Friday, November 7, 2014


EDITOR'S NOTE: I've been away for awhile - starting new ventures, recording podcasts, looking for my sanity - but, starting with the repeat performance you'll (hopefully) read in a moment, the blog is returning to full-speed (or as fast as the hamster inside this Windows 87 can run), and will have fresh, new and unadulterated material (who said I have to be "adult" about this??), with wacky stories, insights and pleas for money.
Seriously, though: I'm running this archive post because, with SantaSeason coming up, it's important to be aware that ID thieves (non-governmental) are looking over our shoulders:

It all ties in ...

Awhile back, whilst trying to use my little, nearly-dog-eared Visa®, I found out that it was nearly maxxed out -- and not by yours truly!! Not entirely pleased with the matter, I went down, tore off the entered the doors of the bank with my little, nearly-Visa-eared dog® and found that somebody apparently used my identity to buy half of Podunk (of course, Podunk doesn't cost very much ...).

After crunching the figures about as much as my nerves were at the time, the banking father gave me the facts, figures -- and I believe, as irate as I was, even the bird -- and I proceeded to sign the zillion papers necessary to get investigations going and maybe a little remuneration.

At least I think I signed my name; remember, someone had stolen my identity, so I'm not really sure...

Now, though it happened "awhile back" (or did I mention that?), the incident did cause me to think for once:

These snakes who slither between the cracks in our web security and steal our names and numbers are called "identity thieves".  They lift our bank account numbers to drain us (heck ... what do they want with my 45 cents anyway??), or our credit-card info (I guess to raid one of those shopping networks?) or whatever.

But what they don't do is actually steal our identities!!  Those things are locked inside our brains (again, what do they want with my 45 cents' worth of intelligence, anyway??) and personalities. It's in how we handle our jobs, our families and ourselves when we're out-and-about.  It's in the way we worship.  It's in the way we react to movies, television or books we read.  Bottom line? It's in the way we present ourselves to others ... and ourselves!

And that, my friend, is sealed tighter than the answers hermetically sealed in an airtight jar on Funk & Wagnall's porch ...

You see, we can open new accounts, get new credit-cards or whatever.  But our identities -- our own, individual personalities -- are one-of-a-kind, permanently ingrained in us.

And nobody can take those away!

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, October 12, 2014


WONDERING WHERE I WAS?? Well, to be honest, I've been working on some new podcasts that, I hope, you'll tune in often.

The first one is called Smashed Circuits and, in the debut episode, I mix the craziest music with a little spoken-word comedy. According to the first blurb, it's 

"thirty minutes of madness mixed with melodically-manic music with songs like:






and others.  It's also loaded with some of the wackiest commercials on radio!

Just click the pic below and visit the widget:

SOMETIMES, THERE'S A MOTIVE and that's why I've started a brand-new series of 15-minute podcasts over on SoundCloud!   These 15 (+/-) minute shows will hopefully bring a bit of sunshine and hope to listeners. First of 10 shows (2/wk x 5 wks). (Note: Due to the recent troubles with the 'puter [ran out of kerosene, hamster ran out of its wheel], a little of it's patchwork But I DO have new equipment now, so the next one [in 3 days!] will be much better.).

Just click the pic below ... and be sure to catch the show every Wednesday and Sunday mornings at 8:30 AM EST:

So that's what I've been up to - and now it's high time to get back to the program at hand: resuming the crazy news, views and other stuff that these blogs have become known for.  Those will begin on Tuesday, so come on back and check out the new material we'll have on here, okay?

Until then, keep your eyes on the skies, your feet on the ground, your heart true to yourself - and I'll see ya on the flip side!!
WONDERING WHERE I WAS?? Well, to be honest, I've been working on some new podcasts that, I hope, you'll tune in often.

The first one is called Smashed Circuits and, in the debut episode, I mix the craziest music with a little spoken-word comedy. According to the first blurb, it's 

"thirty minutes of madness mixed with melodically-manic music with songs like:






and others.  It's also loaded with some of the wackiest commercials on radio!

Just click the pic below and visit the widget:

SOMETIMES, THERE'S A MOTIVE and that's why I've started a brand-new series of 15-minute podcasts over on SoundCloud!   These 15 (+/-) minute shows will hopefully bring a bit of sunshine and hope to listeners. First of 10 shows (2/wk x 5 wks). (Note: Due to the recent troubles with the 'puter [ran out of kerosene, hamster ran out of its wheel], a little of it's patchwork But I DO have new equipment now, so the next one [in 3 days!] will be much better.).

Just click the pic below ... and be sure to catch the show every Wednesday and Sunday mornings at 8:30 AM EST:

So that's what I've been up to - and now it's high time to get back to the program at hand: resuming the crazy news, views and other stuff that these blogs have become known for.  Those will begin on Tuesday, so come on back and check out the new material we'll have on here, okay?

Until then, keep your eyes on the skies, your feet on the ground, your heart true to yourself - and I'll see ya on the flip side!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Tired of Being Force-Fed Serious 'Stuff'?

It seems that, every time we turn on the TV these days, we're faced with bad news, crime-dramas that puts our nerves on end, or dry comedies that often aren't suitable unless you like constant and often blatant references to sexual organs.

Over the past month, I've been working on an ebook that's a mix of offbeat humor and poignancy.  While so much of it is a "hilariously offbeat read", as one reviewer put it, it's better than a "reality" TV show because everything - everything - in this book is based on a true story!

I hope you'll take a moment and click on one of those "buy" buttons at the bottom (it comes in e-readable .PDF as well as .EPUB  formats),  It's a fun read, with some interesting twists! And get this:  unlike most on the market now, this book costs less than a couple of McDonald's coffees!

That being said, here's a promotion for it:

The world was once orderly, quiet and oh, so proper. Then God created Sam Hill to turn it upside down. This is his story. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll pause this book to get some lunch, then come back and laugh some more. With guest stars and no commercial breaks, it's based on true events (meaning, this madness actually happened!). So stay tuned ... (and, until Sept. 21st, it's just $3.00! Order below ...) 


"A rare find. It's funny as hell and touching at the same time!" - J. Jinks, comedian.

"A 'must-read'. Sort of 'Marx Brothers' meet 'The Waltons'." B. Thomas, DJ/podcaster..

.PDF format: Buy now!

.EPUB formatBuy now!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


This is a very special (but short) post. I want to share a video with you - one that was sent by my sweet cousin Fran Hinson - that will make you chuckle, maybe even shed a tear - but, above all, it'll make you think! 
 It's performed by actual members of the Chattanooga (Tenn., USA) Fire Department as a unique training video - but it's so much more!

So without further ado, troops - here's the CFD with Stayin' Alive!

(by the way, stay tuned for the ending of this amazing vid for some great advice):

Thursday, August 21, 2014

IF I Were Elected ...

With all the madness about who's-running-against-who in the 2016 election, I thought I'd go ahead and throw my own hat in the ring (I ain't wearin' it anyway, so it's either that or give it to Goodwill ...)

Hey ... remember back-in-olden-times, when the movers and groovers were talkin' about gettin' one of our own to be Prez someday? (Yeah, I know ... we might've just missed the boat with George W., but did we win out with Obama or what?[wait ... don't answer that; I just know I'll get more 'whats" than I bargained for ...])

Well, back then, the buzz was for The Doors' Jim Morrison or (especially) Frank Zappa to take the plunge! 'Course, they couldn't do it 'cause the law says ya gotta be over 35 (and we didn't trust anyone but record execs over that age, right?).

Well, every four years or so, I get an email (Man, I've just gotta start writing more. Then I'll get more email than that!!) asking what Chuck Francis would do if he were President.

Geez ... let ... me .... think (reflective music as screen gets blurry):

Well, first, the National Anthem would be rendered ala Jimi Hendrix. Nobody could paint a musical picture better than his "Woodstock" version of the tune ...

We'd close up the chapter on every war zone and bring our military home -- sending a Tuppperware lady, a Chippendale dancer, Rush Limbaugh and Richard Simmons over to totally confuse the enemy until all troops are withdrawn. In smaller skirmishes, maybe send in Honey Boo-Boo's family ...

I'd make "idnit" and "dudnit" legal words (examples of usage: "That ol' car's 'bout wore out, idnit?" "Looks silly with that bald guy drivin' it, dudnit?"). Hey -- I'm in Kentucky. I'm entitled ...

I'd pardon older-model cars - but not the drivers themselves. Unless they're balding Kentuckolina writers and have classic rock pumpin' from the speakers ...

People would be promoted heavily. Life would be revived. Time would be extended. All other magazines would have to stand on their own ...

I would commission scientists to study the Rolling Stones to determine the cause of their longevity. By doing so, we may be able to extend life by 120 years ...

(I'd find a use for this space, since I lost part of my script ...)

There'd be a national ban on "Facebook needs to close" messages
The national food would be peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Toasted. With bananas.

I'd ban Maalox®, because, for some reason, there is no FemalOx. Indigestion shouldn't be sexist ....

And I'd ask cuzzin Gary Belich to be my VP ... after all, he's got the cooler record collection ...

Hey, look ... if we can see guys calling themselves None Of The Above ('tis true! Both L. D. Knox and Eric Mutch legally changed their names ) run for public office, and even a cat run for President in 1988 (Nine Lives® cat food's Morris), then it could be possible for this writer to ...

uh-huh ...

(Suuuuuure, Chuck ... and it's possible there was a Wizard of Oz ... right??)

Stay tuned ...

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Upside of Getting Older Backfires ...

IT ALL STARTED INNOCENTLY ENOUGH. I mean, all I did was walk into our local "Food Fair" to pick up some groceries.

But, as I was waiting in the checkout line, the lone customer behind me (who's also a Facebook "friend" of mine) piped up, "Hey, old man, you forgot your Geritol!"
Yeah, he knew I had a birthday this past week (trust me: Facebook reveals everything about you these days!).  And it's the one that retires the old Beatles song, "When I'm Sixty-Four" for me. No need to sing about the future when it's already here, right?

But, you see, I don't see that as a burden.  First of all, I'm still here!  Be more of a pity if I didn't have that birthday ...

Secondly, you've gotta remember that, when a guy reaches that "advanced age", he can get discounts on things like haircuts (I'm bald), fast-foods (which I stay away from as much as possible anyway) and even beer (I don't drink).  It's kinda like giving away discounted ribeyes when you're a vegetarian ...

Thirdly, you can have some fun out in public and nobody will stop you (they usually just shake their heads and credit it to senility).

Now, it's no secret that I like to cut up.  And I know that, traditionally, old farts like me can be counted on to break something every once-in-awhile:  It can be (a) bones, (b) warm smiles or (c) wind.   Because "Jim" and I left the store at the same time, I chose ...  (c)!  Then (b), and explained, "Ah - ah'm shaw-ree, shun-nee!  Dem thangs slip out too gol-danged much ever since'n ah got ode."  

We enjoyed a good laugh about it and talked "regular" talk for a few minutes before heading to our respective cars (PS  I meant "regular" as "everyday", not in the ... er, way that many of us old-fogey guys do.  To us who are on the slip-and-slide to eternity, "regular" becomes something having to do with the stomach...)

After shuffling back into the house - where the dogs used to jump up on me, barking and happy to see me, now just sit there looking puzzled, as if to say "Well, damn!  He actually made it!" - I thought I'd have a little fun with this "age" thing.
Soooooooo ...
I went into the closet, pulled out a pair of oversized pants that I forgot to return to Wally World for a refund, a plaid shirt that still had its collar button, white socks (a requirement at this age), and a pair of old "birth-control" glasses (so named by young whippersnappers because they're so danged ugly no woman would wanna ... well, nevermind).

After dressing - pullin' dem britches up to mah rib-cage,  makin' shore dat top button wuz hitched up, an' kindly tuckin' in most'a mah shurt - I got back in the car and drove down to Family Dollar (just a few blocks from here) - huggin' the wheel, squinting as I looked out the windshield (no, I meant my eyes), and chugging along at a mindbending ten miles per hour!  
After parking and shuffling into the store, I thought, this was gonna be fun ...

but ...

A woman with her little boy (I guess he was about four or so) came up to the register, and the little guy saw me.  Instead of smiling, he jumped back behind his mom, his eyes wide and frightened!
She looked down at him and asked, "Honey, what's wrong?"  With his eyes still wide as saucers, he pointed at me and loudly whispered,

"Look, mommy!  A DEAD man!!"

I turned and quickly exited at a normal pace, heading back to the car without saying a word.  Okay, given that it was all a little prank, playing up the "old" me to the hilt.  But, brother, if it's gonna scare a child, I'd rather not play dress-up; I'll just stay the way I normally am ... 

Besides, that's scary enough ....

Stay tuned ...

Monday, August 11, 2014

That Long and Winding Road ...

I had just gone in to the local coffeeshop to get a cuppa regular, caffeinated two-sugars-no-cream joyjuice. You always need two of those to kick-start your day (remember my motto concerning coffee, kiddies: "The first cup clears the fuzz, the second one brings the buzz.")

And then it happened ...

I overheard a young, bespectacled woman whose-name-I-did-not-know-nor-want-to talking with a friend about "boomers". She said: "I don't know what they're trying to prove now. I mean, they did all right in their day, but what useful purpose do they have now??"

What purpose?? To quote the legendary Batman (aka Bruce Wayne, aka Adam West), "Poor, deluded child!"

Yes, we did change a few things back-in-the-day. The same kids who watched Uncle Lloyd's show, loved four moptops from Liverpool or still had to make the last bell before class also fought for  civil rights, respect (and voter-age change) for 18-year-olds, women's rights and some little, tiny thing you might've missed - an end to a terrible war!
Oh ... and, according to Tom Brokaw, the popularization of blue jeans, without which 99.44% of American teens would be walkin' around nekkid today.

Many of them created bands that influenced the entire spectrum of rock, while others, whose bands didn't quite make the cut, went on to greater things (such as Gary Busey, upper left in photo, of Carp).

Today, those self-same "kids" are still active -- in fact, possibly more than any other generation -- in helping others. Remember Hurricane Katrina? The wildfires of L.A.? The tornadoes in Oklahoma?  The earthquakes of Haiti and tsunamis of the Philippines?
Guess who were there, lending a hand (more often, before the Washington Suits could de-committee themselves to help)?
Uh-huh. The boomers.
And who's making the most noise about ending the wars that are going on in the Middle East?
Yep ...
Oh, and for Ms. Skinnie Minnie at the coffee shop: Ummmm, since she looked to be about thirtyish, guess which generation her folks belonged to? "Now, Miss Minnie, do your biological parents pay, or have they ever paid, any of your bills?" (Gee .. for a moment there, I felt like Perry Mason!)
Case made, right??

So don't knock the boomers, people!
 One thing that LT said in one of his eloquent emails is that (quote)
"We're all in this thing together, and there's only one way out. So we've got to pull together and make the best of it ...

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, August 10, 2014


I don't think anyone's surprised that, given Jimmy Fallon's zaniness and the show's new, offbeat structure, The Tonight Show is finding itself on top of the ratings pile these days.
Of course, for most 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 ...)
And, if you remember, Johnny had his share of guest hosts over the years (in fact, Jay Leno was one of them).

However, there was one dude who, as Terry (Marlon Brando) said in "On The Waterfront", "coulda been a con-TEN-duh!".And 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!

Of course, before Fallon, Leno, Carson - even before Jack Paar - there was the great Steve Allen (the show just carried the comedian/composer's name back then).  And that leads me up to this next vid, which has been requested by hundreds of FZ fans!

In this case, "FZ" means legendary rocker Frank Zappa - long before he formed the innovative jam-band, Mothers of Invention. The venue was The Steve Allen Show in 1963, and Zappa played one of the most historic yet common instruments known to man: a ... bicycle??

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Let's Get It Straight ...

EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the past week, I've been sprucing up my webside manner a bit - trimming a little here, cutting a little there, modifying this-and-that, to make this excursion along the info superhighway a more maneuverable and enjoyable one. One of the improvements is to get this Mouse House back in order and return it to its original purpose: Sharing the whats/whens/wherefores and lessons from our founder - the Head Cheeser himself, Lloyd Thaxton.
But we'll also be movin' and groovin' to the sounds and acts that put the "good-times" in the "great oldies", and catch up on what some of our greats are doing today, in the '14.
That said: beginning today, TMC reverts to its original scope and texture with an update on this repeat performance:

Man, ever since I bought this little laptop of mine, it's been a race to see which would break down first:  me-at-63-almost-64 (PS to McCartney: I'm borrowing your song now ...) or this thing!

Now, don't get confused here: I've had a laptop for years - it's been on my thighs every time I sit down (but, at 185 pounds soakin' wet, I'm surely not gonna be playin' mall Santa Claus anytime soon). But this was the first computer-style version I've had.

It's at times like this that I really miss LL. I mean, the man was the Master of the Laptop! For all of you who received emails from him, you know he had that thing so hot that it could've baked cookies if he wanted. But more importantly, he made his online ventures count! (uh-huh ... now you see why I've upgraded; imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all that ...) From business communiques to fan email, friendly blogs to blogging friends, Uncle Lloyd navigated his portable keyboard like a pro (he told me once it was more like a "labtop", because he was always discovering neat things on it).

Of course, I've had a lot of fun learning things from this little rascal, like how to keep it from changing screens to the webcam when it wants (although the sight of me on camera does keep the cats off the keyboard!).

Speaking of the webcam:

It does work, providing I'm not looking at it, at least! The pic on your right is one I made of my little Shih-Tzu buddy, Rocky (actually, his proper name is Rocket J. Doggy, but, being from West Virginia, he's informal).

It also has all the doodads and whatnots I've used to compose new material, articles, books (I did find it doesn't work too well on composing my sanity, though), confab with my accounts and brew coffee (I wish, anyway!).  If I can just get the screen to stop hopping from one to another when I whisk my hand over the pad in front, and possibly get surgery to reduce the size of my hands to accommodate this little cramped keyboard, I'll be alright.

Maybe ...

"GET ON UP"DATE:  The super-promoted movie about the late, great Godfather of Soul, James Brown, is a hit! It opened Friday to generally good reviews, especially for its lead, Chadwick Boseman.  The Chicago Sun-Times, New York Times and New York Post have said it's a "four-star performance in a three-star movie" and  Variety wrote it was "an admirable, fitfully successful stab at the life of the brilliant but volatile funk-soul legend... Whatever else one may fault about 'Get On Up,' one thing that's faultless is its star."
So, with those accolades: If it's playing near you, Please, Please, Please get down to see it!  Doesn't matter if you drive, take a cab, catch a bus, ride with someone, or walk - you're bound to leave the theatre thinking to yourself, I Feel Good!

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Been away for a while ... again ...

Yeah, I know this has happened more than once recently, but they're all for a good cause.

Y'see, I like to survive - and the only way to do it in this old world is to work for something called "money".  Thus, I provide penned product for various creatures upon this planet (what we in the business world call "clients") and they, in compliance with the demands conditions of our SS&D contracts ("Signed, Sealed and Delivered"), send forth dollar bills of various denominations unto me for my spending pleasure.

Or to pay bills with.

THUS AND SO, I have been wrought and wracked with pen-plagued pain and my snoot is scarred by keeping it upon the grindstone for yea, so long .


HAVING DONE THOSE THINGS of which I was required, I then set pen to paper fingers to keyboard in OpenOffice setting and thus penned my latest tome, entitled I'VE HAD ENOUGH!

This book (whose very title has brought queries: "Is it the confession of a former sex addict?" "Is it, yea, truly readable?") actually and seriously offers many tips and keys to help readers overcome the blues (not the music. That's cool - the "other" type is not!).

I'm working on a lunch date (er, launch date.  Haven't had the other in years ...) and will share more just prior to its public release.

So we've got a lottttttttttttt of catching up to do, campers ... and that means extra innings for both blogs, beginning Thursday.  So ....

Now ... I've gotta find a broom and dustpan to sweep up the mess I made whilst working all that other "stuff".  After all, a clean office makes for a tidy and organized slave  - er, worker, right? hehe ...

Friday, July 18, 2014


NOTE: With so much attention being rightly paid to The Beatles on this, the fiftieth anniversary of their arrival in America (and their mega-hit movie "A HARD DAY'S NIGHT"), I thought you'd want to learn how the Fab Four actually became the most celebrated band in the universe.  And who better to tell it than John Lennon himself?:

(In other words, here's the story of the rise of The Beatles, as actually written by John Lennon many years ago):

"And so it was that the John (he of Lennon ancestry) wrote upon the magic tablets of FatBoy the storied story of Beatledom (as was told by him):"

"Once upon a time there were three little boys called John, George and Paul, by name christened. They decided to get together because they were the getting together type. When they were together they wondered what for after all, what for? So all of a sudden they grew guitars and fashioned a noise.
Funnily enough, no one was interested, least of all the three little men.
So-o-o-o on discovering a fourth little even littler man called Stuart Sutcliffe running about them they said, quite 'Sonny get a bass guitar and you will be alright' and he did - but he wasn't alright because he couldn't play it. So they sat on him with comfort 'til he could play. Still there was no beat, and a kindly old man said, quote 'Thou hast not drums!' We had no drums! they coffed. So a series of drums came and went and came.

Suddenly, in Scotland, touring with Johnny Gentle, the group (called the Beatles called) discovered they had not a very nice sound - because they had no amplifiers. They got some.

Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision - a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them 'From this day on you are Beatles with an 'A'. Thank you, mister man, they said, thanking him.

And then a man with a beard cut off said - will you go to Germany (Hamburg) and play mighty rock for the peasants for money? And we said we would play mighty anything for money.

But before we could go we had to grow a drummer, so we grew one in West Derby in a club called Some Casbah and his trouble was Pete Best. we called 'Hello Pete, come off to Germany!' 'Yes!' Zooooom. After a few months, Peter and Paul (who is called McArtrey, son of Jim McArtrey, his father) lit a Kino (cinema) and the German police said 'Bad Beatles, you must go home and light your English cinemas'.
Zooooom, half a group. But before even this, the Gestapo had taken my friend little George Harrison (of speke) away because he was only twelve and too young to vote in Germany; but after two months in England he grew eighteen and the Gestapoes said 'you can come'.
So suddenly all back in Liverpool Village were many groups playing in grey suits and Jim said 'Why have you no grey suits?' 'We don't like them, Jim' we said, speaking to Jim.

After playing in the clubs a bit, everyone said 'Go to Germany!' So we are. Zooooom Stuart gone. Zoom zoom John (of Woolton) George (of Speke) Peter and Paul zoom zoom. All of them gone. Thank you club members, from John anf George (what are friends)."

Gee ... does anybody have an idea of what happened next??

Actually, what we're lookin' at, yardbirds, is exactly what real rock 'n roll (y'know, just for once, I'd like to hear Elmer Fudd say those words!) is all about: ENTHUSIASM! Ya can't imagine John sittin' back in some fancy, cushioned chair, pipe in hand and a cuppa Earl Grey beside him, pondering "What shall I include to properly convey the evolution of blahblahblah?"

Nope. John Lennon (he who gave up WInstons for another brand. Should I speak of what is was? OOOONo!) just had fun with it ... energized it ... made it interesting. Those traits, combined with the musical ones I've given over the past few posts and John's bit of "history" above, came together, right then, over him, to form the greatest band the world has ever known:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

All Hail The Mighty DJ

For decades, they were responsible for scratching our musical itch from AM drive-time to the midnight hour. Sadly, they're now relegated mostly to cut-ins allowed by the big network conglomerates.

They're the legendary disc jockeys of years and AM stations gone by.

Back-in-the-day, we'd tune our dials to pick up the zaniness of characters like Lloyd Thaxton (Leave It To Lloyd), Jack Gale (Failure Theater), "The Real" Don Steele, Wolfman Jack, Robert Murphy, Cousin Brucie, Casey Kasem and others.

Their shows not only gave us the fab music we wanted, but many were peppered generously with some of the funniest jokes, one-liners and skits -- and they were all designed to bring some welcome relief from the day's troubles. Kasem had a special style that he carried into his net feed: His voice actually smiled as he talked -- and, as one reader put it, "made me feel like it was just me and him sitting in the living room, with a record player between us."

And, while he became host of the best teen show on the planet, Uncle LL could still make you feel as if he were performing just for you! Using live talent, five fingers and an active imagination, he brought the zaniness of the radio DJ into the world of television ... and it became the most-watched 5 PM show in America!

In Charlotte, we awoke to Gale's "Failure Theater" (a comical 'soap-opera') or to Robert Murphy's "Murphy In The Morning" (often including David Sprinkley and the news - a parody of NBC newsman David Brinkley, done to perfection by WCNC reporter David Sprinkle). We also had the infamous Chuckie "Boo" Baron and his fantastic "beach music bombshells!" (PS  Check the vid at the bottom of this post, ye Tarheels, for some cool memories ...)

Over in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, there was the "Right Reverend William A. Tucker from the First Church of Himm, Ah-HI-uh (Phil Gardner), with his wonderful Sister Sapphire Grassmire" doing the song "Every Disc Jockey In The World Needs A Little Lovin'" (to the instrumental track of The Main Ingredient's Everybody Plays The Fool").

Then there was Wolfman Jack. Do I really need to say more about him??

When the monster networks started feeding their shows to ratings-hungry but often money-starved FMs, it seems that our favorite DJs began to fade away like morning fog. The AM stations tried to counter by changing format to all-news/talk/sports, but to no avail. The net megaliths were just too strong ... and had all the money ...

But these were the guys (and gals) who worked their butts off day after day to bring us the best that music had to offer. They're the ones who. in 1963, brought a glimmer of hope back to the eyes of Americans who had lost a President to an assassin's bullet. They're also the ones who were in the thick of the "rights" movements and "anti-war" protests, assuring us that there was still plenty to feel good about! No matter how bad things might've been in their own personal or even physical life, they put all that aside to bring us all music ... allllll the tiiiiime!

Today, there's a move to bring rock (and its jocks) back to AM stations! Some are already revving back up for the fans who miss the "local" touch (in some cases, with as many of the original crew as possible!). With Arbitron® ratings showing a steady rise in listeners who prefer the sounds of actual rock-n-roll, and those listeners preferring local stations over the impersonal network feeds -- maybe it'll finally happen.

Because (snif!) nothing's sadder than to see a poor, starving little DJ standing out in the rain of society (I'm [sob!] ... I'm havin' a hard time gettin' through this ...), scratching at our back door for a morsel of madness, 45s stuck under one arm, a tin cup in the other (no, no ... that's just a tear in my eye), hoping you have a few spare minutes he can have to brighten your day with some good times and great oldies (I ... I'm gonna break down here!).  Y'see ...
"Every disc jockey in the world needs a little lovin' ..."

Stay ... stay tuned (now, where's my Kleenex???)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Did Tiger Beat Lloyd Thaxton?

Look ... we all know that Tiger Beat™ magazine was Uncle Lloyd's baby, right? 

Well, one of our British Mouses sent me a column by writer Malcolm Tatum awhile back -- and it didn't make this cheeser happy at all! In fact, I was so steamed I almost threw it out -- until (heh-heh!) I remembered it was on my PC monitor, and ... well, why destroy a perfectly good computer just for a little dirt?

Here's part of what Tatum wrote:

"(In September, 1965) The first issue of Tiger Beat prominently featured a well known disc jockey, Lloyd Thaxton, as a way of helping the fledgling magazine find an audience."
Ahhh -- so Uncle Lloyd was just a marketing ploy, huh?? Hang on, Followers of the Cheese -- there's more!:

By 1966, editor Charles Laufer hired a "a young and engaging blonde" editor (uh-huh. Editor. Editor only. Right ...), Ann Moses. And, "(a)fter several months, the connection with Lloyd Thaxton was played down and finally dropped, but it had served its purpose. By the summer of 1966, Tiger Beat was clearly the cool magazine for any teenage fan to read."

Huh?!?!? OUR Head Cheeser, used for promo purposes?? You mean ... he didn't have stock in the mag?? Hmph ... next you'll tell me that "Sherwin" took on "Williams" to make the paint thinner!

Besides (not counting all the Mousers who knew Uncle LL personally), we've got some decent ammunition! For example: according to superstar David Gross' site, Talkin' About My Generation (and listen -- it's a really fab site, so goest thou unto its portals [no, after you finish here])! "Do you remember the Lloyd Thaxton Show? It was the highest rated musical show in the country for eight years. Lloyd was one of the founders of Tiger Beat magazine!"

Besides, ya gotta ask yerself a question, punk (actually, I dunno if he's a punk or not. I rented a Clint Eastwood movie last night, and)
Anyway ...
How many bands do you know that credit its popularity to being seen in TB magazine? Awright ... how many give an appearance on LL's show the props??
How many people looked up, wrote or read something about Tiger Beat (other than yours truly)? Now ... how many (excluding yours truly again) have looked up, read or wrote something about Lloyd Thaxton lately?
(PS You're reading right now, aren'tcha?? Huh??)

How many people has Tiger Beat™ helped in consumer goods, motivation, inspiration or just a great appreciation of teens and their music? Okay ... how many did Uncle Lloyd help? (man, is that an easy choice or what??) (What??)

So ask Howie (of The Turtles), Sal (of The Beau Brummels), brother Gary (fellow cheeser from Oldies Videos), Ken Levine (respected producer) or the millions of meeces around this world: LLOYD THAXTON DID MORE THAN HELPED CREATE A MAGAZINE OR SHOW ... HE CREATED AN ATTITUDE!!

One that'll be with us lonnnnnnnng after the magazine has folded (no pun inten ... well, maybe a littl ... okay, a lot ...)!!

Stay tuned ....

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth!!

We interrupt this blog for a very important announcement:

The blog normally seen at this time will be shown, in its entirety, tomorrow afternoon.  Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The '60's Attitude ...

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Why, after three long years, am I repeating this column?  Why am I talkin' about the peace-and-love Sixties here in the 14th year of the new millennium?
All you've gotta do is tune in the Sox or Chicken Noodle Networks (FOX or CNN), read the front page of any big-city newspapers or check the interweb, and you'll get the picture ...   So let's rock on with:  THE '60's ATTITUDE:

Ahhh, yes: ATTITUDE -- the breakfast of champions (and rockers worldwide)!

It made our world back in the mid-to-late Sixties (and, brother, did we need it: a President dying "under the Western sun" [from a tribute by the late Kate Smith], his brother shot in L.A. just moments after flashing the "peace" sign to supporters, Dr. Martin Luther King gunned down in Memphis, Vietnam and race riots).

We spoke and believed in "peace and love"; from traveling light around the country to shows in Woodstock fields and more, we learned about the vast openness of America. We didn't have to be "cooped up" in one setting -- we were, in fact, freeborn men (and women); from the huge rock festivals, we learned that we weren't alone in this world! No matter what we believed, there were others, in fact, who would relate to us and our feelings on this planet!

When Uncle Lloyd first started his show, it was at the time when we really needed his zaniness; not just "wanted" but "needed"! You see, not many adults seemed to realize (or even care) that we kids were being impacted by all that was happening around us, just like they were. Man, were we ever - only ours seemed a bit worse, because we were beginning to wonder if there really was a future for us (it seemed like we traded the "when we grow up" wish for "if we grew up" uncertainty!).

Well, LL came onstage with his crazy antics and one of the friendliest, most positive attitudes ever seen on the tube! That's Reason #157 (collect 'em all!) that kids loved him so much. They felt he really understood us (and, guess what? He really did!). While providing an hour of great music and fun, he also exuded confidence that things were gonna be alright.

Of course, there was the fab music of the era! From Animals to Zombies, Beatles to Billy Fury to Wilson Pickett, the acts not only gave us the best music to jump, jive and wail to, but it actually lifted our spirits! And, when we saw these acts on TV or (better yet) in concert, we saw them playing live, with instruments, and were more animated than any Bugs Bunny cartoon!

Today ... well, it's just not the same, musically.
Somehow, the synthesizers, taped drum loops, computerized music sampling and Auto-Tunes just don't provide the same effect as the live acts of yesteryear (just think: all it takes is one scalawag to unplug the power strip and WHOOSH!! .... there goes an act's set)
And, after hearing all that electricizationalizing noize today, but knowing that we're in much the same shape as we were then in many ways, why don't we take a look back and recapture what we had then? (Afghanistan? Vietnam? Hating Arabs? Hating Blacks?  Seems that it's the same tune as the turbulent Sixties, just different lyrics) We can do it with our music ... we can do it with our media heroes ... and we certainly can do it with a change in attitude!    

Hey - what've we got to lose by trying?

Nuff said? Then stay tuned ...

Monday, June 30, 2014

The People's Court

Ahhh, what memories ...

Judge Joe Wapner (who, incidentally, turns 95 this November) ran TV's People's Court like a real courtroom.  With the build of a football linebacker, a shock of white hair that made him look so distinguished and, when ticked off, a look that could make a gator back away in fear, he was, to many of us, what a judge should be!

Before he started presiding over the "Court" (which is actually just a set that's made to look like a small-claims courtroom), he served on the bench of the Los Angeles County Superior Court for 18 years (yes, he was once a real judge!).

Now, the kicker of this legendary "courtroom drama" was its beginnings.  Let me quote from the web's great mind-scrubber, Mental Floss: 

"NBC’s idea went something like this: an African-American comedian (preferably Nipsey Russell or Pigmeat Markham) would act as the “judge” in a civil case and toss out some zingers as the details unfolded. During a commercial break, a real judge would coach the comedian on what to say in his verdict, and the comedian would then hand down some comic justice."

They did two pilot "episodes" - one comedic (the Peacock Company's idea), and one with real judge.  The powers-that-were (in 1981) ruled in Wapner's favor. So it's continued to this day, with former NY mayor Ed Koch and Jerry Sheindlin (Judge Judy's husband) and now Marilyn Millen (the first actual Latino to fill the role and actually promoted on-air as the PC's "hot" judge. And, yes, she was a real one, presiding over a Circuit Court in Florida!) in the hotseat.

As I watched a clip of the latest show (or was it Judge Joe?  Or Judge Mathis?  Maybe it was Judge Alex!  There are so many of these - and, often, they're sprinkled with [wouldn't ya know it?] attorney commercials!), I wondered what would happen if we could adapt Congressional hearings, big-company brouhahas and others to these 22-minute bites (with the other eight minutes of the half-hour dedicated to attorney commercials, of course!)?  Then let's introduce a jury to the mix - a call-in jury of average citizens - with the verdicts decided by a tally of votes!

We'd have our internal squabbles handled in a flash - the American people will have decided the fates - and CNN would be out of material to talk about.

Sounds like a good idea, right?  But only if we can get Judge Marilyn to preside ...

Stay tuned ...

By the way:  Didja know that Judge Wapner once dated a girl in high school named Judy Turner?  While the relationship didn't last, she went on to greater things herself - especially when she changed her name to ... Lana Turner!  Or that one of the legal consultants in the early '90s  - and one time host - for the show was a guy named Harvey Levin?  He's now in charge of the entertainment investigative group, TMZ - and is also still an attorney!) 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lloyd Thaxton (two LL's, please)

When I started promoting the return of TMC (not the TV channel), a question that kept popping up was "Why did he (Lloyd) spell his name with two 'LL's?" In fact, though this is a re-post from 1938, I was asked that question again last night at our neighbourhood Wally World (it was preceded by that famous conversation-starter, "Will you please get your @!*& buggy off my foot?").

Well, Llord onlly knows why follks name their llads with doublle LLlls! Llike my llongtime friend Ron Ryan tolld me, though, it's Wellsh in origin. (In case yer wondering and according to my llocall grocer, my own name [Chuck] is apparently cow in origin.)

Now, that photo up there reminds me of one of Uncle Lloyd's famous llip synchs. As you know, the man was an expert at miming the greats (be careful with that word, Chucky; remember: an "ex" is a has-been, and a "spurt" is a drip under pressure. The Chief was neither of those ...).
He'd gone to stage right, and, guitar in hand while sitting on a simple stool, soulfully waded into Bob Dylan's super-long Desolation Row (from his Highway 61 Revisited album. It was about 11 minutes, as I recall ...).
He was a few minutes into "Row" when there was the scheduled two-minute commercial break. Cutting back into the show, and there was Uncle LL ...
still playing the song (now, remember: this was all live-time, so he'd kept going while the camera was off)!
By now, the lights had been cut, old newspaper blew past him (they had a wind machine doing the honors off-camera) ... all set to make it look like everybody'd closed up and gone home!
Not only was the bit hilarious, but it showed that Lloyd knew how to milk the song's length to make it even funnier!

Now, for a couple of readers who wanted to know about Lloyd's work on a show called Funny You Should Ask, I present for your consideration:

Now, remember to invite all the mousies you know to join us every day at the Mouse House ... in honor of Lloyd, good times and great music ... and ...

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Great ITCH

We all have them, right?? And they seem to pop up just as we pick up something either heavy, delicate or breakable-when-dropped ...

With all the dances that floated around back in the Sixties (think: Hully-Gully, Mashed Potato, Frug, Twist, Slaussen, Swim, etc.), I'm kind of surprised that nobody came up with one called "The Itch": start with a partner, your hands on your head, then pretend that you have an itch, no arms and need to scratch it!

Naaaah ... it'd be banned by the FCC in a heartbeat! lol

But, seriously: If there was one person who knew how to scratch our itches (attitudinal ones, anyway), it was Uncle Lloyd. And he did it in the best way he knew how:
By being himself!  He never, ever, looked down his nose at any of his fans.  It didn't matter what color, shape, size, gender, affiliation or financial status was - he genuinely and sincerely loved each and every one of them!
Now, I've gotten to know quite a few "stars" over the years and, while most of them are fantastic people, there are some who have a "You're not in our league, you little person!" attitude. Then they go on to their TV or movie roll and pretend they're one of "us".
Those leave my address book as quickly as they came in ....

LLoyd, though, was total sincerity! He reached out to us because he was "one of us". There was no pretention, no condescending attitude ... though he was, by all rights, a star, to his fans he was Lloyd Thaxton, FRIEND!
And a true one at that!

I mentioned "itches". Whenever we had something under our skin, we could talk with Uncle Lloyd -- and, to our initial surprise, he would answer us, whether in his blog or personal email! He co-wrote a book, Stuff Happens (and then you fix it!) with John Alston, and it addressed many of our "itches" in plain, conversational (and often humorous) tones.

With him around, our attitudinal and psychological "itches" didn't stand a chance ...

Stay tuned ... (right now, I have to take that lion back to its cage ...)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Origin of The Clique

Well, somebody had to ask it, and it just happened to be Mousekateer-in-training Josh out of Schennecti ... um, Schenetic ... uh, Great Neck, NY. He wrote in and asked "Why do you call it the 'mouse clique' anyway?"

Well, Josh, the idea (and name) actually came from LL himself. But it started a little differently. Here ... pull up a chair, grab your Fritos and lemme tell you what happened:

You see, Uncle Lloyd had gazillions of fans who (rightfully) loved him. And, let me tell ya, he loved every single one of them back! In fact, he wanted a way to interact with this amazing fan base.

Sooooo, it came to pass that the Great Blog, Spot, smiled upon him, thus he created his own space, appropriately named Lloyd Thaxton, upon the Blog, Spot's, grounds (in other words, he had a blog here in the Blogspot network).

As the mighty webside powers-that-be publicized his name-and-blog, he saw that, from hither and yon (two small towns outside Schenectady Hey! I learned to spell it!!) came fans who read his writes with fervor. Or a soda. And they began to leave "comments", to which he happily replied.

So many came, in fact, that he decided to call them his "Mouse Pack". But, since that was reminiscent of the famed Vegas Rat Pack of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and a guy named Sinatra, he changed the name to The Mouse Clique; after all, you got to his site by the click of your computer's mouse, and the fans were fast becoming friends one with another, thus: a clique!

Though Uncle Lloyd left us a few years ago, his story and legacy continues! Since Aunt Barbara (LL's loving wife) gave me her blessings to manage the mouse menagerie, it's been my privilege and absolute honor to keep the Mouse House open for all his fans and friends (with encouragement from the Great Co-Cheeser himself, Gary Belich). Its goal is to not only run stories about LL and his fab Lloyd Thaxton Show but to also touch on other topics, just like he did.

Now that you know, how about going out and telling your friends about this blog, okay?? If you've got an interesting story, thought, remembrance or $20 in unmarked bills, just send them in (just kidding about the twenty, btw. I don't have change. Mouses don't have pockets, remember?) and we'll be glad to print them here.

Stay tuned ...

Friday, June 20, 2014

LOST ... in the SIXTIES??

Picture it: Ashland. 2014.

A balding, bearded writer in his sixties stands at the checkout counter of a local supermarket, making small talk with the cashier while paying for his groceries.  Since a famous DJ had just died, the subject matter turns to names like Dick Clark, Wolfman Jack and a fellow named Lloyd Thaxton.

Suddenly, the writer hears a voice from the back of the line (okay, it was the next customer, but I digress ...).  He says he hasn't heard those names in years, and wonders why the writer doesn't talk about more modern stuff, like iHeart Radio and those "star show" searches on the tube.
He says, "Why do you wanna bring up that stuff?  Man, it's wayyy outdated! You gotta get with the program and forget that old sxxt!"

"Outdated", he said??  OUTDATED??  Man, since when is peace, love, simplicity and wholesome music outdated?  Oh, suuuure - we didn't have fancy "phones" that can take pictures on the one hand and end up stuck in somebody's mouths on the other.  We didn't have "texting" - so we drove carefully and watched where we were going.  Very few of us walked into telephone poles or mall fountains because we were too busy reading some weird gadget!

Sure, we gossiped back then - but it only went as far as a couple of blocks and not plastered all over some "face book" for the whole world to see!  And we could walk down the street or play in our yards without worrying about drug deals, gunfire or neighborhood kids being kidnapped!
Our music was groovy - and we had Lloyd Thaxton bringing it (and a lot of humor - clean humor!) to us every weekday at 5 PM.  Who ya got today?  Dr. Phil??  He isn't funny ... let alone "musical"!  Shoot - even your musical TV channels (like MTV and VH1) have turned to stupid, sexy and rude "reality" shows!

Sex was still a "four-letter" word (wait ... let me count again ... Well, you get the picture ...) for most pre-teens.  Y'know why??  Because, back then, most of us still had respect for the fairer gender!  And we actually had to get up and do something - even if it was just to change channels or fix the rabbit-ears on our TV sets!  (By the way, you never saw Chet and David or Walter Cronkite rattling off a lot of nonsense with a panel of "experts" [and be careful how you use that word!  Remember, an "ex" is a has-been and a "spurt" is a drip under pressure!  CNN, remember that ..].  They reported what they were paid to report: the NEWS!.)

We drank Coke back then.  Meth was the way Yankees pronounced "arithmetic".  A heroin addict was somebody who was hooked on Wonder Woman or Supergirl - and even then they included an 'e' on the word (it still sounded the same). And the closest we came to using that word "twerk" was when daddy'd tell mama, "Honey, I gotta go t'work now!" 

And get this:  When we talked, we actually moved our lips - either on the phone or in person!!  The only time we'd type would be in filling out resumes or doing research papers for school (if we were in college; otherwise, it'd have to be in longhand).

I'm not even gonna go into "prices" here (don't want you to cry and mess up that nice keyboard of yours)!

So don't give me any lip about these "times" being better than the Sixties!  It was a time when, as everyday people, we were at our best!!  And remember: the "baby-boomers" from yesteryear are providing the purchasing power, innovative ideas and philanthropy that's keeping this generation strong!!  We were as we still are: GROOVY!!!

That's it for my little rant.  We'll get back to our norml posts tomorrow, so ...

Stay tuned ...  

Friday, June 13, 2014

I Saw It On Lloyd Thaxton!

Okay, who remembers their first high-school dances?
Let me refresh your memory: the high-school gym, portable record-player, jitters because you didn't know who your teacher was gonna pair you up with??

The year was 1965; the scene, Quail Hollow Junior High School (now they're called "middle" schools, like there's a top and a bottom one somewhere). I entered the Arena of Embarrassment courtesy of my parents, who'd faithfully held the secret that I actually had two left feet. We were told to form a circle around the floor perimeter (which was weird, because the floor layout was rectangular. And these were teachers who told us?!?). Then Mrs. Lotta Wurdz would match each girl with a guy who was totally un-cool so we could commence the dance.

Nowadays, computer dating services do that, don't they?

Now, I already had a girlfriend named Carla, but she couldn't make it to the dance ... so Mrs. Wurdz hooked me up with Modine Farquhar. She wasn't the prettiest girl in school but, at 6'2 and very "sculpted" (think Schwarzenegger), we all respected her ...

After a couple of slow dances during which my aching toes were about to resign my feet, the music changed to Dance, Dance, Dance by The Beach Boys. Suddenly, Modine started wiggling and jumping like she had a squirrel in her britches or something! I asked her (from a distance) what she was doing and she said it was something she made up. Called it the Frugatusi. I asked her (hesitantly. Don't make her mad, Chuckie.  She could be reading this ...) where she'd learned it.

She said, I saw it on Lloyd Thaxton last week. Now, this was before I'd met Uncle Lloyd, but, somehow, I just knew he wouldn't allow that on his show (PS Whenever we watched or talked about his program, we'd only use his name and not The ... Show. We were that comfortable with him!). She'd seen these done individually (the Frug and Watusi) and decided to mix them up to something nonsensical.

Somehow, I had a feeling she belonged in Washington ...

For some reason, though, after her "dance", the clear blue Charlotte skies suddenly produced a torrential rain, and the rest of the event was cancelled. Years later, at an outside gig where I was performing, she was amongst the fans and broke out in that same dance!

Yep.  Started raining again within minutes!

Still, all in all, whilst we all learned a few steps from watchin' the TV teens on Uncle Lloyd's show, I'm just glad she didn't mix the Mashed Potato and Locomotion. But, then again, that's what those slow dances with her became to my feet ... Mashed Motion!

(PS  Because the young lady-in-question has grown to be a lovely and happily-married lady - and her husband has meathooks that could bend a horseshoe while the horse is still wearing them - I've changed her name.  While I wish them well, I also value my life ...)

Stay tuned ...