Friday, March 23, 2007

Musical Mystery Tour

While I am typing this, I am listening to “Going the Distance/Fanfare for Rocky” by Bill Conti, from the original “Rocky”. You all know the song; this is what they play when suddenly, after getting his ass whipped, Rocky regains his inner strength and charges forward in the ring with his comeback, and pummels the always larger, meaner, more skilled, but cocky and arrogant opponent (take your pick-Apollo, Clubber Lang, Drago, Tommy Gunn, Mason “The Line” Dixon). This has the ringing bell and the building crescendo that always gives you goose bumps. Listening to the “Rocky” soundtrack got me thinking…while the experts say that the olfactory sense is one that most stirs the memories deep in your soul, music has an equally powerful impact on me. The memory triggers from music can run the wide gamut of emotions. When I hear certain songs, my mind takes me places-some places better than others, some places not visited in years…

Listening to “Dick Clark’s ‘Live’” (the theme from his old variety show on Wednesday nights), I can see myself standing next to my buddy Hugh, our saxes hanging from our necks, in the high school auditorium, for our first jazz band concert as Freshmen; hearing the theme to “St. Elsewhere”, I am in the television lounge at Van Meter Hall, a sophomore in college, watching the show with friends; hearing “Niner Too”, I am in the auditorium of Breed Junior High, rehearsing with the 27th Lancers; hearing “We’ve Only Just Begun”, I’m on one of the first dates with Elayne.

So when I close my eyes and listen to Sanjaya sing “You really got me going”, I am transported to a place where I am getting rolled by Malcolm McDowell and his band of thugs from “A Clockwork Orange”, or serving time in a Turkish prison for smuggling heroin, sitting in a dentist chair while Lawrence Olivier asks me “Is it safe?”, or watching “The Wizard of Oz”, all of which are much more enjoyable that watching this train wreck make it into the Top 10 on American Idol. Johnny Most sounds better than him.

By the way, Haley has taken over Antonella’s voting contingent of teenage boys in darkened rooms…

Peter Noone should go back to being a Hermit.

Lulu-Oh me, oh my, I’m a fool for you baby!

The judges seem to have chosen the worst possible guys, all of whom have no chance of supplanting Melinda “Dr.” Doolittle or Jordin Sparks (LeKeisha will be gone sooner than later). Do they watch the performances the next day? In hindsight, maybe they realized that Chris R., Sanjaya, Beat Box Blake and “Fro Patro” Chris Sligh (the only thing “slight” about him is his singing ability) all sounded worse than Maya“3 Pack-a-day” Angelou. But you know, even Telly Savalas cut a cover of “If”, by Bread. Who loves you baby…?

Music soothes the savage breast, unless you’re listening to Sanjaya.

Until next time America…

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Click and clack...

Is there any business more rife with abuse and dishonesty than the auto sales industry? It’s all about lying, misrepresenting, fraud, inflated prices and more lies as they mistreat you when your car is serviced.

Speaking of customer service, at car dealers, it is anything but. I have a car under warranty, with a steering problem, and they tell me the best diagnostic tool is a 4-wheel alignment. But, I have to pay for it…? I don’t get it. My car is under warranty, the steering is failing, and they have a diagnostic tool that may help solve the problem, but they want to charge me for it? That’s like a doctor telling you that you might have lung cancer, but they can tell for sure if you have an X-ray, that you need to pay for, even though you have health insurance! GMFB!!! So I have to pick a fight…its always a fight. But of course, if you stand up to them, they back down. You see, the only point in telling me I had to pay for the alignment was so they could rip me off for $89,because they’re getting paid a lesser amount on all the warranty work, so why not try to rip me off so they can make a few bucks. Also, why not try to make more by telling me the only way to make the handling better is by selling me 4 tires at $140.00 each!!! Thieves!

Feel free to share your stories…I could go on forever.

Random thoughts…

I was reading my favorite blog, (see his link on the side column), and it got me thinking about TV theme songs. They really have gone downhill. To me, the theme song was helpful in establishing the story line, or at least the tone and tenor of a show. Some of these songs had a real impact, and I still know the lyrics to some of my childhood favorites. Now, it’s just a quick hit of a few bars of a song, and then to the commercial break. Come back, and the show is on, but with the credits rolling along the bottom for 5 minutes. Bring back the days of the set-up, the song, and the show. I miss the old songs; I have a few current favorites (like “The Sopranos”), but here’s my list of some of the all-time greats (in no particular order):

Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, Green Acres, The Andy Griffith Show, Chico and the Man, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, White Shadow, Lou Grant, Rockford Files, Gilligan’s Island, Love Boat (doing my Isaac Washington, “your bartender”, double finger point right at ya…), Cagney and Lacey, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, F Troop, The Beverly Hillbillies, Cheers.

People who choose to be stand-up comedians HAVE to know the life isn’t unending adulation. Platypus Man, Richard Jeni, just never caught on and killed himself last week. The ultimate punch line, I guess. Sometimes, life isn’t funny.

The sound Mark Burnett is hearing is people turning off their televisions when either The Apprentice or Survivor is on. You know a show is being sent to the scrap heap when they put it on at 10:00pm Sunday night (The Apprentice), which will be up against “The Sopranos”, or when they don’t run the “bring you up to date” episode of Survivor on the Wednesday before the tournament. Those shows have a limited life span, and I am surprised Survivor has lasted this long. Some of the half-naked contestants might be a reason…they might want to incorporate that into The Apprentice somehow, as long as it isn’t The Donald.

Rocky VI is out on DVD now. If you watch it in HD, you can see some Botox leaking out of his face. Can’t wait for Rambo IV-Last Blood/VA Hospital!

You been a great audience…don’t forget to tip your waitresses…enjoy Supertramp.