Wednesday, August 27, 2014

STAYIN' ALIVE!

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lady, a Chippendale dancer, Rush Limbaugh and Richard Simmons over to totally confuse the enemy until all troops are withdrawn.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

TONIGHT, TONIGHT ...


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 ...