CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE STUMBLED INTO "THE SHALLOW ZONE." WATCH OUT FOR THE ROCKS. SOME OF THEM ARE SHARP.
If you're looking for a blog with meaningful content on the important issues of the day, you've come to the wrong place. This is the shallows, my friend. Nothing but shallowness as far as the eye can see. Let someone else make sense of things. I like it here.

About Me

My photo

I love my grown children, miss all the dogs I ever had, and I cry at the drop of a hat, I believe in true love, destiny, fairness, and compassion. If I could be anywhere right now, it would be the ocean. My favorite city is New York, but I am always longing for London and craving more time in Copenhagen. I'm drawn to desolate places, deserted buildings, and unknown byways. I don't care how society perceives me as long as my gut tells me that what I'm doing is right. I am interested in paranormal things, spiritual things, historical things, and things that glow at night. I like to drink, I smoke when I write, I can't stand small talk, and despite my quick temper, I would rather kiss than fight. I'm selfish with my writing time, a spendthrift with my love. My heart has been broken so many times that it's held together with super glue and duct tape. The upside is that, next time, I won't be tempted to give away what I no longer have to give. But I will let you buy me a Pink Squirrel.
MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT

MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT

MY SHALLOW MISSION STATEMENT
Not that there's any weight to it...
IN A WORLD FILLED WITH COMPLEX POLITICAL ISSUES, SOCIAL INEQUALITY, AND FINANCIAL UNCERTAINTY, I CONSIDER IT MY GIFT TO YOU, MY READER, TO OFFER THIS SHALLOW LITTLE HAVEN, WHERE NOTHING IS TOO SHALLOW, TOO INSIGNIFICANT, OR TOO RIDICULOUS TO JUSTIFY OUR ATTENTION. IN OTHER WORDS, IF IT'S NOT IMPORTANT....SO WHAT? NEITHER WAS MARILYN MONROE'S BRA SIZE. AND THAT STILL SELLS MAGAZINES, DOESN'T IT?
VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Thursday, May 31, 2012

WARNING: NOT THE USUAL SHALLOW DRIVEL



As wonderful as it is, most of the time, to wrap myself in a cloud of shallowness as I write these posts for my (presumably) shallow readers, this time around, I find myself compelled to peel off the protective veneer and write about something a bit more serious...namely, bath salts. In my last post, I wrote about the horrific incident in Florida in which a naked man was shot dead by police after he was witnessed near an off-ramp on the Miami causeway tearing off the flesh of another naked man's face and eating it. When first confronted by the police, the attacker, a 31-year-old homeless man called Rudy Eugene, allegedly growled at them and continued eating his victim's face. It took four bullets to put an end to the gruesome feast. Initially, the incident was blamed on a new strain of LSD that was believed to have driven Eugene to perform his horrible, cannibalistic act. But since that initial verdict, it has come to light that Eugene had, in fact, most likely ingested bath salts before the attack.

BATH SALTS...BUT NOT THE KIND YOU PUT IN YOUR BATH WATER

If you haven't heard of the synthetic drug known as "bath salts" before now...you're fortunate. But what you should know is that its name has nothing to do with the innocuous white or colored substance used in baths for the purpose of relaxation. The bath salts that Rudy Eugene, and thousands of others have snorted, smoked, or shot up ever since it first became available a couple of years ago, are without question one of the most dangerous drugs to surface since heroin. Unfortunately, I know a bit more about bath salts than I'd like because, for the past year and a half, a member of my family has been held hostage by the paranoia and the aggressive behavior which accompanies that paranoia. Thankfully, that family member is now in rehab and doing well, but the psychological and emotional scars remain, and no doubt will for some time. Still, having had a front seat to bath salts-fueled (mis) behavior all these months, it seems only right that I impart some of what I know about the drug to my readers. So, that's what I'm going to try to do.

FACE OF THE FLORIDA FACE EATER: RUDY EUGENE, 31, A VICTIM OF BATH SALTS?

Up until last July, in the state of Maine at least, it was perfectly legal to purchase bath salts. They were easy enough to get. Not only were they available in stores and head shops, if you knew the right people, you could have them delivered right to your flat or house. The aforementioned member of my family just happened to know the right people. At first, he only snorted them, "just to get a little extra energy". the same way you would snort speed or cocaine or Ritalin (if, of course, you did that sort of thing at all). At first, the result was the desired one: extra energy. But that initial result quickly spiraled into something more. Once the burst of energy wore off, my family member became almost instantly morose and sullen, sometimes to the point of becoming mildly aggressive. He began seeing things as well...or at least imagining that he did. He spoke of people outside the house who he believed were waiting to hurt him. On one occasion, when bath salts were still legal in our state, a couple of his friends came to visit him at our flat and decided to "try" bath salts as well. On returning home that night, they became convinced that a space alien was in their house, which prompted them to call the police, who, unable to locate the alleged space alien, ended up taking one of the friends to the local psychiatric ward where she was obliged to undergo a battery of tests in order to determine whether she was mentally stable enough to be released or required further treatment. Luckily, for her, she was determined to be of sound mind, but was warned not to take bath salts again. After all, just because something is legal doesn't mean that it's safe to snort up your nose. She was smart enough to follow the doctors' advice. But my family member had a different take on the situation. He thought that he'd discovered a new version of LSD, a mind-expanding chemical which he was convinced would allow him to access another dimension of reality. And he was right. It just turned out to be a reality better left unaccessed.

SHADOW PEOPLE: A SCOURGE FROM ANOTHER (BAD) DIMENSION?

Thus began the "Year of The Shadow People", as I've come to call it. As my family member's bath salt use progressed from simple snorting sessions to shooting up (a fact that was unknown to me until I happened to discover needles in his room), he became increasingly paranoid, mainly because, like crystal meth, the drug known as "bath salts" seems to trigger visions of shadowy figures (i.e. shadow people) lurking around with nefarious intent. Sometimes, passing by his room, I would hear him talking to friends about the shadow people, comparing notes on how to deal with them, as though they were actually real. What frightened me the most was that to my family member, as well as to his friends who were also using bath salts, the shadow people were real. The fact that they all saw them was more then a little unsettling. I kept thinking, what is it about bath salts that causes people who use it to see the exact same thing? Perhaps my family member was right about the drug allowing him to access a different dimension. But if it was a dimension populated by shadow people, what in God's name was the lure to continue to go there? It's a question to which I still haven't found a satisfactory answer. What I do know is that, as hideous and unspeakable as it is to think of one man eating another man's face, it's not one that I can dismiss as an aberration. Not when it comes to bath salts. Not when, last summer, a man of my family member's acquaintance became the first person in our city to "officially" die from bath salts after he was arrested, and in defiance of police, tore off his own testicles and hurled them across the room the uniformed "enemy". Not after another woman whom I had met was arrested after tearing a radiator out of a neighbor's bathroom wall and using it to barricade the bathroom door in an effort to keep nonexistent "killers" at bay. What Rudy Eugene did to his victim's face may have made headlines around the world, but, if nothing else, it should be seen as a wake-up call. Far from an isolated incident, it stands as an extreme example of what bath salts can drive those who use it to do. As I said at the beginning of this post, if you haven't heard of bath salts before now...you're fortunate. But now that you have, consider yourself forewarned. Bath salts aren't just bad. They're dangerous....and clearly not just to those who use them. Turns out that zombies are real. They're people on bath salts.

Skol! xoxoxxoxoxxoxoxoxoxxoxo

Monday, May 28, 2012

ZOMBIE NATION? LOOKS LIKE MIAMI, FLORIDA MIGHT BE THE CAPITAL CITY



Has the zombie apocalypse finally arrived? Some zombie alarmists are claiming that it has in the wake of an horrific incident which occurred in Florida over the Memorial Day weekend. In case you were fortunate enough not to have had your holiday activities shadowed by the news, please allow me to bring you up to speed. Seems that motorists traveling on the Miami causeway Saturday afternoon were shocked to see a naked man (yes...naked) chewing on the face of another naked man on the off-ramp next to the Biscayne Boulevard exit. According to a report in the New York Daily News, witnesses to the gruesome incident thought at first that the two men were fighting, but were quickly disabused of that notion when they noticed that one of the men was actually shredding and eating the flesh of the second man.

The NYDN article went on to quote one of the witnesses, who said that "(the attacker) was “tearing up pieces of (the victim's) flesh, you know, his ears, his nose. He was tearing it up and throwing it away... it was really a horrific scene.” And it gets worse. When police arrived on the scene, they ordered the attacker to stop, but he ignored them, even after one of the cops drew a gun. "(The) guy just stood there...with pieces of flesh in his mouth and he growled," the cop told a TV news crew. With no other recourse, the cop shot the man several times, killing him. It's still not clear whether the victim, whose face was described as "unrecognizable", will survive the ordeal.

" FILM DIRECTOR GEORGE ROMERO, "GODFATHER OF ALL ZOMBIE MOVIES": MESSIAH OF A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE OR JUST A GUY WHO MADE A FEW HORROR FILMS?

So, what's going on here? In an interview with Eric Spitznagel for Hollywood Blog, American film director George Romero, whose low-budget 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead earned him the title "Godfather of Zombie Movies" had this to say about zombies: "To me, the zombies have always just been zombies. They’ve always been a cigar. When I first made Night of the Living Dead, it got analyzed and overanalyzed way out of proportion. The zombies were written about as if they represented Nixon’s Silent Majority or whatever. But I never thought about it that way. My stories are about humans and how they react, or fail to react, or react stupidly. I’m pointing the finger at us, not at the zombies. I try to respect and sympathize with the zombies as much as possible." Well, that's all well and good, I suppose, but the zombies with whom Romero came in contact were really just actors pretending to be reanimated, flesh-eating corpses. The guy in Florida was real. That's what's so unsettling. Since NOTLD came out 44 years ago, there have been a slew of zombie-themed movies, most of which more or less followed the precepts set down by Romero, such as the supposed fact that the number one objective of zombies is to eat the brains of the living, and that the only way to actually kill a zombie (if "kill" is the right word to use in connection with a creature ostensibly already among the deceased) is to shoot it in the head. I'm not sure what part of the naked Florida flesh-eater's body the cop who killed him was aiming at, but the fact that he had to be shot several times before he actually expired is more than a little disturbing. One news report mentioned that the man was "believed to have taken a new kind of LSD" which reportedly makes those who take it extremely aggressive. But if that's the case, what exactly was it that prompted the naked Florida flesh-eater to zero in on his victim's face instead of, say, his meaty thighs? Yeah...that's what I'm thinking, too. He was going for the poor guy's brain.

BATTLING THE ZOMBIE SCOURGE: SHOOT FROM THE HIP, AIM FOR THE HEAD

Now, if we should have learned anything from all the zombie hyperbole that's taken over pop culture in the last few years it's that, despite the obvious fact that zombies are ten times more loathsome and terrifying than your average vampire (at least as portrayed by actors like Johnny Depp, David Boreanaz, and James "No Discernible Facial Expression As Yet" Pattinson), when it comes to scourges of mankind, zombies are a much more desirable foe because they're...well...stupid. Even in those movies in which they're portrayed as moving at relatively normal human speed, they're still basically working with a reptilian brain. So, while their preternatural strength might prove to be something of an issue if one of them happens to back you into a corner, in a more open space, you might still have a chance to get away with your flesh intact. The fact that they supposedly tend to lumber around in packs is another matter altogether, but even then, as long as there's a car, truck, or go-cart within running distance (and you haven't lost the key in your frantic struggle to avoid the multitude of groping zombie hands reaching out to grab you), you could still conceivably make your escape. Of course, at this point, you're probably wondering what the hell difference any of this makes if zombies aren't real? If, as some news reports are claiming, the naked Florida flesh-eater was simply a man driven to perform a perverse act after taking a bad drug? Well, that's just it. Zombies, even the ones in the movies, usually have only become zombies as the result of some sort of virus or chemical taint. Granted, the virus is usually from outer space, and the chemical taint is almost always connected with some covert government activity, but who's to say there's not some zombie-making strain of LSD out there? One that shuts down the part of the human brain that feels shame and empathy, leaving the darker, primal, reptilian part free to indulge in unbridled unhuman-like behavior? I'm just saying. But it's worth thinking about, don't you agree? I mean, I'll give it a few days. But if more reports of face-eating men or women, naked or otherwise, start filtering in from other places, well, suffice it to say that, instead of blogging about it, I'll probably start boning up on zombie-fighting tactics. I just hope they're not all naked.

ZOMBIE NATION? COLOR ME EXPATRIATE

Skol! xoxoxxoxoxxoxoxxoxoxoxxo

Saturday, May 26, 2012

EUROVISION UPDATE: SWEDEN'S SONG SOARS SUPREME!


As you may have already heard, Sweden took top prize in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest last night. Loreen, a 28-year-old Swedish songstress, beat out all comers with a dance song called "Euphoria", garnering a total of 372 points overall, which constitutes a pretty hefty nod in her favor. Sentimental favorites Buranovskiye Babushki ("Grannies from Buranovo") won second place with 259 points, followed by Zeljko Joksimovic of Serbia, who was awarded 214 points. Thousands of Eurovision fans crowded Baku's "Crystal Palace", built especially for the occasion (to the chagrin of many residents of Baku, who have claimed that friends and relatives were unfairly routed from their homes by city officials so that the property could be used as the construction site for the new building), to watch the competition, which was, as always, more than a little cheesy, unapologetically kitsch, and undeniably fun.

LOREEN OF SWEDEN SHOWS OFF HER PATRIOTIC SPIRIT AT THIS YEAR'S EUROVISION SONG CONTEST

Loreen's victory gives Sweden its first win since 1999, a fact not lost on Swedish fans, especially those in Stockholm, many of whom celebrated by splashing around in their underwear in a downtown fountain where sports fans engage in similar behavior to celebrate the victorious outcomes of sporting events. Sweden's win was the result of voting by judges, which constituted 50 percent of the overall score, and phoned-in and SMS votes from fans, who were not allowed to vote for singers from their own country. Asked how she felt after her win, Loreen gushed, "Time has stopped." And as for concerns that this years's competition might be marred by protesters angry about the state of human rights in Azerbaijan, they turned out to be a non-issue, with things going as smoothly as they ever have. In fact, the only unusual occurrence at tonight's competition was, arguably, the fact that Loreen performed her winning song while barefoot. In keeping with tradition, next year's competition will be hosted by Sweden. And once again, this Eurovision fan will be watching...and reveling in the cheese.


Skol! xoxoxxoxoxxoxoxo

GOOD EVENING, EUROPE! SING SOMETHING, WOULD YOU?


ABBA. Lulu. Brotherhood of Man. Celine Dion. Father Ted. What do they all have in common? No...wrong. The right answer is that they all share the honor of having won the Eurovision Song Contest. Well, Father Ted didn't actually win in real life, just on the show, but "My Lovely Horse" will always be a winner in this fan girl's songbook. Seriously, though, tonight will see the Grand Finals of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest play out, and this year's event has all the makings of a down-to-the-wire nail biter.

Okay, on the off-chance that you've somehow never heard of the Eurovision Song Contest (or Father Ted, for that matter), I'll give you a little background. As you have most likely already inferred, it's an annual competition in which representatives of various countries (active members of the European Broadcasting Union ) perform an original song with the hope of being crowned the winner, which, with any luck, will mean that they will go on to enjoy a long and successful career in the music industry, ala ABBA and Celine Dion.

ABBA: POP MUSIC'S MOST COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL SINGING GROUP WON THE 1974 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST ON BEHALF OF SWEDEN WITH THEIR FUTURE TOP FORTY HIT "WATERLOO"

CELINE DION: CANADA'S MOST FAMOUS DIVA WON THE 1988 CONTEST FOR SWITZERLANDWITH "NE PARTEZ PAS SANS MOI"

So, how did it all start? Well, the first Eurovision competition was held in Lugano, Switzerland on May 24, with seven countries participating. The winner was Lys Assia, who just happened to be from Switzerland, who wowed the judges with her performance of a song called "Refrain." Since that auspicious occasion, the competition has been held all over Europe, in the process launching the careers of some very big names, such as those on the aforementioned list. However, tonight's final round will mark the first time that contestants will compete in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. That fact alone has some EBU members on edge. Not only will tonight be the first time that the formerly Persian city will play host to the competition, but it draws attention to the fact that Azerbaijan's human rights record has long been a source of concern among Europeans. So far, EBU board members have ignored outside pressure to turn tonight's festivities into a political event, but, if we've learned anything from watching Academy Awards presentations over the years, it's that, given a stage and a spotlight, there's usually someone who will take the opportunity to make a political statement. "Human rights violations" may not be a phrase we'll ever heard from the lips of Ryan Seacrest during an episode of American Idol, but in a competition originally conceived as a musical antidote to the trauma of a recently-ended world war which, in 1956, was still affecting the daily lives of many Europeans, politics is never far from the minds of both the participants and the audience.

2011 EUROVISION WINNERS: SINGING DUO ELL AND NIKKI STUCK IT TO THE COMPETITION IN DUSSELDORF, GERMANY LAST YEAR, BECOMING THE FIRST WINNERS EVER FROM AZERBAIJAN

Even apart from all the surrounding hoopla, this year's Eurovision competition has been notable on several, much less incendiary counts. Ukraine's representative, a brown-haired beauty who goes by the single moniker of Gaitana, and who will be singing an upbeat little number called "Be My Guest" for the judges tonight, has been criticized by some Ukraine right-wingers because she is half Congolese. One politician even went so far as to claim that she "is not an organic representative of our country." But such criticism hasn't stopped Gaitana from becoming one of the favorites in tonight's final competition. Nor has attention of a different kind kept another of tonight's frontrunners from keeping their collective eye on the highly coveted prize. Russia's entry, Buranovskiye Babushka, a group comprised of six grandmothers who perform in colorful peasant-style skirts and kerchiefs, were the surprise winners of the Russia's national singing contest this year, beating out younger, more mainstream acts with a song called "Party For Everyone!" which they will reprise tonight. With the group's youngest member clocking in at 63 years, Buranovskiye Babuski have already said they have no plans to go on tour if they win tonight, but they will no doubt record a follow-up album to their 2010 effort, which included covers of The Beatles' "Let It Be" and Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water", as well as "Dlinnaja-Dlinnaja Beresta I Kak Sdelat Iz Nee Aishon", the song with which they won third place in the Russian Eurovision Song Selection contest that year, and whose name translates, in English, to "Very Long Birch Bark And How To Turn It Into A Turban." If they do win the big prize in Baku tonight, the group has said, they plan to donate the cash prize to their church. What? No new kerchiefs? Bottom line, no matter who wins tonight, the Eurovision Song Contest is a perfect way to usher in the Memorial Day holiday. After all, it is a holiday originally conceived as a tribute to American soldiers killed in World War II, many of whom died on European soil. In other words...barbecue tomorrow, definitely, and plant flowers on Monday, but be sure to watch Eurovision tonight.

CONTROVERSIAL CONTESTANT: GAITANA OF UKRAINE HAS DRAWN CRITICISM IN HER HOME COUNTRY BECAUSE SHE'S HER HALF-CONGOLESE, BUT HER SONG "BE MY GUEST" IS STILL A FAVORED ENTRY IN TONIGHT'S COMPETITION

THEY FOUGHT FOR THEIR RIGHT TO PARTY: BURANOVSKIYE BABUSHKI MAY BE OLD SCHOOL IN THE EXTREME, BUT THEIR SONG "PARTY FOR EVERYONE!" HAS PROVEN A FAVORITE WITH JUDGES AND AUDIENCES

Tonight's competition is scheduled to begin at 9 PM, standard time, which means that it will already be tomorrow in Baku when contestants take to the stage for the final round. And for most of us not in Baku, it will be probably be tomorrow before we know who the winner is. But, if like me, you just can't wait that long, you can watch the live stream online at http://www.oleoletv.com/watch/live/stream/online/free/tv/video/channel/feed/link/broadcast/vivo/gratis/p2p/19/47352/may-26-2012/eurovision-song-contest-2012.html right now. So get to it. Another year is just too long to wait.

Skol! xoxxoxoxxoxoxoxo

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FIVE BEST SUMMER SONGS


With Memorial Day Weekend a mere day away, and the temperature outside my flat creeping solidly into the 70s, I have no choice but to devote this, my first substantial post in two weeks, to yet another "top five picks" list. And what better subject than "summer songs"? So here, without preamble, are the five songs that I'll be listening to when I sip my that first, long-awaited summer cocktail on Saturday.


When it comes to old school crooning, there are two men who do it for me: Bobby Darrin and Frank Sinatra. And, for my money, there's not a better old school summer song than "Summer Wind", a breezy little ballad about a fleeting summer love, recorded by Mr. Sinatra in 1966. With lyrics originally written in German by Hans Bradtke, rewritten in English by Heinz Meier (Henry Mayer), and music composed by none other than Johnny Mercer, "Summer Wind" had already been a minor hit for Wayne Newton in 1965, peaking at 78 on the U.S. pop charts, but Sinatra's version eclipsed its predecessor, making it all the way to #25 on the pop singles charts and earning a top spot on the Easy Listening charts. And why wouldn't it? With lyrics like "All summer long, we sang a song And then we strolled that golden sand. Two sweethearts and the summer wind", it's the perfect song for sipping a cocktail on a summer evening...old school style.


I've never been hip hop's biggest fan, but there are some songs that just defy genre, and this is one of them. It was a huge hit for Will Smith and D.J. Jazzy Jeff back in 1991, peaking at #4 on the Billboard chart and giving the duo their first U.K. hit. An interesting and relatively unknown fact about the song is that it's actually a reworking of a tune called "Summer Madness", which was recorded by Kool and The Gang in 1974. As summer-themed songs go, this one has a good set of gams, having been featured in a 1992 "Saved By The Bell" special on NBC as well as the theme music for a series of Wal-Mart commercials around the same time. What's so great about it? Well, for one thing, it captures perfectly the essence of the American summer experience, referencing barbecues, family reunions, and, of course, pretty girls walking around in scanty clothing. Bottom line, it's a feel good song, and when the summer sun is high and the hot dogs are sizzling on the backyard grill, there's simply no better condiment than a song that makes you think happy thoughts.


It's hard to imagine anyone not having heard "California Girls" by the Beach Boys. It's one of those songs so deeply embedded in the popular consciousness that, even if you can't remember the actual words, you feel as though you know it anyway. Released in 1965, it is easily one of the band's most recognizable and most frequently covered hits, not the least example of which is David Lee Roth's version which was as big a hit for him as it was for Brian Wilson and the boys (both versions went to #3 on the Billboard charts). But what you might not know about the song is that Wilson allegedly came up with the idea for it during an LSD trip. According to Wilson, it was a "trip" that started out pretty negatively, prompting him to run into his bedroom and dive underneath the pillows on his bed, where he stayed for some time, repeating, "I'm afraid of my mother. I'm afraid of my dad." Somehow, though, in the midst of all the parent phobia, the genius composer heard the melody line for "California Girls" in his head, came out from underneath the pillows, and made a beeline for his piano, where he began banging out the chords, to which he gradually added the lyrics we have all come to know and love. And radio audiences weren't the only ones who lapped up the results of Wilson's trippy talent like a summer slurpee at the local Tastee-Freeze. The Beatles were listening as well, and were so impressed that Paul McCartney purportedly composed "Back In The USSR" as a shameless homage to the song. If there was ever a summer song that transcended time and space and place, this is it. In fact, we wish they all could be...well..."California Girls."


Nothing underscores the lazy essence of summertime like a sultry clarinet solo played by Mr. Acker Bilk. At least, that's what I always find myself thinking whenever I listen to this song. Released in 1962, it was the British clarinetist's biggest hit as well as the first British song to reach #1 on the American pop charts and the biggest selling instrumental single of all time. And, of course, like all great songs, summer-friendly or otherwise, it was inspired by a woman, in this case, Bilk's daughter, Jennie, for whom it was originally named. The song was so popular when it first came out that the crew of the Apollo 10 took a cassette recording of it with them to the moon! Since then it's been covered endlessly by artists as diverse as Andy Williams (with lyrics added, of course), The Drifters, and Kenny G. It's also been featured in a number of movies, including Mr. Holland's Opus and There's Something About Mary. But apart from all the hoopla, it's just a damned good song, as summery and light as an ocean breeze, and as romantic as a kiss tinged with sea salt...from a stranger on the shore.


Yes, I know, it doesn't even mention the word "summer", but there was ever a song that screamed to be played at top volume on a car radio (preferably one on the dashboard of a convertible), "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones is freaking it. But maybe that has something to do with the fact that the song first hit the American radio airwaves in June of 1965, after having been banned from British radio because of its "sexually suggestive" lyrics. Sexually suggestive? Well, I suppose they could be taken that way, if you happened to be, say, a middle-aged British bollock-brain who thought that any Stones song that contained the word "satisfaction" had to be about shagging someone. Luckily, between June and August of that year, the scales fell from the eyes of the song-censors, and "Satisfaction" was finally released in the UK, giving the Rolling Stones their fourth #1 hit on the British pop charts. So, what makes this song arguably one of the greatest, if not the greatest rock and roll single, not only for summertime listening, but for all time? Well, that unforgettable opening riff by guitar god Keith Richards, for one thing, which is not merely "catchy" (as it was once described by Mick Jagger), but downright infectious, not to mention profoundly iconic. And then there are the lyrics, which pretty much say everything there is to say about youthful alienation, which is what has given the song its enormous staying power over the years. A lot has changed in the world since the summer of 1965, but one thing that hasn't changed is the fact that young people, whether they live in the UK, the United States, or upper Volta, are always searching for something to give their life meaning, and on a hot summer day, when it seems that everyone in the world but you has a date and a place to go that night, "Satisfaction" serves a dual purpose, providing not only the perfect soundtrack for that feeling of being left out, but a strange sense of comfort because, after all, if someone as popular and successful as Mick Jagger can sing "I can't get no satisfaction" with so much passion, then maybe, just maybe, you're not really as alone in your misery as you think.

Well, that's it for my latest top five song list. As always, I hope you found it enjoyable, whether or not you agree. And if you do disagree, I'd be interested in hearing what songs you think deserve to be on a top five summer song list. So, don't mope...post. Skol! xoxoxxoxoxxoxoxxoxoxxo

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bizarro World Brief



Yes, I know it's been a while since my last post. I apologize profusely, but, as sometimes happens, life has not been conducive to posting of late. Things should settle down presently, but in the interim, I thought that I should at least give you, my faithful (although frustratingly taciturn) readers something to keep you from forgetting me. Herewith, I offer this link to one of my favorite Internet programs, Jim Harold's Campfire, which features calls every other Sunday from "ordinary listeners who have experienced extraordinary things." One such call on last night's show struck me as particularly riveting. If you don't have time to listen to the whole thing, leap ahead to 20:30...the best is last...but be prepared to be freaked out.

http://jimharold.com/category/jim-harolds-campfire/

Skol. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxxoxo

Monday, May 14, 2012

SHORT JOKES: SHORT CLEAN JOKES

SHORT JOKES: SHORT CLEAN JOKES: Doctor, Doctor everyone thinks I'm a liar I can't believe that! Doctor, Doctor, I can't get to sleep. Sit on the edge of the bed ...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

MOTHER'S DAY MOM PICKS


Yup, you guessed it. It's time for another top five pick list...just in time for Mother's Day. How's that, you ask? Well, I thought it would be fun to share with you my top five picks for most interesting pop culture moms. Movie moms, TV moms, and music moms. They're all here. Take a gander...and enjoy! But remember..."interesting" doesn't necessarily mean "good."


No more wire hangers...ever! Was there ever a mother who was more of a mother than Miss Joan Crawford, star of stage and screen and diva beyond compare? Born Lucille Faye LeSueur on March 23, 1905, Crawford began her career as a dancer on Broadway, and was soon snapped up by the movie industry, which revamped her as a 1920s flapper for a series of silent films. When talkies took over, Crawford made the shift as well, perfecting a "rags-to-riches" persona which made her one of the most popular movie actresses of the time, along with fellow screen legends Norma Sheara and Greta Garbo. However, by the 1930s, her popularity started to wane, and she was labeled "box office poison", a fall from grace which drove her into the arms of Alfred Steele, the CEO of the Pepsi-Cola company. Unsatisfied with life as the wife of a high-powered soda pop company exec, Crawford returned to film in 1945, after a two year absence, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in Mildred Pierce, a film which has been lauded as one of the top 100 best film noirs of all time by the American Film Institute. Following her husband's death in 1955, Crawford replaced him on the Pepsi Cola board of directors, a position she held until she was "forcibly retired" in 1973. By then, her career had once again hit the skids, although she continued to act sporadically in film and on TV. But, of course, these days, the former movie queen is best known as "Mommie Dearest", as she was called by her adopted daughter Christina in the "tell-all" expose of the same name, which Christina wrote in the late 1970s and which wass made into a movie, starring Faye Dunaway, in 1981. As portrayed by Dunaway, Crawford came off as a perfectionist from hell, whose greatest pleasure seemed to come from haranguing Christina and her four other adopted children whenever they fell short of her expectations. Discovering that Christina has used wire coat hangers to hang up clothes in her bedroom closet, Dunaway, as Crawford, utters one of the most oft-quoted movie lines ever. "No wire hangers...ever!" But that's nothing compared to the scene in which she walks in on Christina as she is applying make-up in an attempt to imitate her mother, and incensed (for what reason, we really never know), hacks off all of the little girl's hair. As mothers go, Joan Crawford might not be eligible for any awards for "sweetness", but when it comes to "memorable", she has my vote hands down.


"A boy's best friend is his mother," Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) tells Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) when she stumbles into the office of the Bates Motel late on a rainy Saturday night after fleeing from her job as a secretary with $40,000 of her employer's money. The rest is movie history. For a mother who has been dead for a number of years, Mrs. Bates definitely has a solid hold on her son, who not only pretends that she is still alive for the benefit of his motel customers, but, in one of the most iconic movie scenes ever, dons the old lady's dressing gown and gray wig before stabbing the unfortunate Marion Crane to death as she takes a shower in her motel room. Sadly, we never really learn much about the late Mrs. Bates, even after Norman commits his violent act, but she was clearly quite the influential woman, not only as far as her son is concerned, but as a continuing force in pop culture. The 1960 film, Psycho, which was written and directed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, remains one of the most revered "horror" films of all time, a testament not only to the talent of its director and stars, but to the concept of motherhood...even though, in the case of Mrs. Bates, that concept is decidedly skewered.

By the time she took the role of "Victoria Barkley" in the 1960s TV western "The Big Valley", Barbara Stanwyck had already enjoyed a long career in film, receiving four Academy Award nominations for her work in films such as Double Indemnity and Sorry, Wrong Number. Listed as the 11th greatest film actress of all time by the American Film Institute, Stanwyck played the role of Barkley family matriarch Victoria Barkley from 1965 to 1969, creating a great deal of controversy because of her refusal to succumb to studio execs' pleas to tone down the character's independent attitude. Originally conceived as the somewhat fragile widow of California rancher Thomas Barkley, as portrayed by Stanwyck, the character came off as nothing short of a 19th century powerhouse. But what else could we expect from an actress who had made her name playing tough broads who, no matter how tough they were, couldn't begin to compete with the steel pinnings that made up the inner frame of the woman who played them? Born Catherine Ruby Stevens on July 16, 1907 in Brooklyn, New York, Stanwyck lost her mother at the age of four, and her father a few years later, only to go on to pursue a career on Broadway which led, after a few starts and stops, to her storied career in film. Her portrayal of Victoria Barkley was in keeping with that legacy, making her one of the most interesting pop culture moms of all time, one who shifted effortlessly from "lady of the manor" to "cowgirl in jeans", and looked damned good doing it.


As Lorelai Gilmore, the character she played on the WB's Gilmore Girls from 2000 to 2007, Lauren Graham blazed a new path for TV moms, alternating between the role of "best friend" to her daughter Rorie (Alexis Bledel) and traditional mother worried about her daughter's grades, dating habits, and all of the other things that "normal" mothers worry about when their daughters come of age. But what made her interesting was her unrelenting quirkiness and refusal to succumb to "the script" that so many single mothers embrace when it comes to raising their kids. No matter how difficult things got, or how outrageously Rorie behaved, Lorelai never forgot who she was, and never once sacrificed her sense of individuality for the sake of "fitting in." Yes, it was a TV show, and "it's not always like that in real life", but for the seven years that the Gilmore Girls chronicled the adventures of television's coolest mother and daughter duo, Lorelai Gilmore was a joy to watch, and an inspiration to those of us who struggled with the same issues of not being quite right shape to accommodate the cookie cutters perpetually poised above us.


Singer Kristy MacColl scored hits with songs like "They Don't Know" and "Terry" in the 1980s, while, at the same time, working with husband, record producer Steve Lilywhite, as a back-up vocalist on recordings for The Smiths and The Pogues. Sadly, MacColl's career came to a screeching halt in 2000 when she, her husband, and their two sons went on holiday in Conzumel, Mexico. MacColl and the boys were diving in a watercraft-restricted area near the beach when MacColl surfaced to see a powerboat speeding toward her sons. Making the ultimate sacrifice for motherhood, MacColl pushed her son Jamie out of the way, taking the brunt of the crash, which killed her instantly. The driver of the boat was convicted of culpable homicide and fined $90 in American dollars in lieu of a prison sentence. MacColl's ashes were transported back to England. Since her death, a number of memorial concerts have been performed in her honor. A biography, Kristy MacColl: The One and Only, by Karen O'Brien was published in 2004.

Well, that's it for our top five "most interesting mom" picks. Hope you liked them. Skol. xoxoxxoxxoxoxxo