Def Leppard, Poison…and Tesla (St Louis, MO)

And the sign said “Long-haired freaky people need not apply”… The best part of Tesla’s abbreviated opening set for the rock show triple-header was their cover of the song “Signs”, originally done by Five Man Electrical Band. Soon thereafter, they performed their signature hit “Love Song” and it was not great. The years have not been kind to Jeff Keith’s voice (lead singer for Tesla). For much of their performance, the front man’s vocals sounded irritatingly enough like C.C. Deville’s cat-in-heat stylings to make my left eye twitch. But as I mentioned, the set was brief so mostly no harm no foul.

The setting: we were inside the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, having procured lawn ‘seats’. Once inside, we rented actual lawn chairs so as to not have to sit on the hard grass covered earth. For the record, the lawn seat rental was $5 for each chair. I mention this because it does not detail this information on Live Nation’s website and no one from their customer relations would answer my email on this topic. Moving along, Kristi rented a 25 oz Michelob Ultra beer complete with generic venue can coozy…and I opted to start with a souvenir size Wild Cherry Pepsi. The very flimsy plastic souvenir cup did have the caveat of free refills but I did not tap this renewable resource and later, left the cup for the clean up crew. Once these expenditures were checked off the virtual list, we proceeded to the merchandise booth. After a typical lengthy wait to advance to the front of the line, we surveyed the offerings ranging from bandanas to t-shirts to hoodies. (Sarcasm alert) Of course, I think I need a $65 hoodie when the outside air temperature is right around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If it was 90 degrees Celsius, I think everyone would have been nothing but charred meat because the Fahrenheit to Celsius ratio is almost two to one. So 90 degrees Celsius would equate to nearly 194 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s even hotter than Arizona most days I think. But it was a ‘moist’ kind of heat, as is the norm here in St Louis during the summer.

Where was I again? Oh yeah, in line at the ‘T-shirt Booth’ checking out the options. Here I will give credit though. Despite the outlandish prices, there were quite a few t-shirt options of each group for the consumer to consider. When all was said and done (paid for), I opted for a bluish background concert shirt, size large, of Poison with cool artwork on the front and tour dates on the back. Kristi opted for the ‘lineup’ concert shirt, which had all three bands on the front and the concert dates on the back. Let the record show, her shirt is black. After our transactions were transacted, we meandered up onto the hill (or the lawn) where it is policy for lawn seat customer to choose anywhere to sit. For those of you who have never been to the venue formerly known as Riverport Amphitheater (as named from 1991 through 2002), imagine a baseball or softball field. If you were looking from the outfield in, the stage would be ‘home plate’, next is the physical seating area or the infield and beyond that is the lawn seating or the outfield. For this event, we choose to put down our rental lawn chairs in deep right centerfield.

After Tesla grounded out weakly to the pitcher, next up to bat was Poison. They played their usual list of fan favorites and allowed the crowd to ‘Talk Dirty’ to them in chorus. Mr. Bret Michaels played my personal favorite song of theirs, “Something To Believe In”, partially acoustic. He dedicated the song to the military personnel and their families in attendance. The song’s back story is entangled with the events surrounding Bret’s personal bodyguard and close personal friend’s suicide. His friend was former military. I always feel a lump in my throat and tears form in the corners of my eyes when I hear this song. It’s just a close to the bone, heart-felt song about loss and daily life. Even from a few hundred feet away, the band sounded great and they had nice energy throughout their whole set. Bret mentioned St Louis about 35 times in their hour long set and it got a huge pop each time he said it. They took care of business and relinquished the stage to be prepped for the headliner: Def Leppard.

Def Leppard took the stage and opened with Let’s Go, from their 2015 self-titled album, which I was not familiar with until I looked it up today. They put on a solid show and I have to say my favorite song they played wasn’t even one of their own. Don’t mistake what I’m saying. Animal – great. Foolin – very cool. Love Bites – well done. Armadeddon It – always fun. Rocket – drunktastic! Bringing on the Heartbreak – nicely done. Hysteria – good good. Pour Some Sugar On Me – lots of pop and crown antics. But my favorite part of their set was their cover of the 1973 classic Rock On. Originally done by David Essex and remade in 1989 by Michael Damian (of Young and the Restless daytime drama fame) this song was killer. Gnarly. Awesome! Whoa! Tubular! Rock On!

Now some of you may have been in the house for this show or seen them in your own city and may be asking about one of their more popular songs: Let’s Get Rocked. Yeah they played it. Yeah it went over real well with the crowd. Yeah I sung along (because I know all 9 words to the song). But if I must be honest, I don’t particularly care for this fluff piece. And that is not a swipe at my friend Jacob Werner aka Fluff. It’s just me saying I think the song is a big nothing…like most of the band Kiss’s catalog. I was hoping against hope for an inclusion from their album ‘X’ in the form of track number five: Long, Long Way To Go or just about anything else from this effort. But no dice and a little disappointment for me. C’mon guys! You were a few measly hours away from my birthday…and couldn’t squeeze another four or so minutes in? Boo!

The 2.5 bands performed admirably but another huge component to the concert experience is the people watching. It is always interesting to check out the age spans in attendance for bands that started 36, 37 and 40 years ago respectively (Tesla, Poison, Def Leppard). Also as the night wears on and the thresholds for sobriety are breached, everything turns into a Jerry Springer episode. To the jackwagon who literally was throwing handfuls of sugar (LeBron James style) during Def Leppard’s performance of Pour Some Sugar on Me…to the two older ladies who were trying to accost me in the beer purchase line…it was entertainment at it’s finest. Footnote: To the dorkbags behind us in line waiting to initially enter the venue, shut up. Stop reading the set list for each group for the show. Maybe some of us do not want to know what’s coming up and just want to be pleasantly surprised when the first few chords of each song plays out. #MamasBasementDwellerDorksForLife

In closing, I think the shows duration and atmosphere were worth the $80 paid for the two tickets. I’m not sure if I can say the same for the amount spent on beers, soda and t-shirts but that’s the risk you run with going to such a show.

One last thing before I mentally walk out of the gates from last night; during the Def Leppard set, Kristi needed to visit the restroom facilities. I, being a gentleman, escorted her as it was now dark outside and amidst the thousands of peoples it’s just a better idea to stick together. On our return trip to the lawn, we encountered a gentleman who closely resembled the Poison front man Bret Michaels! But upon closer inspection and actually asking him if he was…the answer was no. It turns out the guy was a Bret Michaels impersonator and has performed locally at Pop’s Night Club over in Sauget, Illinois. Besides his likeness resembling Bret Michaels, his choice of t-shirt was what actually caught my initial attention. He was wearing a pristine Warrant concert t-shirt, with the band’s name in bright green neon letters. I had a short conversation with him and told him I liked his shirt and the world was still missing Jani Lane. He agreed with my sentiments and shook my hand. He waved and said for us to enjoy the rest of the show. It was fitting to see someone at this type of show wearing a Warrant shirt because for so many years (before Jani’s death) Warrant would tour with Poison for summer rock shows like this and at this venue no less.

Time to take a bow, wave to the crowd and slowly walk off the stage.

Peace.

Aye Aye Captain

So as usual, out of the blue, I started wondering about a random topic. That topic at present is: why the first show of a series is often called a pilot episode. Yeah totally don’t know how that jumped in there. But as I usually do, I Googled it.

A television pilot (also known as a pilot or a pilot episode and sometimes marketed as a tele-movie) is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell the show to a television network.

From there I was curious as to when the first ‘pilot’ episode was created because everything has a genesis correct? From the various articles and websites I visited, the data is confusing and semi-inconclusive. The electronic TV is officially noted as being introduced on September 7, 1927 and the world’s first live drama broadcast is noted as September 11, 1928 but many TV programs or series didn’t come along until TV networks were established years later. For the record, the first advertisement commercial for a product is documented as one for Bulova Clocks and Watches. The 10 second commercial spot was aired before a baseball game in 1941 between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. For those of you who are wondering, the Phillies won that game 6-4 in ten innings. Ike Pearson was credited with the win to improve his won-loss record to that point in the season to 2-7. Hugh Casey took the hard luck loss. The Dodgers had a chance with two runners on in the bottom of the tenth but Herman Franks was unable to deliver with two outs.

Now fast forward 76 years, I am still unsure about the origin and brain-child of the ‘pilot’ episode. Obviously the term must have cropped up somewhere between 1927 and today because it gets mentioned all the time and even noted on IMDB where applicable. The first real concrete reference to a pilot episode I can find is associated with the 1950’s sitcom (situation comedy) Leave It To Beaver which had a couple of different names before settling on Leaver It To Beaver. Maybe there was a Mr. Pilot who named the first episode, “trial episode” if you will, the pilot. Who knows? And yes I said Mr. Pilot and not Mrs. Pilot because let’s be real, for a long time in the early to mid decades of the United States, many things were run by a very male slanted workforce. I’m not saying that is right but if we are going to talk about history, let’s be real and not PC everything for no good reason.

So if Mr. Pilot’s great grandchildren are out there and reading this, please contact me and let me know if this is correct.

Thanks for a part of your hump day!

Peace.

Arm wrestling is not for me

Happy Hump Day to one and all, near and far, those present and those omnipresent!

So it recently occurred to me that my overall arm wrestling record is a losing one. To my knowledge, I think I have 4 wins and like 35 losses. Some will say those 4 wins were against pre-K children and should not count, but I disagree. I didn’t make the schedule I just played the arm wrestling game. To steal a page from today’s society, I am going to blame my coach, the surface my elbow was resting upon, the dim lights, the bright lights, the questionable air density, whatever Donald Trump tweeting 5 minutes ago and of course, Roger Goodell.

With all of these things stacked against me (overlooking my small green bean like arms), it is no wonder I had such little success. Maybe with some outside interference like the WWE has, I could’ve had a tainted run at glory but alas real life is not always like a scripted sports entertainment show.

Here’s to hoping your Hump Day is as wacky as it is filled with minutes. May an invisible yeti hug and smother your enemies while you are squarely in the presence of a reliable alibi. All of my faithful readers, you are ‘the wind beneath my wings’ – the original mind you, not the redone version by Idina Menzel. Let’s be perfectly clear on that.

With a heavy heart, I must wrap up this post and return to normal pattern of events for this particular time of day but I will be thinking of each and every one of you. I will be crafting a mental picture of each of you wearing a sombrero pulled down over your face. You are wearing an over-sized solid aqua shirt with two upper chest pockets flowing down to a pair of crazy patterned pants with pleats, piled on top of pleats. Of course you will be wearing dark brown mittens and have the entirety of you mostly concealed in a zig-zag patterned serape. Thus no matter who you are you will all look identical and save me the countless hours of having to customize that visualization for all my readers.

Cheers and good day!

Peace.

** For the record, it is hard to find an image of a yeti wearing a serape. #JustSaying

City softball into the Twillight Zone

Greeting, good day and all that funky jazz.

Today is Thursday. The day that follows Wednesday or at least has for the last few thousand years. Last night at Wilmore Park (in St Louis) my softball team played some ball under the league sanction of ASA. Two games were played. Thanks to the evil and literally heartless beast that is I-270, I was seven minutes late arriving for our first game. Our collective opponent was a decently competitively team on par with our team. In the first game, mental and physical errors cost us the game from a win and loss standpoint. In the second game, more miscues and lack of hitting doomed us again. The differences in the scorebook were underscored by the two teams differing approaches.  The other team was taking the games very seriously and treating them like a televised national tournament. My team (including myself), however, was just not all there. I know what my problem was as it relates to how I performed on the field: I do not like arriving late. For me it throws off everything: hitting, pitching, mental assignments et al. So we lost both games and potentially we could have at least split the two games.

As you are reading along I can hear you thinking: well this doesn’t sound too out there. The games themselves were just a typical night of recreational league softball. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Where the weirdness comes into play is here. Coaching third base for the other team was an elderly-ish gentleman not dressed for softball but more business casual attire but a harmless enough looking fellow. In between innings and between the two games, I crossed paths with him a few times and he would make mundane enough comments: Nice inning, not your guys night, good pitching, the team has really been gearing up to play you guys, couple of plays here and there and you guys win, and on and on.

For whatever reason, after the two games were over and the teams were dispersing, this elderly guy and some of his entourage moved over to our side of the field and placed their belongings on our bench. This is the point where things, for me, got weird.

Now keep in mind, I don’t really know this guy. I gave you a vague description of a semi-elderly, tall, thin Caucasian man casually dressed but not casually dressed for a softball game. I do not know his name. During the night we exchanged some benign small talk in passing and I mostly just nodded or gave a non-committal laugh or just answered ‘yep’. As I stated above, part of his group migrated to our bench and he made eye contact with me and said: “How about sitting right there on the bench next to me?”

Odd request stranger man, so I said, no thanks. He cocked his head to one side and said again: “How about sitting right there on the bench next to me?” All I could do was make a befuddled face and before I could decline again, he said, “You know, from Alice’s restaurant?” Seeing as I was born in 1972 and the only reference I could come up with was the TV show Alice, where Alice the waitress worked at Mel’s Diner, I asked do you mean Alice from Mel’s Diner?

He laughed. A goofy, crazy old man laugh of someone who cannot believe how stupid the person he is talking to is.

Sensing I was ready to back away slowly, he proceeded to tell me the story of the album and song from Arlo Guthrie from the late 1960’s. Apparently the song was 15-20 minutes long and was a protest song about the Vietnam War. Again, pointing to the bench, he said there is a passage about sitting on a bench with the mean, nasty, ugly people who are mother rapers and father stabbers or mother stabbers and father rapers.

OK timeout. Correct me if I’m wrong but there has to be some reasonable social etiquette involved with trotting out controversial 50 year old war protest lyrics? Even figuratively offering me a seat on the ‘mean and nasty and ugly bench’ seems a bit rude. I play softball, I write blogs, I record a sports podcast and I try to be a decent person to my family, friends and loved ones.

With enough rudimentary information of whatever this guy was trying to figuratively push across the table, I once again respectfully declined a seat on the bench and made my way to the parking lot area. The whole walk through the overgrown grasses I just kept shaking my head. No offense to Arlo Guthrie and his family, but I could’ve gone the entire rest of my existence without knowing about Alice’s Restaurant.

For you curiosity (if you have such), I have Googled and pasted the song in its entirety below. I’m sure there is some sort of YouTube video of the song but I don’t care. In a way Google and YouTube are like Alice’s Restaurant (hopefully with less Mother Raping and Father Stabbing) in as much that “You can get anything you want”.

Peace. (Highly appropriate considering the reference timeframe of the song)
(Song of protest against the Vietnam War draft)
(The Vietnam War lasted 19 years, 5 months, 4 weeks and 1 day – From November 1, 1955 until April 30, 1975)
Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant Massacree (album) – Alice’s Restaurant (1967)

This song is called Alice’s Restaurant, and it’s about Alice, and the
Restaurant, but Alice’s Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant,
That’s just the name of the song, and that’s why I called the song Alice’s
Restaurant.

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on – two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
Restaurant, but Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the
Church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog. And livin’ in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
Room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin’ all that room,
Seein’ as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn’t
Have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it’d be
A friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So
We took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW
Microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed
On toward the city dump.

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
Dump saying, “Closed on Thanksgiving.” And we had never heard of a dump
Closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
Into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
Side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the
Cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
Is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
Decided to throw our’s down.

That’s what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
Dinner that couldn’t be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the
Next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, “Kid,
We found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
Garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it. ” And
I said, “Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
Under that garbage. ”

After speaking to Obie for about forty-five minutes on the telephone we
Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
Police officer’s station. So we got in the red VW microbus with the
Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
Police officer’s station.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn’t very likely, and
We didn’t expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer’s station
There was a third possibility that we hadn’t even counted upon, and we was
Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said “Obie, I don’t think I
Can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. ” He said, “Shut up, kid.
Get in the back of the patrol car. ”

And that’s what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the
Quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of
Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where this happened here, they got three stop
Signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the
Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars,
Being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to
Get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of
Cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer’s station.
They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and
They took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles
And arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each
One was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach,
The getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that’s not to
Mention the aerial photography.

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put
Us in the cell. Said, “Kid, I’m going to put you in the cell, I want your
Wallet and your belt. ” And I said, “Obie, I can understand you wanting my
Wallet so I don’t have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you
Want my belt for? ” And he said, “Kid, we don’t want any hangings. ” I
Said, “Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?”
Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the
Toilet seat so I couldn’t hit myself over the head and drown, and he took
Out the toilet paper so I couldn’t bend the bars roll out the – roll the
Toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie
Was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice
(remember Alice? It’s a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few
Nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back
To the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat,
And didn’t get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.

We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten
Colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back
Of each one, sat down. Man came in said, “All rise.” We all stood up,
And Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
Pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he
Sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the
Twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows
And a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.
And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles
And arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry,
’cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American
Blind justice, and there wasn’t nothing he could do about it, and the
Judge wasn’t going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
Pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
One explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And
We was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but that’s not
What I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about the draft.

They got a building down New York City, it’s called Whitehall Street,
Where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,
Neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one
Day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. ‘Cause I wanted to
Look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
To feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
And I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
Kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
Me a piece of paper, said, “Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604.”

And I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
Wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
Guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
Kill, kill. ” And I started jumpin up and down yelling, “kill, kill, ” and
He started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
Yelling, “KILL, KILL.” And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
Sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”

Didn’t feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections,
Detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin’ to me
At the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four
Hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty
Ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was
Inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no
Part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the
Last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there,
And I walked up and said, “What do you want?” He said, “Kid, we only got
One question. Have you ever been arrested? ”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice’s Restaurant Massacre,
With full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all
The phenome… – and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, did you ever
Go to court? ”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten
Colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on
The back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, I want
You to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W…. Now kid!! ”

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W’s
Where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
Committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
Looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father
Rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And
They was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the
Bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
Father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean ‘n’ ugly
‘n’ nasty ‘n’ horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
And said, “Kid, whad’ya get?” I said, “I didn’t get nothing, I had to pay
$50 and pick up the garbage. ” He said, “What were you arrested for, kid? ”
And I said, “Littering.” And they all moved away from me on the bench
There, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
Said, “And creating a nuisance.” And they all came back, shook my hand,
And we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
Father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
Bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of
Things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it
Up and said.

“Kids, this-piece-of-paper’s-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-
Know-details-of-the-crime-time-of-the-crime-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-
You-gotta-say-pertaining-to-and-about-the-crime-I-want-to-know-arresting-
Officer’s-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say”, and talked for
Forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had
Fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there,
And I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it
Down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the
Pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the
Other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on
The other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the
Following words:

(“KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?”)

I went over to the sargent, said, “Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to
Ask me if I’ve rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I’m
Sittin’ here on the bench, I mean I’m sittin here on the Group W bench
’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough join the army, burn women,
Kids, houses and villages after bein’ a litterbug. ” He looked at me and
Said, “Kid, we don’t like your kind, and we’re gonna send you fingerprints
Off to Washington. ”

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
Study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I’m
Singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
Situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
Situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into
The shrink wherever you are, just walk in say “Shrink, You can get
Anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant. “. And walk out. You know, if
One person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
They won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
They may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
Singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said
Fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
Walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.

And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
All you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come’s around on the
Guitar.

With feeling. So we’ll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
Sing it when it does. Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I’ve been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it
For another twenty five minutes. I’m not proud… Or tired.

So we’ll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part
Harmony and feeling.

We’re just waitin’ for it to come around is what we’re doing.

All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice’s Restaurant

Super

Have you ever been talking to someone and as the conversation winds down and you offer to do a favor or touch base again at a future date, does the other person ever respond with ‘super’?

For me this comes across as incredibly disingenuous. The only people who should be allowed to use ‘super’ in any conversational capacity are stereo-typical valley girls and surfer dudes:

“There’s like a sale down at the mall on flip flops!”
“Really? How super!”

“Dude, gnarly wave action mashing my board!”
“Whoa! Super!”

“It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Super…man!”

It is no longer in vogue to ‘super-size’ anything for public safety concerns apparently.
Super Mario killed the Wii U.
SuperBad the movie was ten years ago.
Superunknown (album from Soundgarden) was 1994.
Almost no one likes supervisors.
MLB, NHL and NBA have nothing within the framework of their fundamental games referenced as super.
The NFL has the Superbowl…so it is the one exception to the trend of the absence of super things.

Enough of this jazz, have a super wonky smash-tastic day! Okay? Seems phony. Just saying.

Friday is here and that is darn spiffy.

Peace.

The Lowest Bidder

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day!

It is amusing for me to reflect on ‘water cooler’ conversations amongst friends or co-workers. A co-worker, who has a military service background, was discussing a recent plane crash with another co-worker. He was recalling that for some air drills the pilots would remind their human cargo that the planes they were traveling in were built by the lowest bidder. That simultaneously struck my funny bone and also sent a shiver down my spine. I laughed because somewhere along the line I remember some forgotten movie where a character spoke these exact words. But then the gravity of the truth of that statement was like a bucket of cold water against my unsuspecting back.

This is the world we live in today. Your plane, your car, your phone, you shoes, your pooper-scooper – nearly everything you use or come into contact with is produced by a company that is operating on the cheapest principal. Based on the minimum specifications and the materials needed, everything is factored on lowest cost to be profitable on the back end the quickest. According to the Google machine, the average cost of a 737 commercial airplane is somewhere between $51.5 – $87 million dollars. That is for a single plane. Doing a little rough math, if you figure a plane has 300 seats and you charge $100 per seat (or 100 seats @ $300 each works too), it would take 1,717 trips (using single flight, non-stop for simplicity) at full capacity to pay just for that one airplane at the low end of that cost spectrum. This of course is not taking into consideration: fuel, staff, maintenance on the mechanical parts, wear and tear on the interior, unforeseen damage repair (interior/exterior), inventory, safety accessories, cleaning and inspections et al. Now obviously some airlines charge more and that would factor in the number of trips needed to ‘break even’ on the cost of the plane but you can, in a narrow view, see how the economics play out and the need to minimize costs.

Take a look at your own daily life. If you own a vehicle, chances are you financed it and pushed for the best deal (cheapest in most cases) based on your available finances. In addition to the down payment (if any) and sales tax (if applicable), you now have to contend with a monthly payment, the periodic fuel needed, oil changes, scheduled maintenance (if following the recommended schedule set forth by the vehicle manufacturer), unscheduled maintenance and a plethora of other associated expenses with owning a vehicle (registration, emissions, parking/city permits, etc.). Whether you are looking at a product expense from the viewpoint of a CEO or just as an individual, the cost is just one piece of your financial puzzle. Usually people in an average income position are skewing toward the less expensive bottom line so that it leaves more dollars (or enter your host country’s currency here) for other facets of daily life and/or operating expenses.

Moving from the topic of flying in an airplane that was made by the lowest bidder, the co-workers veered into politics and Trump bashing. I’m not going to validate or rebut any of their arguments about Donald Trump’s alleged sanity but I will take some umbrage with their generalization that ‘people who voted for Trump are ignorant and racist’. Are some of the people who voted for Donald Trump ignorant and racist? Sure. Statistically speaking it’s almost a certainty. But for that measure so are some of the people who voted for Hillary Clinton. These co-workers missed the irony of their statement. In saying what they said about those voters (that they are ignorant and racist), it in turn showed that they were also guilty of at least being ignorant.

How many people in this country, or any country for that matter, have had grandparents or great grandparents? Now of those who have had grandparents and/or great grandparents, how many of you have heard them speak or convey something along racial lines that is just a stereo-type or vulgar with no valid reason? I’m raising my hand. I had grandparents and more than one of them spoke about people of a darker skin tone. They threw out generalizations and used racially derogatory names to describe the darker skinned people. That was them, not me. Were they a bit racist? Honestly I would say so but that doesn’t make me a racist because I have their blood inside me. But these people who call Donald Trump a racist (he may or may not be one) and also say the same about all of his supporters because they support him, pardon me but that is bull hockey. I like baseball and support the product on the field by watching streamed games and going to stadiums but that does not make me a professional baseball player. Heck there are people inside baseball stadiums who do not even like baseball (parents who brought their kids, stadium workers, engineers, security, etc.) but someone somewhere would say that baseball stadiums are full of nothing but baseball fans. If I haven’t mentioned before I hate speaking in absolutes!

Obviously I am using some liberal examples to make my point here but society likes to bully public opinion to win their cause. No one wants to use good old common sense anymore. If you’re not first, you’re last and no one wants to be last. Everyone, no matter how big a loser they are, wants to be a winner. Everything seems to have devolved from having multiple opinions and ideas seen as a good thing, to now there has to be a clear cut right (answer) and everything else is wrong no matter how close it may be to the ‘right’ answer or idea or solution.

Sorry about that. Got up on Ye Old Soapbox and started rabbling to the messes, er…masses. Just a little virtual tap on the shoulder to remind you; whether you are traveling on a train, subway, airplane, taxi/Uber, rickshaw, ski lift or what-have-you…someone probably fashioned it as cheaply as they could afford. And chances are it is in need of or overdue for maintenance. So good luck and may today not be the day that the buck stops with you.

As a side note from your favorite blogger (making a bit of an assumption here), it goes to show that even smart people can be ignorant. Do not pigeon hole people just because they do not think exactly like you do. There was a world leader for Germany in the 1940’s who wanted everyone to think alike and look alike. Aside from being a moustache icon…not too many people speak highly of him today. Keep thinking outside the box and for the love of Pete (Rose I’m assuming) please stop bemoaning the Trump/Clinton election outcome.

Peace.

Turning the Clock Back…

Peace.

Sometimes to solve a problem or unravel a mystery you need to start at the end and work backwards. With that premise, I have started this post with my traditional ending: Peace.

Now to channel my inner Scooby Doo. The good episodes -not that crap with Scrappy Doo and Scooby Dee- where the gang traveled around the country with unlimited gas money and never stopping to use an ATM. What source or sources did the ‘gang’ draw their funds from? Did any of them have a shellfish allergy? That last question is irrelevant but something that I often wondered about while watching the show and saw no real evidence to the answer. But if I was a betting man, I would have put money on Daphne. Not much, like a dollar.

So back to the mystery. In life there are societal things where across the board legalities are allowed. For example, legal drinking age at 21. Able to vote at age 18. Eligible to drive at 16. Smoking at 18 if desired. Entry into ‘adult’ entertainment venues at 21…I guess for the liquor provision. Cannot own a handgun or purchase ammunition under the age of 18 (CCW in Missouri is age 21). And the list of other restricted can do’s goes on…

Much of this I think is based on high school as a rite of passage. Obviously we do not want kids in the early years of high school showing up in their own car with a Playstation realistic handgun in a holster as they sip some vodka while Joe Camel peeks out from their shirt pocket.  Way too many hormones churning the waves of a spectrum of emotions to trust good judgement for some of the things mentioned above. Heck, there’s “adults” walking around who shouldn’t be trusted with guns, alcohol, vehicles or the power to vote. Just being honest. But the masses have spoken and agree that all you have to do is successfully survive on the planet for 6574 days to get access to smokes, a firearm and the right to choose your preferred idiot to run the country (let’s be honest, anyone running for president is an idiot). And then at day 7666, everything else is yours for the having except government office. For those you need to be at least 25 years old and in the case of the office of president or vice president you need to be 35 (only 30 to be a senator!).

If you are scratching your head trying to figure out where I am heading with the above stipulations and benchmarks, I will tell you.

At what point did things change from being a kid who pretty much couldn’t do anything without getting permission or a ride to go do something to being a full blown adult? Did the history book and the learning about James Madison’s War of 1812 secretly stick a pin in the balloon of childhood? What about getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time with your heart hammering in your chest with excitement and fear? Now it’s telling the little one in the backseat to buckle in so we can go. It’s crazy I tell you…crazy. So many experiences, good and bad, that tempered the person who is now free to do so many things in today’s world, only being bound by imagination and budget (for the most part).

I scroll through my Facebook friends, some jog the clock back farther than others, and it is hard to fathom. Clicking on a name and I am that pudgy awkward kid hanging around with my best friend, wondering if his mom really does cut his hair using a soup bowl.  A few slow blinks and the hazy memory dissipates like smoke in the wind. Time waits for no one which is good if you are waiting for something I guess. You don’t have to be too patient to get what you want, just don’t blink or you might miss it.

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