulling his show up in the late-night ratings. With recent gaffes by rival David Letterman and great support by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it's not surprising that The Tonight Show™ is starting to find itself on top of the ratings pile these days.
Of course, for many of us mousers, the show will always be synonymous with the late Johnny Carson. After all, they went together like "Maxwell" and "House" (two sugars, one cream, please ...)

But, if you remember, Johnny had his share of guest hosts over the years (in fact, Leno was one of them). But there was one dude who, as Terry (Marlon Brando) said in "On The Waterfront", "coulda been a con-TEN-duh!".

That, Mouskiteers, was our Uncle Lloyd, circa 1965. Here's the telegram his manager, Alan Bernard, received:

By the way, David Tebet was the producer who recruited Johnny to take Jack Paar's place on the show. He became VP of Carson's production company.

Anyhoo, for reasons known only to Murphy (who wrote a pretty good law), somehow the word didn't get to Lloyd, soooooo ...
two weeks later, Alan got this little ditty, thanks to the Western Onion:

Now, I don't know what happened; he didn't know what happened. But it happened. And, as you know, Stuff Happens and not always buy the book (didja catch the subliminal pitch there? "Buy the book"? It's ... okay, I'll continue ...)

But can you imagine what the show would've been like, had Uncle Lloyd assumed the throne for just one night? With his zaniness, plus his bonafide interest in anyone he interviewed, it woulda been a hit -- and Johnny could've found a new permanent guest-host! And, eventually, we could've been seeing The Tonight Show with Lloyd Thaxton instead of Jay Leno!

His own show was a tremendous hit, as was Uncle Lloyd's mag, Tiger Beat! (I'm lookin' at a 1966 copy he sent me as I write this). More about that in a future post.
Gettin' back to his show: I received an email from a lady in my old tromping ground of Charlotte, N. C. who said her son, Tony, always hung out with his buddies after school -- until The Lloyd Thaxton Show made its debut. Then she couldn't get rid of him between five and six in the evening.
No problem, Mrs. R. Some moms still prefer their Tony home permanent ...


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