Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tommy Bolin


This guy had it all. He was one hot shot guitar player, had one beautiful, sweet and kind girlfriend and people were just starting to notice him. His obituary says it all ...click here
I first heard Tommy Bolin on the Billy Cobham LP "Spectrum".

I had never heard a guy play THAT fast and be THAT good. He played on two albums for The James Gang (took Joe Walsh's place)



and Richie Blackmore's place in Deep Purple

He took the place of two of the most famous guitar players ever (not bad).

I dated his girlfriend about nine months after he died. She was one of those girls that you knew you could never keep, but I enjoyed our time together and I think she did, too.
His first solo LP is a masterpiece...

and his second was a bit disappointing but featured his cult hit "Post Toastee"

"don't let your mind post toastee"... but he did.
My five favorite Tommy Bolin songs (I have excluded everything from "Spectrum", because that just wouldn't be fair)
1. "Savannah Woman" from Teaser. What a guitar player.
2. "Alexis" from The James Gang "Bang". Great song, great solo.
3. "Must Be Love" from The James Gang "Bang". Almost a hit song
4. "Wild Dogs" from Teaser. Intense wall of sound.
5. "Teaser" from Teaser. Motley Crue did a horrible remake of this song.
Right after he died, my friend Mike and I drove from the Quad Cities to Sioux City, saw his grave (it was still fresh), smoked a fattie and left. This past week, I was in Sioux City and with the help of one of my affiliates, found his grave...
Tommy is buried next to his mother and his brother. A very unassuming plot in Calvary Cemetary. I didn't remember where it was from so many years ago, so I asked a guy who worked there and he took me right to it. I thanked him and he said that about five or six people a year come and ask where it is.

My favorite quotes about dogs...


"Zelda" 1988-2004

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.-Anonymous

Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.-Ann Landers

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.-Will Rogers

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
-Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves
himself.-Josh Billings

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
-Andy Rooney

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.-M. Acklam

Dogs love their friends and bite their ene mies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.- Sigmund Freud

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.-Rita Rudner

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three
times before lying down.-Robert Benchley

Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.-Franklin P. Jones

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have
known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.-James Thurber

If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise.-Unknown

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money.-Joe Weinstein

Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul -- chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!-Anne Tyler

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.-Robert A. Heinlein

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
-Mark Twain

You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'Wow, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'
- Dave Barry

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
-Roger Caras

If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your
pocket and then give him only two of them.-Phil Pastoret

Working at the Drive In Theatre


One of the coolest jobs I ever had was when I worked at the SEMRI (Silvis, East Moline, Moline, Rock Island) drive in located on 10th street in Silvis Il. I worked there in the summers of 1971 and 1973, when drive ins were the cool way to spend a Friday or Saturday night. Now, the SEMRI was different than the MEMRI because the MEMRI was in Milan, hence the anagram...

The SEMRI, MEMRI and three other drive ins in the Quad Cities were owned by Redstone Theatres (owned by gazillionare Sumner Redstone) and took a great deal of pride in what they did. In fact, they were sticklers about everything...attitude, cleanliness, and appearance (I had to cut my hair). This drive in held 800 cars and my first memorial day in 1971, "Vanishing Point" with Barry Newman was playing and the place SOLD OUT! The admission was cheap; two bucks or a carload for eight bucks. I lived about two miles from there and would ride my 10 speed there, do my job, then ride home every night very late (and I would weekly get stopped by the cops for curfew until they knew my name). My job from March until October consisted of a number of things...directing people into the right cashier lane in front. That was the place that I got to see a number of cool cars. Camaros, Challengers, Chevelles, GTOs, Barracudas and usually got into a conversation with a number of the drivers (and got a free look at some beautiful girls, hey come on, I was 15)! I patrolled the fence, to make sure no one jumped it, although in 1973, I found a hole in the fence and charged everyone a joint to come on in. I had quite the collection for later in the evening! Yes, I was the guy who would chase you down when I saw your friend getting out of the trunk and I was the guy that kept people from sneaking in the exit. One night, I caught a whole carload of people sneaking in and I told them that federal law required that I had to charge them double the admission price. They paid, I kept the 16 dollars. Working concessions were a blast, seeing these people come in the bright lights half asleep, high or JBF'd. Everything stopped at intermission, and you reported to the concession stand. There were fights and sometimes lines out the door. One of my favorite jobs was cleaning the lot the following day after a huge night. I found syringes, bags of feces,(those were fun in July and August) money (once I found a $50 bill, too bad for them), drugs, anything and everything you could imagine. I would set the radio up, get my trash cans and work for 4-5 hours during the day. My workday would be 12noon to 4pm cleaning the lot and then 6p-1 or 2a working the movie. All for $1.15 an hour in 1971 and $1.35 an hour in 1973. There were a few movies that would be released and then held over for a number of weeks. I remember when "Woodstock" came out, we played it for four straight weeks. I Know every line of dialogue by heart. "Live and Let Die" was another biggie. "Big Jake" sold us out over the WHOLE labor day weekend. I really enjoyed the gig but by then I got a 20 cent raise to join my mother in the restaurant business. The land it sat on is now a subdividion called "Semri Acres" or something like that. The name lives on. In the Quad Cities, the name SEMRI is legandary.

Favorite Time of the Year

It's called March Madness and I am hooked for the rest of the month






This is me dunking, BTW. (and then I woke up)






Who to root for and assure that team certain doom? As much as I hate Duke, they will probably win. Wouldn't it be great if a team no one expected to win, won? How about Nevada, Gonzaga? My older brother goes to church on the Gonzaga campus (yes, I have had Mass in that church, very cool). What about the Hawkeyes? Nah. Illinois won't get it this year. That's the cool part of March Madness, you never know. So who to root for? I sure like the teams from the Valley, but I am not sure. Northern Iowa? That would be great but, I don't think they have the guns to get by a North Carolina or Kansas. I will have more on this later.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Applebee's, North Platte Nebraska


I used to be a waiter. And a cook. And a busser. And a host. It's a tough job. Sometimes, when I am on the road, if they are a good candidate, I will engage a conversation with a waiter (or, more likely a waitress, hey, what can I say?). I met a young lady named Amber tonight, she was very perky and seemed happy. As the meal went along, I asked her a few questions...like "If you could go anywhere in the country for five days, where would you go?" "Hawaii" she said, with no hesitation. "I would take my husband on the honeymoon we never got to have." Very nice. After a return visit to the table; I asked her what she did other than being a waitress. "I went to school for awhile, but my husband just got back from Iraq and I wanted to spend more time with him, he came back pretty banged up." Whoa, I didn't expect that. Then to top it off, I asked her if she could have dinner with anyone she wanted dead or alive, who would it be? "My dad, he died in Desert Storm." Shit.
I now felt terrible. I never try and judge anyone, I can't imagine what it would be like to walk in someone else's shoes. She brought me the bill, it was $13.66. I left her a $13 tip. If Learfield doesn't cover it, I will.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Two down, who's next..? (an update)


Well, there's three. Dennis Weaver was just cool. I first remember him on Gunsmoke (a show watched religously by the Raleys) and then McCloud. My favorite performance of his was in "Duel". He played a guy on bad side of a trucker. Steven Speilberg's first film, if I remember correctly. He was 81.

Darren McGavin. This was a great actor. "Kolchak:The Night Stalker" was on for one season. I loved that show. He also had recurring roles in Gunsmoke, Dr. Kildare, The Virginian and more. He was 84

Don Knotts. Thanks, Barney, you were a bigger part of my childhood than just about anyone. I loved your movies, too. He was 81.

An Incredible Story...


An autistic manager of a high school basketball team plays in the last game of the year for a high school in Rochester New York. He hits six straight three pointers and scores 20 points in four minutes. I shed a tear watching this..
Here's the story.
Sports CAN be good.

Keith, Karan and Max

A very nice surprise last week when I found out my friend from 5th grade(65-66) Keith Freeman and his lovely wife Karan along with their son Max were in the area. A greater surprize was the fact they were going to be close to a town that I was going to be close to at the same time I was going to close to the town that they were going to be close to.(?) So, a meeting in the lovely village of Lasalle-Peru Illinois was on. They were going from the Quad Cities to Chicago. I was on my way from St. Louis to Wausau WI. Keith and I first met on Campbell's Island, East Moline,IL. Now, Campbells Island was NOT the most affluent part of the city. In fact, I would say that growing up there was a bit "challenging". It was a very rough part of town. Keith and I both "escaped", he before high school, me after sixth grade. Keith is a success in Orlando, has a beautiful wife and now, at the ripe old age of 50, has a 6 year old. He is a better man than I.


I remember one time playing football (yes, tackle footall), he hit me so hard, I blew a snot bubble in front of everyone. I.still.remember. Thanks, Keith!

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